San Jose Sharks vs. Colorado Avalanche Series Odds
If this were the Eastern Conference the Avalanche would be right in the mix with a group of teams as threats to reach the semifinals. But in reality it’s the Western Conference and the Avalanche are the only playoff team that’s not a part of the century club. With 95 points they are the only team not to reach 100 in the West.
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The series starts Wednesday night at 10:30 p.m. and San Jose finds itself as big favorites at -230 in Game 1. If Colorado wants to stay in this series it will have to find a way to slow down the San Jose attack, which ranks in the Top 10 in all the major offensive team stats.
The Colorado guns of Paul Stastny, Chris Stewart, Matt Duchene and Milan Hejduk do not strike fear into the hearts of any defenses. And that is actually the strength of this team. Their defense struggles in killing penalties and allowing shots. Both of those are recipes for disaster with an unproven goalie, Craig Anderson, in net.
This season the Avalanche actually split with the Sharks, winning two and losing two. In their last meeting on April 4 Colorado won, 5-4, in overtime. From 2005-2008 the Western Conference semifinals had been the roadblock for San Jose. Last year the first round proved to be the end of the line as the Sharks were stunned by Anaheim.
This San Jose team, however, seems like it has something to prove. It stormed into the postseason, winning eight of 10 to close out the regular season. Goalie Evgeni Nabokov may have the most to prove. He had a colossal meltdown on the biggest stage of his life at the Olympics as the Russians were ousted well before anyone thought they would be. He has more than redeemed himself in the second half of the NHL regular season but the true test comes in the playoffs for him.
The San Jose offense with Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau gets plenty of attention, but Nabokov will be an important role in San Jose putting this series away early.
San Jose Sharks vs. Colorado Avalanche Series Prediction
San Jose in four
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