NHL Picks: Detroit To Come Victorious Over Tired Avalanche

Doug Upstone

Friday, February 12, 2016 2:29 PM UTC

Friday, Feb. 12, 2016 2:29 PM UTC

Colorado and Detroit were bitter rivals in the Western Conference just before and after the turn of the century. The rivalry resumes with favorable NHL odds for the home team.

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NHL Pick: Detroit -160
Best Line Offered: at Heritage


From 1996 to 2002, these two clubs won five of the seven Stanley Cups in that period. Though both squads have fallen off from those glory days, for the fans and players of that era, it will always be a special time. The hatred is no longer the same with Detroit back in the Eastern Conference and the head to head competition now less frequent, but in Joe Louis Arena this evening, a lot of long time season ticket holders still have no use for Colorado.

Here is breakdown of the matchup and the NHL odds have Detroit at -155 with total of 5.


Colorado Looks to Bust Out of Slump
For the most part, Colorado's nickname, the Avalanche seems about right this season. Colorado has been fighting an uphill battle all season. The Avs started the season 3-8 SU and have keep working to reach or surpass .500 and every time they do, they end up going backwards. The latest is losing four of six to send record to 28-29 SU, with a combination of mediocre defense or lack of scoring or both.

Coach Patrick Roy has done his best to maintain calm, but the fact remains despite the changes to improve the defense, it has not helped enough, which is why they are 23rd in goals allowed at 2.8. With the game more specialized these day, if you expect to win you need to take advantage of power plays and kill penalties and Colorado has been weak on the latter. The Avalanche are also 23rd when a man down at 78.9 percent.

Offensively, the Avs are 12th in scoring with Matt Duchene, Nathan MacKinnon and Carl Soderberg leading the way, but for the most part, they are not getting enough scoring from wingers when they have the chances.


Detroit Tries to Extend Winning Streak
With three consecutive victories, the Red Wings have moved into second place and are within six points of front-running Florida in the Atlantic Division. This is the not the Detroit team of 10-20 years ago who developed All-Stars at nearly every position and had reliable third and fourth line players who were not only better players than the opposition, but they worked harder.

New coach Jeff Blashill walked into a ticklish situation, knowing the Red Wings lacked the talent to truly compete for the Stanley Cup, but still had unwavering winning culture.

After a sluggish start, Blashill and his players got on the same page and the identity of this team became defensive. Always known as puck possession club, Blashill stressed quality of shots not volume and for the first third of the season, it was hard to recognize Detroit in the bottom five of attempts. However, as everyone has become more comfortable with different approach, the shots and scoring has improved and the Wings have averaged 3.1 goals a game in their last eight outings compared to 2.5 on the season.

As mentioned the strength is on defense, ranked ninth in goals allowed with netminder Petr Mrazek first in goals-against at 1.94 and save percentage at .934.


What to Watch For and Winner
The teams road/home records this season generally reflect the recent past between these clubs. Colorado is 16-12 SU away from the Rockies, while Detroit is just 14-15 at The Joe and the visiting team has won five in a row.

It should be noted that both of the Avalanche's victories have come in OT, otherwise, they have not beaten the Red Wings once in regulation play in seven contests. Colorado looks to be at a disadvantage, having won in Ottawa 3-1 last night and is 22-54 when playing without rest. Detroit on the other hand has taken 16 of 21 with one day off and with the Avs below average power play, Wings penalty killers have snuffed out 15 of last 17 chances. Thus for NHL picks, I will circle Detroit as the winner and look forward to next matchup on the 27th this month when they have outdoor Stadium Series game at Colorado.

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