Look out for the Colorado Avalanche, as they’ve been paving a path towards the playoffs. There’s no denying the Winnipeg Jets as a comeback story, but if I’m name a team to win that award, it has to go to the Avs who have gone from last to competing for a playoff spot in a year. No, I didn’t forget about the Golden Knights. There was nothing for them to comeback from as an expansion franchise, but they should get an award for their amazing story. That’s quite amazing, and the Avalanche’s season has been quite amazing.
Out with Duchene and in with a competitive hockey team. Others have taken on more of a role without Duchene around. Nathan MacKinnon has evolved into a superstar, while Tyson Barrie is finally earning a paycheck this year. The Avs said goodbye to a pretty good player, Ryan O’Reilly, to be able to afford Barrie. It looked like a one-sided trade for a couple of years, but Barrie has been a solid contributor in 2017-18. MacKinnon is coming off a 2 goal performance over the Detroit Red Wings, a 5-1 win for the Avs.
The 25-year-old captain, Gabriel Landeskog, has also been finding it easier this season. These are all guys who should be playing on this level. They weren’t last season, though, and the result was an ugly campaign at the back of the pack. With the talent on their roster, it came as a frustrating year for Avalanche fans. They’ve been trying to make up for lost time with a solid effort here, though. The Avs currently have the second wild card with a record of 39-25-8. They play the visitor role against the Blackhawks in Chicago tonight. Head below for our free Avalanche vs. Blackhawks pick.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Chicago Blackhawks Pick
It’s been a comeback story for the Avalanche this season. And on the other side of the game, it’s been a disaster for the Blackhawks. It’s a year they best forget and move on from. I can’t say this team was playing at their best before Corey Crawford went down, but that was pretty well the dagger that solidified the beginning of the end. The Hawks have bounced between several netminders since and have landed on J-F Berube most recently. Berube enters with a lackluster save percentage of 0.897 and whopping 3.7 GAA. He saw 14 appearances with the Islanders a year ago and allowed 30 goals. In only 10 starts this season, Berube has already surpassed that with 32 goals allowed.
The Hawks may be better off playing with an empty net lately. In their last ten games, they’ve allowed 4.4 goals per game. Conversely, the Avalanche have scored 4.1 per game. The offence has been impressive in Denver all year long, with plenty of playmakers to be had on the Avalanche. In five of their last six games, they’ve scored at least 4 goals in each. Good luck to Berube, but I don’t see this going over very well. The Blackhawks have been adequate offensively, but pylons in net are not going to work out too well. I’d take a look at the OVER in Chicago, with something like a 4-3 final looking on target.
PICK: OVER 6 (-110)