The reeling Colorado Avalanche head into Toronto looking to end a three-game losing streak. Along with the three straight losses, the Avalanche are losers in nine of their last ten outings. The eight in nine games they won in November feels like a distance memory now. Life was good for the Avalanche then, but it’s Jared Bednar’s responsibility to find a way to turn this season around before the season gets out of reach.
Despite their recent struggles, the Avs are 20-17-7 and are currently in possession of a spot in the playoffs. They just have to regroup and realize that their season is still very well in front of them. Nathan MacKinnon getting into arguments with his head coach is not the way of going about that, though.
Frederik Andersen might return to his spot between the pipes on Monday night. With an injury to Garret Sparks, the Leafs were in desperation mode and had to make a trade with the Panthers to acquire Michael Hutchinson. Hutchinson did his job and didn’t allow the house to come crashing down. In fact, he played better than many people expected.
It still would have been nice to have Curtis McElhinney for days like that, though. Hopefully Andersen can stay upright for the second-half. They’re certainly going to need him if they want to make a run in the playoffs. A backup goaltender trying to win a seven-game series against the Lightning, Capitals, or even the Penguins would be a monumental challenge. Babcock has been mute on who his starting goaltender for Monday night is going to be. Along with Andersen nearing a return, Sparks has been cleared to suit up. Semyon Varlamov is likely to counter for the Avalanche. After a hot start, he’s cooled down considerably of late. Head below for our free Avalanche vs. Maple Leafs pick.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Pick
This is the first meeting for the Avalanche and Maple Leafs this season. Their most recent date date resulted in a 4-2 win for the Avs in Toronto last January. It was the second win over the Maple Leafs for Colorado. With the Avs sputtering, we’ll see if they can make it three in a row. This is the fourth stop on a five-game road trip to Canada. The Jets, Flames, and Canadiens all had little trouble dispatching them.
Following tonight, they’re in Ottawa on Wednesday and then are greeted with a much needed five-game homestand in Denver. It would be nice if Varlamov would show up to help out soon. He’s been getting rattled lately with at least 3 goals allowed in eight of his last nine outings.
Note that Varlamov owned a save percentage of 0.95 after October. His total numbers in November was a 0.905 save percentage, and then he followed that up with a poor December and a 0.874 save percentage. In two outings this month, he’s posted a 0.867 save percentage.
In the Avs’ previous ten games, they’ve allowed an average of 3.7 goals per game. They’ve scored 3.4 goals per game while allowing 3.4 goals on the road this season. Colorado faces a Toronto team who have scored 3.59 goals per game for 3rd in the league.
The OVER has gone 5-1-1 in their last seven meetings, with an average of 7 goals scored per game. If Andersen starts, there could be some rust for him against a capable Colorado offence. I think we’re going to see the Avs on the offensive attack after failing to do anything in Montreal. Though, Varlamov hasn’t been playing so hot lately and should struggle against the 3rd best offence in the league. The best option here looks like a play on the OVER.