Four games into the NHL season, the Colorado Avalanche have been a machine that nobody has seemed to be able to stop.
With big wins against the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, Seattle Kraken and Chicago Blackhawks, the Avalanche are unbeaten heading into Saturday night’s clash with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Mikko Rantanen, perhaps one of the NHL’s most underrated players, has led the way so far, scoring three goals and seven points.
His seven points are tied for third in the league.
Colorado’s superstar duo of Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar are tied for second on the team in points with four.
Tomas Tatar joined Colorado’s star forward duo of MacKinnon and Rantanen on the top line in Thursday’s win over the Blackhawks and immediately found success, picking up two assists.
“Good. I think it was the right time for me to get a chance there. I enjoyed it a lot,” Tatar said when asked how it was like playing on that line.
“They’re great players. It’s fun to be on the ice with them. I feel like I’m starting to find my legs as the games go on. Unfortunately, I missed a good chunk of camp (for Visa reasons), and now I get to start to feel better. Get to live in a little bit with the system, and focus on playing hockey instead of thinking about what’s our system.”
But this Avalanche team filled to the brim with talented scorers have been winning games a different way this season: with excellent goaltending.
Alexandar Georgiev has been lights out for Colorado, standing at 4-0-0 with a .965 save percentage, a 0.98 goals-against average and a shutout.
Georgiev has allowed more than one goal in a game once this season, and that was in a 5-2 win against the Kings.
He has been cash money this season, just like these casino gambling games.
“He had a great year last year, in a year when you’re not sure what to expect,” coach Jared Bednar said after Thursday’s win.
”I think he’s excited, and knows that this is his job, and he’s taken a lot of ownership. He wants the net. Highly competitive guy, which is what we want in the net.”
With a balanced attack with talent up and down the lineup, the Avalanche are a good bet to win on any given night.
According to NHL betting sites, Colorado is favored to beat the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night.
The Avalanche are -142 to win outright and are +168 to cover the 1.5-goal spread.
This isn’t a pushover Hurricanes team they are favored to beat either.
Coming off an appearance in the Eastern Conference finals last year, Carolina is a good team once again.
The Hurricanes currently sit in second in the Metropolitan Division through five games with a 3-2-0 record.
Like the Avalanche, they have a deep forward core complimented by a sturdy defense and quality goaltending.
On a roster full of stars and quality scorers, Seth Jarvis has stepped up and been Carolina’s best player so far this season.
The 21-year-old Winnipeg native has four goals and six points in five games so far for Carolina.
Defenseman Brady Skjei is tied for the team lead in points, adding five assists on the year.
The Hurricanes’ balanced attack runs deep, with 12 players having at least three points with six of them having at least five.
Perhaps the biggest area of concern at the moment for Carolina is something that has previously been an area of strength for them: goaltending.
All three of Carolina’s goaltenders have struggled to start the season.
Frederik Andersen is 2-0-0 in three starts but has a .855 save percentage and a 4.14 goals-against average after allowing one goal on two shots in San Jose on Tuesday.
Antti Raanta has made three appearances, one in relief, and is 1-1-0 with a .818 save percentage and a 4.41 goals-against average.
Young goalie Pyotr Kochetkov has made one relief appearance since getting called up from the AHL and is 0-1-0 with a .882 save percentage and a 3.27 goals-against average.
If Colorado’s offense is firing on all cylinders, the over might be an easy bet.
As things stand, Saturday night’s game has an over/under of 6.5, with the over having +110 odds to hit.
The under has -134 odds to hit, which is very much in play no matter how much the Avalanche score with how good Georgiev has been.
Rantanen is a good bet to score on Saturday, holding +125 anytime goal-scorer odds and +900 first goal scorer odds.
He has +800 odds to score two or more goals against the Hurricanes.
Jarvis, Carolina’s leading goal-scorer, has +270 odds to score at any time and +1800 odds to score first.
Parlaying Rantanen to score twice, Jarvis to score at any time and Tatar (+550) to score at any time could be a good bet.
MacKinnon is also always a good bet to score, sitting at +110 odds.