Tooth and Nail Series
The Avalanche will host the Wild on Saturday night at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado with the opening face-off slated for 9:35 PM ET. This will be Game 5 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals between these teams with the series tied at 2-2. According to NHL betting odds, Colorado is a -140 money line home favorite and the posted total is 5.0. The home team has won each of the first 4-games in this series.
Defensive Lockdown by Wild
The Minnesota Wild returned home down 2-0 in the series and was in dire need of not only a win, but something to turn the tide of momentum in this series. They certainly accomplished that in Games 3 and 4 at the Excel Energy center in Saint Paul. Minnesota won Game 3 in dramatic fashion 1-0 in overtime despite clearly being the better team throughout the entire game. Then, the Wild evened the series up in Game 4 with a 2-1 win on Thursday. The Wild outshot the Avalanche in the 2 games by a combined 78-33. Minnesota also received a boost of confidence with the insertion of Darcy Kuemper in goal for Game 3 who replaced Ilya Bryzgalov who started in the first 2 games of the series. Bryzgalov surrendered 8 goals and had a horrible .822 save percentage in just 5 periods of action. Since entering the series in the 3rd period of Game 3, Kuemper has turned away 46 of 47 shots for an excellent .979. Minnesota has gone 17-26 this season on the road, and in order to win this series has to figure out how to win at least 1 game at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
Needing to Recapture the Momentum
The Colorado Avalanche returns home and desperately need an infusion of momentum to regain control of the series. Although the Avalanche still maintains home ice advantage, and are coming off a pair of narrow 1 goal losses, they relinquished a huge territorial advantage to Minnesota in the last 2 games. Colorado has also been outshot in the series by a combined 143-93, and needs to address the issue of failing to create any kind of sustained offensive pressure which has been especially apparent in the last 2 games. The Avalanche were beneficiaries of some shaky goaltending from the Wild’s Ilya Bryzgalov in the first 2 games, but have yet to be able to figure out how to get the best of his replacement Darcy Kuemper. On a positive note, the Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov was absolutely terrific in the 2 games at Minnesota in stopping 75 of 78 shots for a superb .962 save percentage.
NHL Betting System
When a team that is coming off 2 straight 1-goal wins goes against an opponent coming off 2 straight games in which there were a combined 3 goals or less scored in each contest, and 58 of those 84 games (69%) go 'under' the total during the last 18 seasons, choosing 'under' for your NHL pick is the best option.
Free NHL Pick: Minnesota/Colorado to go 'under' the total of 5.0