Sharks vs. Avalanche Odds
|Time||Friday, 9 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Thursday and via DraftKings|
The Avalanche will come home looking to reset after dropping a third consecutive contest Wednesday night in Vegas, losing 5-2 to the division leading Knights. San Jose enters on the heels of two consecutive wins over Arizona, keeping a faint dream of claiming a playoff berth alive.
Colorado has been simply dominant this year, and even skating with a depleted squad have managed an xGF% of 56.75. Even in Vegas Wednesday night, the Avs controlled much of the play and certainly could have fared better on average. The three-game losing streak has likely ended Colorado’s chances at claiming first in the division, and they will now most likely have a first-round date with a strong Minnesota team.
Some crucial pieces are preparing to reenter the lineup, including starting goalie Philipp Grubauer, superstar forward Mikko Rantanen and a very underrated scorer in Jonas Donskoi.
Grubauer is likely to return Friday after being removed from the COVID-19 protocol list five days ago. The drop-off in quality of play between him and backups Devan Dubnyk and Jonas Johansson has been significant. It is hard to question GM Joe Sakic, as his club likely has the brightest future in the NHL with an excellent combination of roster talent, salary cap management and upcoming prospects, but I have to wonder what kind of offers were submitted to bring in a more talented backup option like Jonathon Bernier or Chris Driedger prior to the trade deadline.
The Avalanche will have a great chance to get back in the win column at home against some softer competition in San Jos, and will certainly look to get all their pieces back in top form as they gear up for what will hopefully be a deep playoff run this Spring.
Expected goals (also known as xG) is a predictive statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as shooting luck or outstanding goaltending.
Simply put, an expected goals rate (xGF%) above 50% is considered good because it means a team is creating the majority of the scoring chances. Anything below 50% is usually a sign that a team is struggling to control play.
San Jose Sharks
San Jose comes in after back-to-back wins over Arizona this week, but the results are likely too-little, too-late for a group that has certainly disappointed with fourth place in the West offering a playoff berth from a very low point total.
The two wins snapped an eight-game losing streak for San Jose, who do hold decent underlying numbers again this year overall. However, a combination of shaky goaltending and extreme defensive zone breakdowns continue to leave the Sharks underachieving.
Josef Korenar appears to have taken the starter’s net from Martin Jones, who put forth a dismal effort prior to being pulled after one period Saturday vs. Minnesota.
Korenar may be an upgrade over Martin Jones for the time being, but he is certainly still fair from proven and altogether this season holds an .893 SV% and -3.9 goals saved above expected over just seven contests.
Whether Jones or Korenar draw the start, they will be in for a very tough assignment against a Colorado team with some elite shooting talent.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Undoubtedly, when healthy this Avalanche lineup is amongst the most talented in the league, and the expectations are very reasonably cup or bust for the group. I do not see any reason to get down on the Avs over the last three games. They have still have managed excellent underlying numbers down several key skaters and mainly have just lost the goaltending battle without elite starter Grubauer.
Given a Philipp Grubauer start, I see this as a great spot for the powerhouse Avs to get moving back in the right direction against a very manageable San Jose group.
Pick: Colorado Avalanche Puck Line (-1.5) +100 | Play up to -120
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