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The Golden Knights, who last played a week ago, will host the Avalanche on Wednesday for a matchup between two of the league's best teams. NHL handicapper Jason Yamaguchi offers his best bet for the game.

Colorado Avalanche vs. Vegas Golden Knights Prediction: Expect the Avs to Return to Winning Ways

Following a glorious Tuesday night slate that saw nine NHL games take place, only four are scheduled for Wednesday. That being said, seven of the eight teams in play are currently holding down playoff spots—it should be a great night of games. The final matchup of the night features two of the premier teams in the Western Conference. Here is my pick for this clash between a couple of the league's best squads.

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Colorado Avalanche vs. Vegas Golden Knights Prediction

The Colorado Avalanche (34-9-4) are coming off of a tough, 4-1 loss to the Stars on Tuesday night. This result is not indicative of how the game played out—the Avalanche dominated for long stretches, and probably deserved to win outright. Before that loss, they had gained at least a point in a whopping 19 straight games (17-0-2). At present, Colorado is playing like the league's best team.

The Golden Knights (28-17-3) have hit a rough patch as of late. They've lost eight of their last 14, including a 6-0 blowout loss to the Flames in their last outing. Vegas has also been hit with a slew of injuries—Mark Stone, Alec Martinez, and Zach Whitecloud are some notable players who will miss Wednesday's game. However, help is on the way. Star center Jack Eichel is expected to make his Golden Knights debut against the Avalanche, his first game since undergoing neck surgery. It remains to be seen whether or not he will offer the same production that he did pre-injury.

Another injury that will affect Vegas's chances here is that of starting goaltender Robin Lehner, who will miss the game due to an upper-body injury. In his place will likely be Laurent Brossoit, whose 4.2 goals saved above expected trail Lehner's mark of 7.2 GSAx. At the other end, Darcy Kuemper will get the nod for Colorado. He has been excellent lately—his 12.9 goals saved above expected are the 10th most in the NHL. The advantage in net leans Colorado's way.

At even strength, the Avalanche have been a marginally better team than the Golden Knights this season. Colorado has an expected goals share of 53.35%, which ranks eighth in the NHL and leads Vegas's share of 51.04% by five spots in the rankings. The two teams are reasonably close in terms of special teams, although the Avalanche do have a better penalty kill by xGA/60 (7.69 vs 8.43, where the lower number is better). The Avs also have a better power play—they have converted on 24.4% of their chances, while the Knights have scored on just 19.5% of theirs. Therefore, Colorado has a slightly better chance of success on the power play, which is another edge in their favor.

The one thing working against the Avalanche is that they played at home Tuesday night, meaning they had to fly out to Vegas overnight. That lack of rest may hurt them, although they've won their last two games on the second leg of a back-to-back. It's a factor worth taking into account, but I still like Colorado at this price. They have proven that they are the better team, and they are also healthier. Bet them on the moneyline down to -115.

Colorado Avalanche vs Vegas Golden Knights Line Movement

Colorado Avalanche vs Vegas Golden Knights Pick

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Article Author


Jason Yamaguchi is an avid New York sports fan. He has a proven record of providing +EV bets by combining traditional handicapping tactics with advanced statistics. You can follow him on Twitter @TopMoneyPicks to view all of his bets, including NFL, NHL, and MLB picks.


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