The Colorado Avalanche are back at it again on Saturday night following a 1-0 win in Anaheim last night. All it took was a J.T. Compher goal in the 2nd period to bury the Ducks. The Ducks have had issues scoring the puck this season, and the Avalanche were able to take advantage. Pavel Francouz made 26 of 26 saves to record a shutout hours after the Avalanche signed him to a two-year extension.
He’s had a rock solid season for the Avalanche, though that was only his first shutout. The Avalanche are looking to catch the Blues in the Central Division again. They reeled the Blues in and just as that happened, the Blues were able to pull away. The Blues put on a clinic in Dallas last night, as they dispatched the Stars by a score of 5-1.
Colorado is 3 points behind the Blues going into Saturday. The Stars are just a point behind them, so it seems like it will be a close race in March for the top spot in the Central. Home ice in the Western Conference is likely going to be up for grabs. The Golden Knights are 1st in the Pacific Division with only 72 points, so it’d seem like the winner of the Central Division will have home ice throughout the playoffs in the Western Conference.
They likely won’t be catching the Bruins for the Presidents’ Trophy, but that might be for the better. Avoiding the Presidents’ Trophy case might work out in the long run. I think it’s just more of a reflection on how parity reins in the NHL than a curse, though. The Avalanche won’t have the luxury of going to Philipp Grubauer after the fantastic effort by Francouz last night. The two have combined to be quite the tandem in Denver, but Grubauer is scheduled to be out indefinitely with a groin injury.
That likely makes the Avalanche players for a goaltender at the trade deadline. I don’t know if the Avalanche are confident enough in Adam Werner as the full-time No. 2 option. In any event, Francouz is about to see a lot more work now without Grubauer. It’s a big opportunity for Francouz, as he can show that he’s good enough to be a go-to option for the Avalanche.
He’s been good for the Avs, though hasn’t been an everyday starter. On a back-to-back, Werner is currently listed as the probable starting goalie for the Avalanche in Los Angeles. Cal Petersen is listed as probable for the Kings, which might be a move to give Petersen a chance to get his feet wet. Head below for our free Avalanche vs. Kings pick.
Colorado Avalanche vs. L.A. Kings Betting Odds:
Bruins vs. Canucks Prediction:
If the Kings go with Cal Petersen, they just want to see what he has to offer late in the season. It’d be like throwing a young pitcher out there late in the year to give them experience and an audition. There isn’t anything to lose, and we know what Jonathan Quick is so why not give the 25-year-old a chance. Petersen made the jump from the AHL to the NHL after Jack Campbell was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
He’s made three starts this season, and none of them went exceptionally well. In his most recent outing, Petersen allowed 5 goals on 34 shots against the Jets for a 0.853 save percentage. Including his performances against the Flames and Devil, Petersen has a 3.69 GAA and 0.896 save percentage in the big leagues this year. It doesn’t help that the Kings’ defence doesn’t offer much assistance.
Jonathan Quick has numbers that resemble more of a backup than starter this season. He owns a 3.02 GAA and 0.897 save percentage. So, if the Kings go in his direction on Saturday, it’s not like they’re getting vintage Jonathan Quick. Quick has allowed at least 3 goals in seven of his last eight outings. His most recent was a winner over the Kings by a score of 5-4, though Quick gave up 4 goals for a 0.862 save percentage.
The Avalanche have been struggling to score recently, but a meeting against the Kings should provide some help. LA has allowed 3.2 goals per game for 25th in the league. In their last ten outings, they’ve yielded 3.5 goals per contest. The Kings will catch a break if Adam Werner gets the nod between the pipes tonight. If that’s the case, they won’t have to rely on their goaltending too heavily.
Just like Petersen, Werner has gotten much work this season in the big leagues, but the injury to Grubauer gets him an automatic promotion to the NHL. He has appeared in two games this season, and posted a 3.41 GAA and 0.914 save percentage. In his only start, Werner allowed 5 goals on 18 shots against the Oilers in Edmonton. He’s been okay in the AHL, with a 2.91 GAA and 0.91 save percentage. We have to assume his GAA would be well over 3.00 if that was the NHL, though. I think there’s some decent value on the OVER at plus money if he’s named the starting goalie for the Avs in LA tonight.