Daniel Wettstein previews the 2020 NHL Series Playoff between the Av’s and the Yotes and shares his best bets, with the Av’s entering the Series as a favorite to win it all.
Colorado Avalanche v Arizona Coyotes Preview
If you followed my advice before the NHL Bubble started by picking both the Blackhawks and Blue Jackets to cause chaos in their series here, you should already be sitting pretty. But now I am here to give you a preview for the team I hold dearest in the bubble, the Colorado Avalanche. The presumptive favorite at 5/1 odds by multiple sportsbook.
To drive it home FOXBet has them as -300 favorites in their opening series against the Arizona Coyotes. This is a prototypical Speed vs. Power series as the NHL’s 4th-best offense (3.37 GF/GP) in the Av’s and 4th-best defense(2.61 GA/GP) in the Coyotes are set to face off.
For example, in its best-of-five series in the Stanley Cup Qualifier, that Coyotes defense frustrated the No. 5-seed Nashville Predators, who outshot the No. 11 Coyotes each contest but had their season end after four games. Their goaltending tandem finished the season as giving up the fourth-lowest goals-against average.
Goaltender Darcy Kuemper was a big reason for the Coyotes’ success in the bubble. Kuemper faced the most shots among any goalie during the qualifying round and produced a .933 save percentage. Good for fifth-best among keepers that started at least three games.
A lot may look at this and wonder how the Av’s could be such prohibitive favorites. Enforcer Nazem Kadri put it best when talking to the Avalanche’s official site:
“I don’t think we’re a one-dimensional team. I think we’re a dynamic group and if we can’t score off the rush, we’ll find other ways to produce and score,” said Nazem Kadri, who has been centering a trio with Landeskog and Valeri Nichushkin since the second day of thee Phase 3 Training Camp. “Our line in particular, I think we got speed, we got skill. A lot of our plays happen from the bottom of the circle down. That’s the tough part about coaching against our team, we can bring different looks and that’s definitely a confidence builder for us.”
The leagues 3rd-best offense as referenced before, has absolutely dominant scorers on every forward line to go along with the best scoring defenders in the league. Meaning they are not exaggerating when they say this squad can score from anywhere on the ice at any time. From McKinnon to Kadri, the Av’s have firepower no matter where you focus your attention. Their goaltenders allowed a combined 5 goals in 3 games, with 4 coming in their only loss to No. 1 seed Las Vegas Golden Knights in their final tune-up.
Pavel Francouz has yet to allow a goal and will likely start the series on the bench. So the Av’s are also no slouch on defense/goaltending. They have a great mix of size and speed. This is where the scales tip as the Avalanche have the much deeper and balanced roster.
The Coyotes are a nice story, making their first playoff appearance since the 2011-12 season, to add parity to a league that touts this more than any other. But the deficiencies they have on offense, such as a lack of speed and reliance on a physical and suffocating defensive style of play backed by great goaltending is tenuous when you do not score as was evidenced by the Yotes and their regular season 2.71 GPG which was 23rd out of 31 teams. This is how a team that seems to have a major advantage can be seen as such an underdog.
Colorado Avalanche v Arizona Coyotes Picks
The information above is why I will be running with the Av’s to win in Game 1 of the series and taking the under of 4.5 with lines from FOXBet Colorado Sportsbook today. The relentless offensive onslaught from McKinnon, Makar, Kadri and the rest of the Colorado crew will be too much for even this stout defensive unit to stave off, they will only be able to slow it.
All of this mixed with a weak Coyote offense against a Colorado defense that ranked only 2 spots behind Arizona at 6th best GA/GP of 2.71(Yotes 2.61) makes for a short series:
I will also take these odds any day for Kadri or Mckinnon to score a goal courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook:
As I am sure you have guessed by now, my pick to not only win this game, but the series in 5 games is the Colorado Avalanche. I believe the Coyotes will steal one due to their oft mentioned defense and goaltending. But, as with all things, there comes a breaking point when you beat on any structure long enough with relentless energy. Immovable Object meet Unstoppable Force, I put my money on the Force every time.
Follow me on Twitter @DanWettsteinII to see the outcome of these picks and daily locks for the Av’s vs. Yotes series.