NHL Puckline: Colorado Avalanche Plays Anaheim Ducks Free Pick
Will Avs’ First Line Be Stooped Tonight?
The Colorado Avalanche (9-6-4) come in to Anaheim on November 18 at 8 p.m. E.T. for a clash with the Ducks (8-9-4). The Ducks currently hold a 3-4-3 record in their last ten games while the Avs are 3-5-2. Our Avalanche plays Anaheim free pick looks at how we believe a matchup between these two teams currently struggling will unfold.
We are considering goaltending, both offenses, and the almost unstoppable first line of the Colorado Avalanche. Can the Ducks shut down the Avalanche top line tonight? Here’s how this game should play out.
The Avalanche will start Philipp Grubauer for a second straight game despite his early season struggles. He currently holds a 3.46 GAA and a .893 save percentage in six games played and is coming off of a 3-2 loss to his former team, the Washington Capitals. He made 26 saves on 29 shots in the losing effort.
Grubauer will face off against John Gibson who has been stellar through the early part of the season, despite Anaheim allowing the second most shots against. He is a major reason why the team who has averaged the most scoring chances against, are 10th in goals against. The edge in net definitely goes to the Ducks, although Gibson will have a tough night playing against the NHL’s second highest scoring offense.
The Avs’ Top Line Continues to be Dominant
The Avs’ top line of Nathan MacKinnon (12-14-26), Mikko Rantanen (7-22-29), and Gabriel Landeskog (12-8-20) has been dominant this season. Among all NHL players, Rantanen and MacKinnon are currently first and third in scoring, and Landeskog is tied for sixth in goals.
They were held pointless in their last game against Washington, but it is hard to see all three of them being held off the scoresheet for a second straight game. The Avs’ first line has yet to have all three members of their top unit held scoreless for two games in a row, so it looks likely that Gibson will have a difficult night, especially with the Ducks missing their best defenseman, Cam Fowler, to injury.
Will Anaheim’s Lackluster offense get going against Grubauer?
The Ducks have only averaged 1.73 goals per game this season, the second worst rate in the NHL. This hasn’t changed recently either, with the club scoring 18 goals in their last 10 contests. They haven’t had much luck scoring against struggling netminders either. Despite Grubauer’s rough start this year, the Ducks offense looks likely to have trouble putting the puck in the back of the net against an Avs’ team that has allowed the sixth-least scoring chances against per game.
Avalanche Plays Ducks Free Pick
Both Colorado and Anaheim have hit a rough patch recently, struggling over their last ten games. We believe the x-factor in this game will be the dominance of the Avs’ top line. They will get their chances against a Ducks team that has allowed the most scoring chances and is missing a key defensive piece in Cam Fowler. Despite Grubauer’s struggles this year, Anaheim’s offense has struggled just as much.