NHL Hockey: Colorado Avalanche at St. Louis Blues

Two teams heading in opposite directions go at it in the Gateway City on Monday night as the St. Louis Blues welcome the Colorado Avalanche to the Enterprise Center. Colorado is tied with the Buffalo Sabres for the best record in the league with 15 points and have yet to lose in regulation this season going 7-0-1. The defending Stanley Cup Champions, meanwhile, have seen their fortunes drop of late with a 0-2-2 record in their last four games losing in regulation twice to Montreal–at home and at le Centre Bell–along with shootout losses against Vancouver and an overtime loss at the New York Islanders. They’ll play the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday before heading out for a pair of weekend games at Boston and Detroit.

Colorado lost in overtime at Pittsburgh on October 16. Otherwise, they’ve run the table this year with 5 wins in regulation and a pair of wins in overtime. What’s frightening about this Avs team is that they didn’t have an especially easy schedule early on but have come through it with flying colors. Among their early season victories are home wins against Calgary, Arizona and Boston along with road wins at Washington, Florida and Tampa Bay.

The Avs are doing it with offense–not surprising given that their top line of Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen is arguably the best top 3 in the NHL. MacKinnon has become an excellent facilitator leading the team with 7 assists on the year to go with 4 goals. Rantanen also has 11 points on 5 goals and 6 assists with Landeskog adding 3 goals and 4 assists. They’ve been getting improved play from the 2nd and 3rd lines as well with Andre Burakovsky chipping in for 4 goals and 4 assists. They’re currently the top scoring offense in the NHL putting up 4.38 goals per game and the #10 scoring defense (2.63 goals per game against) gives them a league best 1.75 differential.

St. Louis has been mediocre at best on offense scoring just 3 goals per game but it is on defense where the team has really struggled. They’re currently 20-T in scoring defense allowing 3.5 goals per game. Jordan Binnington is likely to get the start here for St. Louis and he’s 2-1-3 on the season with a 2.93 goals against average and a 0.909 save percentage. Philipp Grubauer is Colorado’s likely starter going 5-0-1 with a 2.79 goals against average and a 0.919 save percentage.

Pretty simple handicap here–just can’t pass up an opportunity to take the best team in hockey as an underdog against the defensively struggling Blues. Look for an Avs win in a game that goes ‘Over’ the total.


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