The Detroit Red Wings are quietly performing at quite the pace, a pace and winning formula that not many experts or fans could have predicted. With question marks surrounding the team at several key positions heading into the playoffs, the Red Wings have once again established themselves as one of the best teams in the NHL. A healthy Pavel Datsuyk and Henrik Zetterberg is vital for success for the Red Wings. Not only do they help on the offensive end, but both are a huge asset on the defensive side. Bother are terrific goal scorers and play the back-check terrifically well, especially Datsyuk who is routinely regarded as the best defensive forward in the NHL. Even with the injury to goaltender Jimmy Howard, the Wings have been able to thrive lately. Thrive so much that the Wings are are only 2 points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning for 1st in the Eastern Conference. It was believed they were going to finish as a 5th or 6th seed in the playoffs this season. The way they have been playing, they are giving themselves a much better opportunity for a higher seed.
I recently did a write-up on an Avalanche game, and to sum it up, they have definitely regressed from their breakout season a year ago. Consistency really was the story of the Avalanche season a year ago, but they’ve actually gone in the complete opposite direction. One night they look find, and a couple of others they appear to be completely lost. As I alluded to, Paul Stastny is a pretty consistent player, and that consistency has seemingly moved with him to St. Louis. The Blues look to be a better team this year, and the Avalanche have looked okay, but nothing like they were back then. If they want to get back into the playoffs, they’ll need to have a strong second-half of the season. Patrick Roy is the kind of coach, I believe, that can either get the most out of his players or have the opposite effect on his locker room. Right now he is going to need to get the most out of them, as they have an important stretch of games ahead of them.
Detroit Red Wings @ Colorado Avalanche
This rivalry doesn’t have the same amount of luster that it did several years ago, when in fact, Patrick Roy was in net for the Avalanche. But nevertheless, this series still invokes plenty of emotion and fanfare. We may not get a goalie fight in this game, but it should be a pretty good game against two hated rivals. The Red Wings are riding a streak in which they are 7-1 in their last eight games. Their only loss coming against the Tampa Bay Lightning, so that is the game that separates the Wings between 3rd place and 1st in the Eastern Conference. The Wings will be able to pull themselves into a tie with the Lightning if they win tonight and the Lightning lose. The Wings have been much better this season due to their offensive production. They are scoring an average of 2.94, which positions them as the 8th best offense in the NHL. A big jump from a season ago where they were 16th in the league. They’ve averaged just over 4 goals per game in their last six games. Note that backup goaltender Peter Mrazek has been in net throughout this winning run for the Wings. Jimmy Howard is gone with a major groin injury, but is expected to return in about a week. Good news for the Wings who will need him late in the season and playoffs.
The Wings should pose a considerable test for the Avalanche, who are coming into tonight after getting a big come from behind win over the Dallas Stars. The Stars’ defense let them down late (again), but the Wings defense should be a stiffer test. The Avalanche were inactive on the offensive end until the 3rd period, and against the Stars’ defense, that isn’t particularly impressive. The Avalanche hold the 23rd best offense in the NHL, scoring only 2.49 goals per game. A big transition from what they were accumulating last season. With the Red Wings getting even odds in this game, I think we have to pull the trigger on the Wings in this game. No one has really taken notice of this team, and I think that is why we are getting pretty good odds on a team that I think should be at -115 in this one against the Avalanche.
Pick – RED WINGS TO WIN +100 5dimes.eu (Best Odds)