NHL Picks: Avalanche vs. Wild in Game 6

Ross Benjamin

Sunday, April 27, 2014 2:59 PM GMT

Colorado and Minnesota will resume their tightly contested playoff series during Game 6 on Monday night. Our NHL picks guru analyzes what’s taken place thus far, and projects what will occur in this huge game by offering his NHL free pick.

Two Evenly Matched Teams Despite The Seeds
The Wild will host the Avalanche on Monday at the Excel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minnesota with the opening face-off slated for 9:05 PM ET. This will be Game 6 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal Series in which Colorado leads 3-2. According to my NHL betting odds projections Minnesota will be a -140 money line home favorite and the posted total should be 5.0. The home team has won each of the first 5-games played in this series.

 

Golden Opportunity Slips Away for Wild
The Minnesota Wild looked to be in great position late in the 3rd period of Game 5 on the road while holding a 3-2 lead. However, that all abruptly came to halt thanks to another late game collapse, and overtime loss at the Pepsi Center in Denver. The Wild relinquished the lead by allowing Colorado to score the game tying goal with just 1:14 to go in regulation time, and then proceeded to lose the game in overtime when Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon scored 3:27 into the 1st sudden death overtime period. This marked the 2nd time in the series that the Wild has squandered a late lead on the road, and then lost in gut wrenching fashion in overtime. In the opening game of the series Colorado scored the game tying goal with just 0:14 left to play in the 3rd period before winning in overtime. However, the Wild can take solace in knowing they return home where they turned in two strong performances in Game 3 and 4 to even the series at the time. In those 2-games Minnesota outshot Colorado by a combined 77-38, and thoroughly dominated the territorial edge despite the deceiving 1-goal wins in each contest. Minnesota has gone 28-15 at home this season.

 

Colorado Cardiac Kids
For the 2nd time in this series the Avalanche has came back from the dead at home to pull out an improbable win. Saturday’s feat took on more of a magnitude since Colorado avoided having to back to Minnesota facing elimination. Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov has been brilliant in goal during this playoff series most especially in the last 3-games while posting a .954 save percentage. Nathan MacKinnon has proven why he was such a coveted young prospect by NHL scouts prior to last year’s NHL entry draft. All this 18-year old has done in this series is score 10-points in the first 5-games, including the game winning overtime goal in Game 5. Despite the road losses in Game 3 and 4 of this series, the Avalanche are still a very good 26-17 on the road this season.

 

Final Analysis
Colorado is very fortunate to be up in this series in what’s been less than dominating performances through 5-games. Minnesota has played very well on home ice this season, including a pair of stellar efforts in game 3 and 4 of this series. I look for the Wild to rebound from a heartbreaking Game 5 loss for our hockey picks.

Free Pick: Minnesota -140 over Colorado