The Colorado Avalanche may have lost their last time out, but they've looked like the better team entering Monday's Game 4 against the Arizona Coyotes.
It took a spectacular performance from Coyotes netminder Darcy Kuemper to keep tonight's tilt from being a potential sweep for Colorado. A 4-2 victory keeps Arizona in striking distance, yet the Avs still can take a commanding 3-1 series lead.
In abe Insights' preview, you'll find strong analysis for the major betting lines, the best odds available upon publication, stats to know and more regarding this Western Conference quarterfinals duel.
Date: Monday, August 17
Time: 5:30 p.m. ET
Implied Probabilities: Avalanche 64%; Coyotes 38%
Spread: COL -1.5 (+155); ARI +1.5 (-165)
Moneyline: COL -180; ARI +160
The Avs had a dizzying number of injuries during the 2019-20 campaign. Many suspected they'd be super dangerous with a healthier lineup once the NHL resumed action. Those suspicions have proven correct, as Colorado has played some of the best hockey among all teams in the playoffs.
Arizona nevertheless has an edge in one of the most vital areas: between the pipes. Kuemper is superior to his probable Game 4 counterpart Philipp Grubauer, although it may not matter if the favorites continue dominating puck possession as much as they have.
72.39 vs. 46.37: Per MoneyPuck.com, these are the number of shots allowed per 60 minutes when the two teams are in 5-on-5 situations during the playoffs (counting blocked shots). You can probably guess the Avs give up far fewer shots than the 'Yotes.
20.0 vs. 9.5: Special teams haven't helped Arizona any during the playoffs, either. The first number is Colorado's power play success rate, followed by that of the underdogs. This is where the Coyotes must try to manufacture offense and support Kuemper.
.850 vs. .815: The Avs and 'Yotes respectively ranked 18th and 22nd in point percentage after leading through two periods. One would presume Colorado is better suited to close out with many key players returning for the postseason, but these adversaries seem more comfortable playing from behind late.
So, how long can Kuemper hold up against a relentless, forechecking onslaught from the Avs? Arizona blocked a whopping 27 shots in Game 3, yet still forced Kuemper to make 49 saves. Despite how finesse and precise Colorado can be, its attack isn't shy about throwing the puck on net and seeing what happens.
The last two goals for the Coyotes came in the final two minutes of the last contest, so they were largely reliant on Kuemper throughout. Goalies can bail out teams and even lift them to playoff heights otherwise unfathomable, but to win this series against the deep Avalanche, Arizona simply has to do more offensively.
Easier said than done, of course, because MVP finalist Nathan MacKinnon now has so many more weapons at his disposal than he did down the stretch of the regular season. Phenom defenseman Cale Makar has recorded an assist in each game versus Arizona, and MacKinnon is among six Avs with at least two postseason goals.
With such balance and depth at their disposal, the Snowy A will likely continue sending a flurry of shots Kuemper's way. The biggest hopes for Arizona's offense are 22-year-old center Clayton Keller making his playoff debut, and co-points leader Taylor Hall, who arrived from New Jersey in a December trade.
It's going to take a phenomenal defensive effort, some luck and, likely, at least one power play goal for the Coyotes to upset the Avs a second straight time. With all those factors in mind, expect action to skew toward the Avalanche spread and moneyline.
That said, Kuemper can single-handedly keep Arizona competitive, so hedging with the Coyotes' puck line wouldn't be a bad play. Given the sheer volume of shots he's bound to face, though, sportsbooks are bound to take more action on the Over.
Note: Odds current as of 11:05 a.m. ET on Monday, August 17.
Back to top