The team to solve the Colorado Avalanche riddle will almost certainly not be their opponent on Friday and Sunday with the Avs heading to Southern California to take on the pitiful Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center.
For all of the positives going for Colorado right now, you can pretty much apply the opposite of that to this current 2021 campaign for the Ducks.
These matchups between the top team and the worst team in the NHL’s Western Division could prove to be an intriguing clash on which to put a little action and make an NHL prediction. A multi-goal spread for the dominant Avs against the hapless Ducks here could prove a fruitful option.
The Avs have been winning a ton of games—23 to be exact, tied for second in the league—but they have also been putting beatdowns on their opponents as well. Through their first 35 games the Avs already boasted a goal differential of a whopping +47, nearly 10 more than the next closest team. Safe to say that opposing benches have yet to figure out what to do with the potent Colorado offense, which might be the hottest in the league right now.
Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, and company were unable to push through to the Stanley Cup Finals last season despite being the favorite to win it all by a lot of pundits, but this year they look even better. They entered the crucial month of April leading the West Division and tied atop the NHL as a whole with 50 points.
To be fair, they didn’t come into this season with very high expectations in Anaheim for this hockey team, with many pundits viewing them as one of the worst teams before the season even got underway. Safe to say, a lot of people have had their Ducks taken vindicated already this season.
At the start of the month of April the Ducks had won just 11 games, worst in the NHL aside from the Buffalo Sabres, who don’t even seem to be trying at this point. The Sabres and Senators are the only teams to play worse goal differentials than Anaheim’s -40 through April Fool’s Day.
With the way their season is going and the situation in America that continues to rage on, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Ducks really pack it in down the stretch here. A strategy like that would certainly lend one to believe that they’re not going to put up much of a fight against a goal-scoring juggernaut like the Avalanche, whose 127 goals were the most through April 1st.
The Ducks, for their part, were tied for third-least goals allowed through that same period, with 123, which is the same number as Buffalo. Being tied with the Sabres in anything this season would have to be disheartening for any other team to see, especially it’s netminders and blue-liners. And it’s not like Anaheim has the cream of the crop or anything close to it at either of those crucial positions either.
With one team intent on earning the President’s Trophy and Lord Stanley’s after that and their opponent already turning one if not two eyes towards next season and the long-term future, we wouldn’t expect this weekend’s West Coast clashes between Avalanche and Duck to amount to much fireworks. Well, unless you’re an Avs fan, in which case you’re likely to see your team lighting the lamp early and often.