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Anaheim Ducks at Colorado Avalanche
When and Where: Friday, March 15, Pepsi Center, Denver, Colo., 9 p.m. EST.
Hoping a three-day break recharged their batteries for the stretch run, the Colorado Avalanche look to pick up two critical points Friday night when they host the Anaheim Ducks.
Ducks come to Denver for back end of games on consecutive nights
Anaheim (28-34-9) is only alive in the playoff hunt mathematically as it entered Thursday night’s game against Arizona 10 points out of eighth place with 11 games remaining.
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— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) March 13, 2019
Anaheim has lost its last five games playing the back end of games on consecutive nights, a task made more difficult in the thin Denver air. The Ducks are 3-6-0 overall playing the second game of games on back-to-back nights and have lost their lost four such contests on the road.
John Gibson was expected to make his sixth start in Anaheim’s last eight games in Arizona, which means Ryan Miller could get the call for this match. Miller has split his two starts since Gibson returned from injury but lost last time out to Los Angeles on Sunday after yielding three goals on 25 shots.
Miller did help the Ducks claim a point in their 4-3 overtime loss to the Avalanche on Nov. 18, turning aside 38 shots. The veteran netminder started his career 0-3-3 against Colorado but has gone 5-3-1 with a 2.53 GAA and .918 save percentage in the subsequent nine matchups.
Avalanche still figuring out offense without Landeskog
Colorado (30-28-12) will still be on the outside looking in for the wild-card picture heading into this contest after an off-night of scoreboard watching around the Western Conference.
The Avalanche have split their first two games without injured first-line center Gabriel Landeskog and failed to ignite in a 3-0 loss to Carolina on Monday night. Colorado failed to put any of its 38 shots past Petr Mrazek and went 0 for 3 on the man advantage as it was blanked for the second time in three games.
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) March 12, 2019
Avs coach Jared Bednar opted to give his team some time away from the rink, giving them off Tuesday with an optional skate Wednesday before practicing Thursday. Colorado plays seven of its final 12 games at home but also has two sets of games on back-to-back nights.
“We’ve seen some good hockey played by our group recently, but it’s gotta be every night and find a way to get results,” Bednar said Thursday. “We have to jump (Anaheim) from the start. … back-to-back, three in four and we have to seize that game right away in the first period.”
Bednar did not formally name a starting goaltender, but Philipp Grubauer is expected to be between the pipes after stopping 30 of 32 shots in Monday night’s loss. He has allowed two or fewer goals in his last five starts, posting a 1.82 goals-against average and .939 save percentage with two shutouts, but those shutouts are his only wins.
Grubauer was saddled with a 2-1 loss at Anaheim on March 3 in which he made 21 saves. He has alternated losses and wins in his five career starts against the Ducks, recording a 2.35 GAA and .908 save percentage.
Avs leading scorer Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist in the other meeting between the teams, a 4-3 Colorado road win Nov. 18, and had six goals and six assists in 14 career games versus Anaheim.
The Avalanche are:
- 5-1 in their last six home games vs. teams with a sub-.400 road record.
- 4-1 in their last five games as home favorites between -151 to -200.
- The home team is 6-1 in the last seven games between the teams.
- The under is 4-1 in their last five games vs. Pacific Division opponents.
- The under is 9-3-1 in their last 13 games as home favorites between -151 to -200.
- The under is 10-4-1 in their last 15 games as favorites between -151 to -200.
The Ducks are:
- 2-7 in their last nine in the third game of a 3-in-4 situation.
- 0-5 in their last five games playing on zero days of rest.
- The under is 18-7-1 in their last 26 in the third game of a 3-in-4 situation.
- The under is 4-1-1 in their last six road games vs. the Avalanche.
- The under is 18-7-2 in their last 27 games playing on zero days of rest.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Simply put, the Avalanche have to win this game, and they know it. Bednar said all the right things in his Thursday press conference, but he also did the right thing in letting his players clear their minds ahead of the stretch run. Landeskog will not be there to bail them out offensively, which puts the onus on MacKinnon and Rantonen to deliver.
Playing an offensively challenged Ducks team gives them some margin of error, and with the expectation of facing Miller and not Gibson, Colorado should prevail.
Prediction: Pick: Avalanche -167
Full-Game Total Pick
This is a confidence pick against Anaheim’s offense, which has played to five or fewer goals in all six games when on the road for the back end of games on consecutive nights. The Ducks have also totaled just three goals in losing the last four such contests on the road.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 5.5 goals
Full-Game Prop Bet
Again a form pick given Anaheim’s inability to get on track offensively on the back end of games on consecutive nights. There is also the matter of Anaheim’s season-long struggles scoring goals as it enters this game having scored two or fewer in nine of its last 12 road games.
Prediction: Pick: Ducks UNDER 2.5 goals
Half-Time Side Pick
This is a confidence pick in the Avs to press the pace against the Ducks in the opening 20 minutes and try to make the altitude work in their favor. Colorado has gone six games without a first-period goal and also failed to score in the opening 20 minutes of the previous two meetings with Anaheim. So a bit against the trend, but the desperation of playoff hockey provides hope.
Prediction: Pick: Avalanche -0.5 goals (+140)
Half-Time Total Bet
The expectation is a 1-0 Avalanche lead after 20 minutes, an advantage Anaheim held in both of the earlier meetings this season. The Ducks have yielded nine goals in the opening period of their last six games, and Colorado has given up just four in its last 10.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 1.5 goals