Colorado Avalanche vs Chicago Blackhawks: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

Where: United Center – Chicago, IL.

When: Sunday, March 24, 8PM EST.

How (TV/Radio): NBC Sports, Alit | Altitude AM950, WGN720, WFAN

Colorado Avalanche (Away)

Head Coach: Jared Bednar {All-Time 97-115-25 COL}

The Avalanche will most likely head into this game without captain Gabriel Landeskog as he suffered an upper-body injury earlier in the week against the Dallas Stars. At the time of writing, the Avs have a season record of 32-29-12. They are 5-5-0 in their last ten games and have won their last two in a row.

This should be a pretty back-and-forth matchup as both teams are fairly evenly matched. Both teams bring their advantages. For Colorado, they need to rely on their high shooting (they rank fifth in the league for shots on goal) and their powerplay, should they get any opportunities with the man advantage. Their powerplay is ranked eighth in the league compared to Chicago’s 12th.

The Avalanche have a slight edge, however, in the defensive statistics. They allow both fewer goals and fewer shots against than their opponents. Their penalty kill is also slightly more reliable. However, Colorado ranks second-;last in the league when it comes to taking penalties, ranking 30th in the league and averaging ten minutes per game. They will need to play a disciplined game as they go up against a Chicago powerplay that has more than a 20 per cent success rate.

Philipp Grubauer is expected to get the start in net Sunday night for the Colorado Avalanche. Grubauer is 13-9-3 on the season with a goals against average of 2.83 and a save percentage of .907. He has three shutouts this season.

Chicago Blackhawks (Home)

Head Coach: Jeremy Colliton {All-Time 26-24-7 CHI}

Unlike their opponents, the Chicago Blackhawks head into this game with a full roster. Their season record is 32-30-10 and they have gone 6-3-1 in their last ten games.

Chicago holds advantages over the Avalanche when it comes to goals scored, averaging 3.35 per game. As mentioned earlier, they also bring in a stronger powerplay unit than their opponents. They have a better shooting percentage than Colorado and they win more faceoffs, so the puck possession advantage will also belong to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Unfortunately for the Blackhawks, they rank 30th in the league in both goals against and shots against. And that’s at even strength. They also rank dead last in the league when it comes to killing penalties which may be their biggest downfall in such an important game against a team looking for the same playoff spot as themselves. Luckily, Chicago goes against a team that is barely .500 at home, so the home-ice advantage should be all but non-existent.

Goalie Cam Ward should get the nod in net for the Blackhawks in this matchup. Ward has a season record of 14-11-4. His goals-against average is 3.72 and his save percentage is .893. He has yet to register a shutout this season.

These two Western conference teams last met on February 22. It was the Colorado Avalanche that took the victory with a final score of 5-3.

What’s At Stake?

A LOT! Both teams sit just outside of the final wildcard spot in the West. Currently, the Avalanche are one spot and two points ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks in the standings. A lot is riding on these two points for both teams. The final Western wild card spot is currently held by the Arizona Coyotes who have 78 points. Colorado has 76 and the Blackhawks have 74 respectively. Both teams need this win.

Questions to answer

How will the special teams game of both these teams pan out? Colorado has stronger numbers in both powerplay and penalty killing. Can Chicago stay out of the penalty box? Will Colorado’s powerplay be as strong without captain Landeskog?

Furthermore, can the Blackhawks simply find a way to stay out of the penalty box in general? They take fewer penalties than the Avalanche but rank last in the league for killing their own.

Which goaltender will come out on top in what is expected to be a battle on the backups?

Colorado Avalanche Injury Report

F Gabriel Landeskog – day-to-day (upper-body)

F Matt Nieto – day-to-day (lower-body)

F Vladislav Kamenev – IR (shoulder)

D Conor Timmins – IR (head)

Chicago Blackhawks Injury Report

F Drake Caggiula – day-to-day (concussion)

Colorado Avalanche at Chicago Blackhawks Predictions and Odds

The odds will be updated as they are made available.

If you are in New Jersey you can legally place bets on NHL at 888sport and DraftKings Sportsbook.