Since the season started, the Colorado Avalanche have been the favorite.
And at every point the Avalanche have delivered. Despite injuries and two COVID-19 protocols that forced game postponements, Colorado won the West Division and the Presidents’ Trophy (awarded to the team with the best regular-season-record).
But the Stanley Cup Playoffs are a different beast.
On top of talent, teams need some luck.
At least in the first round of the march to the Stanley Cup, the Avalanche showed yet again why they’re the favorite. They swept the St. Louis Blues and won each game by at least three goals. Colorado is the first team to win its first four games by at least three goals since the 1994 New York Rangers, who won the Stanley Cup.
Since last Sunday, the Avs have been resting up and waiting to see who they’ll play in the second round.
Perhaps it’s a good thing Colorado will have had a week off before it plays again since its opponent is really, really good. Yes, the Las Vegas Golden Knights had to go seven games with the Minnesota Wild, but the Golden Knights will be an incredibly tough matchup.
Can the Avs get lucky in Las Vegas?
Game One of the series is set for 6 p.m. MT on Sunday at Ball Arena.
Golden Knights vs Avalanche odds
For those betting on the Avalanche, it’s no surprise they’re the series favorite over Las Vegas. Colorado was impressive in the first round. Plus, the Avs have home-ice advantage.
On that front, Colorado is allowed to increase capacity to 10,500 fans.
Given where we were at this time a year ago, there was not betting on the NHL in Colorado since the sport shutdown play, expect an even louder and raucous crowd than usual.
On top of being the favorite for the series, the Avs are also the favorite for Game One.
As for the regular season, Colorado split the eight games with the Golden Knights. Both teams got four wins, though Las Vegas got one win in overtime. For those betting on this series, keep that in mind. It shows how evenly matched these two teams are.
For as good as these two teams are, it’s kind of a shame we get it in the second round. These were the two best teams in the NHL this season.
Heading into the final game of the regular season, the Avs needed a win over the Los Angeles Kings to get the Presidents’ Trophy from Las Vegas. Both teams finished with 82 points, but Colorado had more wins in regulation.
This series should determine who advances to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Alas, there’s no need to cry over spilled milk, especially considering we didn’t have Stanley Cup betting in Colorado last year.
Even if the Avalanche hadn’t swept St. Louis and had some time off, they would be the favorite against Las Vegas. Perhaps it helps that the Golden Knights just completed a tough seven-game series but they also have confidence now. And with how well Vegas played in Game Seven?
Colorado will need every ounce of the offensive and defensive depth it possesses. It will need Philipp Grubauer to match Robin Lehner in nets. The fact Lehner will start Game One is somewhat of a surprise since Marc-André Fleury played the entire seven-game series against the Wild. Though both are remarkable goalies and the thought for Vegas might be that Lehner is fresh. Unless Fleury is injured, and given how the NHL is with injuries, we won’t know until after the series is over.
All of that is to say, for as good as the Avs were in the first round, they’ll need to be even better for this series.
Can the Avalanche keep rolling?
Since the start of the season, Colorado has been the Colorado online sports betting favorite.
At every turn it has delivered. As the Avs continue the march to their third Stanley Cup, and first in 20 years, the next challenge has presented itself.
In the words of former NHL goalie and current broadcaster Darren Pang, holy jumpin’ are we in for a treat from these two teams.