The NHL Returns to the Ice on Monday Night
After a rare night off for the National Hockey League on Sunday, play resumes around the league with the reigning, defending Stanley Cup Champion Colorado Avalanche preparing to do battle against the hosting Minnesota Wild. Let’s take a look at this Avalanche vs Wild Betting Preview for Monday night.
Game: Colorado Avalanche (1-1-0, 2 points) at Minnesota Wild (0-2-0, 0 points)
Location: Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, Minnesota
Streaming: Live Stream Sports
Avalanche Still Atop the Mountain
The Colorado Avalanche have picked up right where they left off from their magical Stanley Cup title run. With a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks in their home opener, the Avs scored four goals on the Power-Play over seven chances during the contest. Forwards Artturi Lehkonen and Valeri Nichushkin each scored twice while winger Mikko Rantanen notched four assists and goaltender Alexandar Georgiev only needed to make 15 saves on 17 shots faced for the season opening victory. The NHL standings are already reflecting that the cream not only rises to the top, but stays on top.
A night later, Colorado traveled to western Canada to take on a Calgary Flames squad that now employs the talents of former Avs’ forward Nazem Kadri, who received his Stanley Cup ring before the contest. The Avalanche fell 5-3 in a penalty-filled contest that saw Calgary score twice on the Power-Play and once while shorthanded. Pavel Francouz got the start between the pipes, making 22 saves on 27 shots faced and even picked up the primary assist on a goal scored by center Nathan MacKinnon early in the third period.
Sudden Panic in Downtown Saint Paul?
The 21-year old Swedish native fared slightly better, making 17 saves over 20 shots on goal in the last 40 minutes of play as the Kings won a 7-6 slugfest.
The Minnesota Wild are looking to improve on their strong regular season a year ago, and after a pair of games to open the season on their home ice at Xcel Energy Center, coach Dean Evason’s crew has lost two high-scoring affairs heading into this crucial home battle versus one of their division rivals.
On Thursday, the New York Rangers skate into town and scored three first-period goals against veteran netminder Marc-Andre Fleury, en route to a 7-3 final. Winger Matt Boldy picked up two of tallies for Minnesota while forward Joel Eriksson-Ek fired off eight shots on goal despite not registering a point.
On Saturday night, the Wild hosted the Los Angeles Kings, and once again Marc-Andre Fleury was shaky between the pipes, yielding four goals on 14 shots in the opening frame, forcing Evason to pull him in favor of backup Filip Gustavsson. The 21-year old Swedish native fared slightly better, making 17 saves over 20 shots on goal in the last 40 minutes of play as the Kings won a 7-6 slugfest.
Former Wild forward Kevin Fiala score a goal and added an assist in his return back to Saint Paul, while his new teammate in Adrian Kempe scored a pair of goals. Mats Zuccarello scored a goal and added two assists in the loss and said in a frustrated post-game press conference, “You can’t expect to win games when you let in 14 goals in 2 games. Sometimes we play defense like we’re a f*****g junior team. It’s the whole team. We’ve got to sharpen up.”
Avalanche vs Wild Betting Odds
Sportsbooks have the Colorado Avalanche as a slight favorite for this contest on Monday evening, in the price range around -125. This is the first time this season where the Minnesota Wild are underdogs after being favored in their first two contests of the year. Colorado was a big NHL betting favorite in their opening night victory over Chicago and a short underdog in their loss to Calgary on Saturday night.
The total for this contest is set at 6.5 goals at a pick-em price each way. Both teams are 2-0 this season to the Over, but the Under is 3-0-1 in the last four meetings between these two clubs after a streak of seven overs in the eight meetings prior to last season.
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