Avalanche-Ducks Tilt Loaded with Playoff Implications in West

Dana Lane

Sunday, April 1, 2018 3:36 PM UTC

Sunday, Apr. 1, 2018 3:36 PM UTC

The "over" is 5-2-2 in Colorado's past nine games following a win, and 6-2 in Anaheim's past eight games after allowing two goals of fewer. Follow the trends tonight.

Sunday NHL: Avalanche vs. DucksFree NHL Pick: Over 5.5, -110Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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When teams who don’t play in the postseason look back and try to figure out what went wrong, a game such as tonight's matchup usually provides that answer. The Anaheim Ducks (40-25-13, 93 points, +11 goal differential) are in a wild-card spot in the West but could jump into third place in the Pacific with a regulation win. However, a win by Colorado would lift the Avalanche (42-28-8, 92, +22) over the Ducks in the wild-card race, and Colorado would maintain hopes of catching Minnesota for third in the Central. The puck drops at Honda Center at 9 p.m. ET.

The Avalanche took care of the Ducks 3-1 in mid-January, when Jonathan Bernier made 33 saves. Bernier (18-11-2, .913, 2.82) is Colorado's probable starter tonight, while John Gibson (31-18-7, .926, 2.43) is likely to be in Anaheim's net.

The Ducks are -153 favorites on the NHL odds board, with Bookmaker as high as -158. Clearly the oddsmakers are giving you their opinion of who is the better team; I thought this number would be closer to -140.

The focus for our NHL picks is on the "total," which opened at 5.5, -112, shaded to the "over." Public "under" money has driven this down to -108 at Pinnacle, which is good news for my followers who will be on the "over."

If the Avalanche are to make the postseason it’ll be on the back of Bernier, after it was announced that Semyon Varlamov will miss the rest of the regular season with a lower-body injury. Erik Johnson will also be out of the lineup for at least six weeks after suffering a fractured patella. Add that to Colin Wilson and Mark Barberio skating in non-contact jerseys during practice, although each will travel.

The Ducks have been solid at home with 23-10-5 record.

I’m jumping on the "total" because in a game of this magnitude it would be nothing to see a couple empty-netters pushing this game "over," especially if you like the Ducks to win. The Avalanche will be desperate, with nothing to lose except their grip on a wild-card spot.

This series has always trended "under," especially in Anaheim. However, the Ducks' "over" is on a 6-2 streak after allowing two goals or less in the previous game. Let’s get that "over" money tonight.

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