The Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins made amends for their 2-1 season-opening home loss on Thursday night to the Philadelphia Flyers with a much better effort in Saturday’s 4-1 home win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

On Monday, the Boston Bruins will finish up their three-game home stand by hosting the Colorado Avalanche. The Avs were one of the worst teams in the NHL over the second half of last season en route to a 68-point finish and they started the 2011-12 season with a dud. They were shutout 3-0 at home by the Detroit Red Wings

Tim ThomasIt doesn’t get any easier on Monday as the Avalanche will have to travel a ways to face Boston in the Eastern time zone.

The Colorado Avalanche can win because…:

The Bruins aren’t a great home team. While it’s easy to assume that the Stanley Cup champs are a great team all around, one of the more notable Bruins weaknesses last season was their play at home where they won just 22 of their 41 home games. So far this season, the Bruins are 1-1-0 at home.

There aren’t many positive that the Avs can take from an uninspired shutout home loss to the Red Wings on Saturday, which happened to be a night dedicated to franchise great Peter Forsberg, but one thing that stood out was the play of goaltender Semyon Varlamov. 

He kept the Avs in the game while allowing two goals on 38 shots. His 36 saves were two short of his career-high and he really didn’t have much of a chance on the two goals he let in. 

Boston isn’t a great offensive team so if Varlamov puts up a similar effort, the Avs could be competitive on Monday. 

The Avs were let down by poor goaltending last year and it looks like they may have remedied the problem. Now they just need to get their offensive weapons going and they could a playoff spot contender in the West. 

The Boston Bruins can win because…:

They’ve got an identity; the Avs are still in search of theirs.

The Bruins know exactly who they are and what they’re doing. They know their team roles, they know how to execute and they know what’s going to cause them to win or lose. For Colorado, they’re still feeling their way.

After a sluggish night in their opener, the Bruins played much better in Saturday’s 4-1 win over Tampa Bay. Goaltender Tim Thomas was a brick wall, the defense was stellar and the offense started to warm up.

The Bruins don’t have a real superstar among their forwards grouping and overall, they’re more of a blue collar team. But young stud Tyler Seguin is looking to change that. He picked up two assists against the Lightning and now has three on the year. The 19-year-old will see increased ice time if he keeps this up.

Colorado should be a much easier opponent for Boston to handle than the first two they faced. They had to tussle with two teams that they knocked out of the playoffs last season whereas Colorado can’t even be considered playoff-caliber yet. 

Outlook & NHL betting prediction:

There’s little reason to have faith in the Avalanche in this scenario when it comes to NHL picks. The price tag might be appealing and overall, they probably do offer some value as the Stanley Cup champs are going to be overpriced on most nights. But the problem with value is that it’s not value unless your team wins.

For the Avs, the prospects don’t look so good.

If you’re looking for a cheaper play than the Bruins, consider the under as we might have two good goaltenders in this matchup if Varlamov keeps it up. Otherwise, expect the Bruins to come away with the win.

Pick: Bruins