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The Colorado Avalanche are on a four-game losing streak.
The Vancouver Canucks are on a three-game losing streak.
This Canucks beat the Avalanche 4-3 when they first faced each other.
Odds Taken from FanDuel Sportsbook.
19-14-3 (4th in Central Division)
16-18-3 (6th in Pacific Division)
Mikko Rantanen (47)
Elias Pettersson (44)
Mikko Rantanen (25)
Bo Horvat (28)
Nathan MacKinnon (27)
Quinn Hughes (30)
Devon Toews (9)
Elias Pettersson (9)
Nathan MacKinnon (5.24)
Shots (Per Game)
Elias Pettersson (3.14)
The Avalanche will travel northwest to face the Vancouver Canucks for the second time this season. Vancouver beat Colorado 4-3 when they first faced each other. The Avalanche led 3-2 going into the final period, but a Sheldon Dries goal followed by an Ethan Bear goal gave the Canucks the victory.
The Avalanche are one point out of the second Wild Card spot but can jump into one of the spots with a win today. On the other side, the Canucks are seven points out of the Playoff picture. A win today would keep them in the race, but a loss would decrease their chances of making the Playoffs.
The Avalanche are dealing with many injuries, and their offense has struggled due to that. They score less than three goals a game and have only scored four goals in their last two games. Defensively, Colorado is pretty impressive, but their offense needs to step up and shoot more efficiently.
The Avalanche are led by Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon, and Cale Makar. I would also usually add Valeri Nichushkin to this list, but he has been injured for most of the season. Regardless, these three players are all performing at high levels. They each have at least 34 points and 22 assists.
Alexander Georgiev has taken over the Avalanche’s top goaltending spot while Pavel Francouz has been injured. Georgiev is not excellent, but he deserves to be a starter. The 26-year-old has 15 wins and two shutouts.
The Canucks have the opposite problem of the Avalanche. Their offense is impressive and scores over 3.3 goals per game. However, their defense and goaltending rank toward the bottom. Vancouver allows nearly four goals a game and gave up six goals to the New York Islanders in their previous game.
The Canucks’ offense can be electric and is led by Elias Pettersson and Bo Horvat. Petterson is more of a passer but still has 17 goals. Horvat is the premier scorer on the Canucks and has 28 goals. These two are bright spots on a Canucks squad that often struggles.
The Canucks goaltending duo currently consists of Spencer Martin and Collin Delia. Thatcher Demko would usually be on this list, but he went down with an injury a couple of days ago. Delia has played well in his short time on the roster, but I would not bank on him continuing to perform at this level. I will not mince my words when I say this. Vancouver lacks quality goaltenders and may need to trade for one if they want a chance at the Playoffs.
The Avalanche may have lost their last four games, but I expect it to end tonight. Their offense often struggles, but they will have enough in the tank to win this game. Bet on Colorado.
The Avalanche are the favorites but will only win if they draw penalties and involve Mikko Rantanen.
The Avalanche have a top-ten power play unit and convert a little over 25% of their opportunities. This unit did not score in the Avalanche’s previous game but is usually quite dangerous. Colorado must draw penalties and get this unit on the ice.
I will speak highly of Mikko Rantanen multiple times in this article because he provides so much offense for the Avalanche. Rantanen is a decent passer and can be one of the best scorers in the league. Rantanen’s teammates must hit him with the puck. If they do, he will score.
The Canucks are struggling and the underdogs. However, they will win if they score first and have strong goaltending.
The Canucks are more offensively gifted than the Avalanche, which is why they need to score first. Vancouver has a bevy of scorers, and they all need to come out aggressively and put up 15 shots in the first period. If they do, they will likely strike first.
The Canucks have some of the NHL’s worst goaltenders. However, they will need to flip the script today and play like some of the NHL’s best goaltenders. Whoever ends up in the net for Vancouver can be the difference-maker if he plays up to his potential.
Mikko Rantanen has been a huge source of Colorado’s offense this season. The winger has nearly ¼ of the Avalanche’s goals and is converting almost 20% of his opportunities. In addition, he is coming off a one-goal, one-assist game against the Vegas Golden Knights.
Rantanen does not need to change anything going into this game. He needs to keep playing to his strengths, and good things will happen.
Bo Horvat may be the most efficient shooter in the NHL. The 27-year-old leads the Canucks with 28 goals. However, what is more impressive is how he scored those 28 goals. It only took Horvat 112 shots to score 28 times. He is converting on an absurd 25% of his opportunities.
Horvat’s teammates need to hit him with the puck in this game. It does not take much for him; he just needs the opportunity.
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What - Colorado Avalanche vs Vancouver Canucks
Where - Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia
When - Thursday, January 5, 10:00 PM EST
How to Watch - NHLPP, ESPN+
Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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