Sunday POWER-SMASH ~ *INSANE* 82-46-1 Run! 17-7 This Week!
Colorado vs. Anaheim,
04/01/2018 21:00 EDT,
Score: 3 - 4
Money Line: -153 Anaheim
8* Anaheim (9:05 ET): This is a HUGE game in the Western Conference playoff picture. The way things stand now is that both Anaheim and Colorado would be Wild Card teams were the regular season to end today. It doesn't though and both teams desperately could use the two points here. The Ducks just won another huge home game on Friday, beating the Kings 2-1 in overtime. That gives them 93 points, keeping them one back of LA and one ahead of Colorado. Both teams got a major break last night when St. Louis (who also has 92 pts) was blown out (6-0!) in Arizona. But even off a win themselves (5-0 over Chicago) their last time out, the Avs are in no position to be rejoicing. That's because top goaltender Semyon Varlamov (lower-body injury) has been lost for the remainder of the regular season, which could end up costing them a playoff berth.
Varlamov was in the midst of turning in a stellar effort vs. Chicago, stopping all 30 shots he'd faced, when he was skated into late in the game. Let's also point out that was a home game for the Avs. A big reason they have improved so much after last season's 48-point disaster has been their strong play at the Pepsi Center where they've gone 27-12-1 SU this year. On the road, they're only 15-17-6 SU. Three of their final four games are away from home as tonight marks the beginning of the dreaded three-game California trip (will play at LA and San Jose next). They then close things out w/ what sets up as a possible "play-in" game vs. St. Louis, which is at home.
Anaheim is also a strong home team as their record here at the Honda Center is 23-10-5 SU. They were 7-1 at home in March. There's a lot to like about this Ducks' team, namely that they are 4th in goals allowed. Goalie John Gibson has been the driving force behind that. Since the All-Star Break, he's gone 14-4-2 and leads the league in goals against average (1.93) w/ a top three save percentage as well (.938). Three of Colorado's five goals Friday came via the power play, but I would expect no such thing to take place here as Anaheim is 4th in penalty killing. With Varlamov out, Colorado's goaltending situation is a lot less fluid as backup Jonathan Bernier has been battling his own injury issues, which include a concussion and an infected cut that landed him in the hospital. There's a chance the Avs may have to turn to Andrew Hammond, who has started all of one game this season. That's unfortunate given the stakes and regardless of who is between the pipes for them tonight, I see Colorado coming out on the losing end. 8* Anaheim