Game 2 for the Arizona Coyotes was certainly a better effort for Rick Tocchet’s club, but a victory eluded his pesky squad late in yesterday’s third period.
Still though, in a best-of-7 series the ‘Yotes still have some wiggle room against the favoured Avalanche, but winning Game 3 in an 0-2 hole is certainly an important one to have.
Besides stating the obvious, Arizona can certainly take pride that they hung with a powerful Colorado squad for the most part. What they do lack however is painstakingly obvious – the game-breakers of Colorado. While Taylor Hall can be that for Arizona, he isn’t yet supported enough, and certainly not the ways in which Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen are on the other end.
And though we missed yesterday’s wager by a half-goal on the over 5.5, the play remained a strong one as we hit expected goal and scoring chance targets. It was an offensive game early, before settling into a more defensive shell late. In a match that the ‘Yotes simply need to have, expect Arizona to be even more aggressive. That should make for some exciting afternoon hockey. For more insight and our betting prediction for Game 3, read on beneath the posted odds for our prediction between Colorado and Arizona.
Arizona Coyotes vs. Colorado Avalanche Betting Odds:
Colorado Avalanche (-181)
Arizona Coyotes (+159)
Over 5.5 (+118)
Under 5.5 (-135)
*Betting odds provided by BetOnline.ag
Arizona Coyotes vs. Colorado Avalanche Pick:
With their backs firmly against the wall, don’t expect the usual conservative approach from a usually stingy Coyotes team. Coach Rick Tocchet knows his squad really needs a Game 3 victory, as Colorado certainly doesn’t seem like a group capable of blowing a 3-0 lead.
We saw many good things from Arizona in Game 2 yesterday. They showed an ability to hang with a fast-skating Avs squad, and matched them in terms of expected goals and scoring chances at 5v5. In fact, Arizona did actually lead high-danger chances at 5-on-5 by a score of 8 to 6 – proving that this Coyotes squad is capable of taking down one of the current Cup favourites in Colorado.
Look for Tocchet to be even more aggressive in his approach for Saturday afternoon. That means more ice time for the likes of Taylor Hall, Phil Kessel, and Christian Dvorak. He needs to be able to put his offensive players in positions to succeed, and needs to ensure he is getting his skilled forwards away from Colorado’s top defensive pairing.
Luckily, the home-ice advantage is now flipped for Game 3 – as the ‘Yotes will now be designated as the home side. That will make it much easier for Tocchet to get the match-ups he craves, and should lead to even more chances and goal-scoring opportunities for this young Coyotes group.
With both Grubauer and Kuemper holding steady in goal for both teams, they’ve been making these games more low-scoring than the chances would indicate. Expect another strong effort from Arizona as the ‘home side’, and frankly Colorado is just too strong to be held off the scoresheet in any contest. With the desperation obvious from the Coyotes, expect more chances to be taken – and that should certainly lead to more clear chances at goal.
Though I do think Arizona makes this more of a series than it currently is, it’s tough to go against the Avalanche at any point right now. Colorado does have flaws though, and the ‘Yotes can take advantage of these with goals. Expect the ‘need to win’ from Arizona to make this an open game, and we should finally see our first ‘Over’ of this tight series. Enjoy some afternoon puck!
Pick: Colorado 4-3