After a couple of days of cancelled and postponed action on the ice, both the Avalanche and Stars are eager to return to their hotly contested semi-final series.
The Stars jumped out to a 2-0 series lead, but missed a key opportunity to seize control in Game 3. Nathan MacKinnon took full control for the Avs in that contest, being a force at both ends of the ice – en route to a high-scoring Colorado victory.
In a crucial Game 4, many questions still need to be answered. The health of each club is in serious doubt, so watching lineups and line rushes in warm-ups will remain key as we approach the 6:00 EST puck drop. That’s especially true in goal where Anton Khudobin and Pavel Francouz continue to give their clubs mediocre goaltending. Will Ben Bishop and Philip Grubauer be poised for a return?
The intensity of this series has been quite fun to watch, and as the games begin to get more and more meaningful, expect that to ramp up even further. The Avs are a young team eager to show they have enough talent to make up for a lack of experience, while the Stars boast a veteran-laden squad, with many hoping to still take their first drink from hockey’s holy grail. That should make Game 4 must-see action, and we’ve got your betting needs covered at The Sports Geek. As always, read on beneath the posted odds for game analysis and a betting preview. Enjoy Game 4, folks!
Avalanche vs. Stars Betting Odds:
Colorado Avalanche (-135)
Dallas Stars (+115)
Over 6 (+100)
Under 6 (-120)
*Betting odds provided by BetOnline.ag
Avalanche vs. Stars Pick:
While the injury bug seems to have struck the Avalanche in this important semi-final series, GM Joe Sakic set out to build a deep and resilient group, and his key pieces will get tested come Sunday evening.
It’s believed the Avs will be without their main starter in Philip Grubauer, along with Colin Wilson, Erik Johnson, and Matt Calvert. Joonas Donskoi, if reports are correct, should be fit to play and slot in somewhere in the top-9.
The advantage Colorado boasts is definitely their depth up front. They’re fast and score in waves. All lines are skilled and have been outplaying Dallas at 5-on-5, though mistakes without the puck, and shoddy goaltending have the Avs down 2-1 in the series.
In a key Game 4 scenario, look for coach Jared Bednar to really rely on his main guys – especially after a longer layoff. Do not be surprised to see upwards of 25 minutes from Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Gabriel Landeskog. That will be especially important as Bednar tries to get his top scorers away from John Klingberg and Miro Heiskanen on Dallas’ defense.
The Stars don’t score much, but they’ve been very good this series at taking full advantage of their chances. It helps not having to face Colorado’s true number one netminder, but credit to Dallas for busting out offensively. Whether or not that is sustainable remains to be seen.
This is a Stars’ club fully focused on defensive play and structure without the Cup. They boast an impressive six-man unit on the back-end, though Anton Khudobin in goal still doesn’t inspire too much confidence going forward. Against all of the Avs’ skilled shooters, if they keep getting chances – eventually Colorado will burn teams, especially with the man-advantage.
In Game 4, I fully expect the Avs to continue what made them successful in Game 3 and even up this intense series. Their mobile defense has surely made adjustments to Dallas’ forecheck, and if they can get the puck up to their forwards, the constant wave of offense from the Avs should win out. Pavel Francouz will be better in goal, and Anton Khudobin should continue to show leaks. At a small favourite price, back the Avs to even up this series on Sunday.
Pick: Avalanche 4-2