The amount of different ways I’ve lost on hockey, and there’s only been a month of action, is a getting a tad too ridiculous. Last night the Jets blow a 4-2 lead with 10 minutes to go on and lose in overtime. Hellebuyck looked unstoppable until last night, where he couldn’t stop a beachball against the Canadiens. I’ve seen it all thus far.
Usually those kinds of things even out by the end of the year, and it’s early, so back to the grind to try and get out of a downswing. Sunday is all about football, but I like a game in Brooklyn today between the Islanders and Avalanche. The Avs are coming off a win in a shootout over the Flyers on Saturday. They are WAY exceeding expectations this season, as they advance to 8-5-0 with the win in Philadelphia.
The expectations for the Avalanche was..well, there weren’t any expectations for them this season. The Avalanche went 22-56-4 to finish dead last in the league. They didn’t get any better in the offseason, roster wise. In fact, there was a huge distraction between Matt Duchene and management. As it is, Duchene is still in Colorado, for now. The Avs have gotten offers from other teams, but like I said, they aren’t going to give him up for a bag of pucks. Joe Sakic has made it perfectly clear that they will hold out, whether Duchene likes it or not, before they ship him out.
The most recent news regarding Duchene was that a deal between the Avalanche and Senators was in the works. I’ve heard that it didn’t work out, and on Saturday, the media is saying there still may be a chance of it happening. Sakic will not pull the trigger until he gets what he wants, that much you can guarantee. As it is, though, the Avs are playing well with Duchene around. He has 4 goals and 6 assists, with a +/- rating of 2.
The Avs did add Nail Yakupov in the offseason, and he’s helped out some. Is he enough of a reason for why the Avs look reasonable this year? There was talent already on the roster last season, including Tyson Barrie and Gabriel Landeskog. Nathan MacKinnon certainly has talent, too.
So, was it more of an issue of none of these gelling together in Jared Bednar’s first season behind the bench? If you recall, Patrick Roy resigned out of the blue in August of 2016. Maybe that was what was wrong with them, but I must say, we won’t know if the Avalanche are a decent team before January. The first two months of the NHL season can be a crapshoot, and more than ever, the start of the 2017-18 season has been a bit nutty. The Golden Knights are 9-4-0? Kudos to you if you called that start for them.
Colorado Avalanche vs. N.Y. Islanders Pick
John Tavares has been on an absolute tear with the Islanders this season. Always one of the most underrated and unnoticed players in the league, Tavares has scored a staggering 10 goals in just six games. That’s a pretty unheard of figure in the NHL. On the year, he’s already up to 12 goals and 5 assists to bring his point total to 17 with a +/- of 4. Tavares and Josh Bailey have been establishing a good relationship, after Jordan Eberle was removed from the top-line. Bailey holds 3 goals and 13 assists, with an impressive +/- of 9. Scoring has not been an issue for the Isles, who are averaging 3.62 goals per game. If they could only stop the puck, though.
The Isles are scoring at a whopping pace, but are allowing 3.15 goals per game. They’re 5th in the NHL in scoring, but near the back in goals allowed. All offence, no defence, the Dallas Stars can relate. Likewise, the Avalanche are netting 3.25 goals per game, but allowing 3.08 back on the defensive side. In their last five games the OVER has gone, 5-0, and for the Islanders it’s gone 7-0 in their last even games. Additionally, in their last nine meetings in New York, the OVER has gone 8-0-1.
I’ve been cold as an ice box lately, and if you want to fade me I understand. My PC monitor started dying on me with dead pixels right after the Canadiens-Jets game, so I mean, when it rains it pours. But it should have the makings for a high-scoring contest on Sunday, and hopefully I can go buy a new monitor with the winnings.
PICK: OVER 6 (-110)