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Free Pick Breakdown, Odds & Prediction: Avalanche vs. Rangers (10/25/2022)

By Michael Savio
October 25, 2022
Photo by: NHL.com

Colorado Avalanche vs. New York Rangers (10/25 @ 8:00 PM)

Puck Line: Rangers -1.5 (+215)
Money Line: Avalanche -105 / Rangers -115
Total: 6.5

Overview and Betting History

The reigning Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche (3-2-1) will visit the big apple tonight for a highly anticipated matchup with the New York Rangers (3-2-1). A win tonight for Rangers would tie the overall series, which the Avs currently lead after winning both of their matchups last season.

The Rangers are 2-2 at home, while the Avs are 2-1 on the road. New York is 2-3 against the spread over their last five games, hitting the under three times. Colorado is 2-3 against the spread over their last five games, hitting the over three times.

Both teams have gone over in each of their last two games.

Colorado Avalanche

The Avs are coming off a championship season and were favored to repeat this season. They’ve yet to look the part early, as the number of new faces and some critical injuries have this team still trying to gel. They won big in Vegas on Saturday, which was needed after dropping back-to-back games at home to Winnipeg and Seattle.

The offense features one of the top players in the league, Nathan MacKinnon. He and Valeri Nichushkin (team-high 11 points) have combined for nine goals and seven assists. It’s an incredible start for the duo, but this offense has some issues they still need to resolve.

The loss of Nazem Kadri has left a glaring hole in the second line. The team hoped for JT Compher (1 point) or Alex Newhook (0 points) to fill that second-line center spot, but they’ve both failed to generate offense. They’ve been bailed out nine times this year, with a power play unit scoring 53% of the time. They’ve had some of their blueliners step up, but they need to get that second unit fixed quickly.

The defensive unit has played well despite roster turnover in the offseason. The Avs lost significant contributors with Jack Johnson, Ryan Murray, and goalie Darcy Kuemper. Those departures hurt, but they managed to hold on to top blueliners Cale Makar (6 assists) and Devon Toews (3 assists). Toews did pick up an injury and is considered day-to-day, and his status for tonight is unknown.

If Toews is out again, they’ll rely on a big game from new goalie Alexander Georgiev. He’s off to a decent start, going 3-0-1 and saving 90% of shots. There were big questions about Georgiev being able to replace Darcy Kuemper, and tonight’s performance could go a long way in answering them.

New York Rangers

The Rangers are expected to compete for the top seed in the east, but they’ve had a rough run of late. They sit at 3-2-1 and come in with back-to-back losses to bad teams, including getting blown out by Columbus last week. There is no doubt that New York has the talent, but they are young, and the immaturity has shown through so far. They come in tonight desperate to get back in the win column.

The offense has been led by stellar starts from Artemi Panarun (12 points) and Mika Zibanejad (8 points). Chris Kreider and new-addition Vincent Trocheck have supported them, providing the Rangers with many seasoned goal scorers.

Despite the strong start from the vets, New York isn’t getting production from its younger talent, including 2019 second-overall selection Kaapo Kakko (2 points) and 2020 top pick Alexis Lafreniere (3 points). The Rangers were banking on both of them being ready for more prominent roles in their top two lines, but so far, it hasn’t looked to be the case.

The defense is young but packed with potential. Adam Fox already has six points and leads a talented defense that includes Jacob Trouba, K’Andre Miller, and Ryan Lindgren. They’ve been sporadic, but they’ve played well against top competition like Tampa Bay and Minnesota.

In games that all-star goalie Igor Shesterkin, the Rangers are 3-0-1 and only allow 2.75 goals per game. He’s arguably the best at his position in the league, and his presence is a safety net for this young defense. Colorado will present a formidable challenge with MacKinnon and Nichushkin, but the lack of depth at the center may give Igor and this defense the edge.

Free Pick: Under 6.5

We are looking forward to watching what should be a great battle between two teams desperate for momentum. Both teams struggle with scoring depth as good as their top lines are. The Rangers have only scored more than two goals once in their last four games, while the Avs have not gone over three goals in their previous three games.

With Shesterkin and Georgiev in goal, we expect a low-scoring brawl. We’re taking the under in this one.

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