Ducks at Avalanche Picks and NHL Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 2/6/2013
In my opinion, the Anaheim Ducks are more often than not like the Buffalo Bills of the NFL in that the Ducks are generally the third wheel of the trio of NHL clubs in their own state. The Stanley Cup Champion Kings are in downtown L.A., and anyone who is a Los Angeles native will tell you that Anaheim is not L.A. And then you have the San Jose Sharks, who have been a very good team for years and often one of the most entertaining to watch. The Ducks? They do have the 2007 Cup but often are just sort of blah to follow.
This season, however, Anaheim might be a legitimate title contender and it is currently +1100 to win the West at Sportsbook.ag. The Ducks (6-1-1) enter Wednesday night’s game at Colorado off arguably the most impressive win of the season by any team, 2-1 over San Jose. The Avs (4-5-0), meanwhile, had won two straight before falling 3-2 at home to Dallas on Monday.
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This is the first of three meetings this season.
Ducks at Avalanche Betting Story Lines
Anaheim is off to its best start since its Stanley Cup season and handed the high-powered Sharks their first regulation loss of the season. Saku Koivu and offseason addition Sheldon Souray scored for Anaheim. Anaheim’s 29 goals through the first eight games are the most in franchise history (previously 24, 2006-07).
Interestingly, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau (remember him as the foul-mouthed coach of the Capitals on HBO’s “24/7”?) started Swedish rookie Viktor Fasth, twice named the top goalie in that country’s top league, against San Jose instead of No. 1 Jonas Hiller. Fasth made 25 saves to become the first Ducks netminder to ever win his first three NHL starts. Over his three appearances, Fasth has stopped 70 of 74 shots for a 1.30 goals-against average and .946 save percentage. There might be a goalie controversy on the team because Hiller has a 3.54 GAA and .871 save percentage. He gave up four goals in his last start against the Kings.
Colorado’s defeat to Dallas was its first in four home games. Milan Hejduk scored for the Avs in his 1,000th career game. Hejduk is the fifth player in the last two seasons to score a goal in his 1,000th career game. He became just the 30th player to reach the 1,000-game milestone with the same organization and first with Colorado. Hejduk is three points shy of joining Jaromir Jagr (1,659) and Patrik Elias (901) as the only Czech-born players in NHL history to reach 800 points. Colorado’s F P.A. Parenteau had a goal for the third straight game and is third in the NHL with seven.
Avs defenseman Shane O’Brien returned to the lineup on Monday after being scratched in every other game but one. That O’Brien has fallen so out of favor is a bit surprising considering he had 20 points, 105 penalty minutes and averaged 19:13 of ice time in 76 games with Colorado last season. That got him a $6 million extension. O’Brien played because blueliner Ryan Wilson has been lost indefinitely with an ankle injury. He had three points on the year and was playing nearly 20 minutes a night. Reigning Calder Trophy winner Gabe Landeskog remains out indefinitely as well with a head injury. The winger had one goal in four games this year after 22 goals and 30 assists in his Rookie of the Year campaign.
Ducks at Avalanche NHL Betting Odds and Key Trends
The Ducks are 4-0 in their past four games when their opponent scores two goals or fewer in the previous game. Anaheim is 2-8 in its past 10 after allowing two goals or fewer in its previous game. Colorado is 1-4 in its past five vs. the Pacific Division. The under is 5-0-1 in Colorado’s past six playing on one day of rest. The Ducks are 6-2 in their past eight in Denver. The over is 5-2-1 in those eight.
Ducks at Avalanche Picks and Betting Predictions
This starts a season-high six-game road trip for Anaheim, which hasn’t played out of California since the first two games of the season (and those were in Canada). The Ducks have been good on the road, winning at Vancouver and Calgary and losing in a shootout at San Jose in a game in which the Ducks blew a late lead.
Anaheim was 1-2-1 against Colorado last year after winning 15 of the previous 17 in the series. As of this writing, it’s not clear whether Fasth or Hiller will start for Anaheim (I’d guess Hiller), but you can be assured they will rotate often this season. The Ducks didn’t have a reliable backup for Hiller last season, and he played a whopping 73 games and wore down. I believe that Anaheim is the better club right now, and getting them as the dog here against a so-so opponent is great value. Take the Ducks and the under.
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