If you look at their Win-Loss record and place in the standings, you’d think it’s been a bit of a disappointing season for the Colorado Avalanche.
The defending Stanley Cup champions were the consensus favorite to lift the cup again in 2022-23, but currently sit in third place in the Central Division and fifth in the Western Conference.
That seems underwhelming for a team that was the consensus favorite on opening night, but there’s much more to this story than Colorado‘s record.
The Avs have dealt with a comically long list of injuries, and just when it looked like they were getting healthy, someone would get hurt.
On Monday night, Arturri Lehkonen went down with a broken finger, joining Josh Manson, Erik Johnson, Pavel Francouz, and Darren Helm on the sidelines.
Colorado is an underdog in Toronto on Wednesday night.
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Avalanche vs. Maple Leafs prediction
(7 p.m. ET., ESPN+)
The Maple Leafs are in a bit of an interesting spot right now. Toronto is comfortably in a playoff spot but has no chance of catching Boston to win the division.
Thus, the Leafs have known for quite some time that they’re headed for a rematch with the Tampa Bay Lightning in Round 1 of the postseason.
That quirk has taken some of the luster out of Toronto’s stretch run, but that doesn’t excuse the Leafs for being rather pedestrian of late.
Toronto is 6-4 in its last 10 contests, and some cracks are showing defensively.
The Leafs are built to outclass opponents offensively, but the team had some sparkling defensive numbers through the first half of the season.
That seems to have changed lately, as only five teams in the league have allowed more high-danger scoring chances than Toronto at 5-on-5 over its last 10 contests.
Colorado’s offensive output is down from last season, and that’s to be expected with all the injuries, but the team is still dangerous going forward.
They should give the Leafs plenty to handle with their team speed and ability to rush the puck up the ice.
Where Colorado hasn’t really stepped back from last year is its defensive prowess.
The Avs allowed 2.83 goals per contest in 2021-22 and are basically on that pace again this campaign with a 2.80 GAA.
Colorado’s defensive form has been pretty strong of late, as they rank seventh in the circuit in expected goals against over their last 10 contests.
The market seems a bit down on Colorado after the Lehkonen injury, but this is nothing new to the Avs this season and they should be able to take advantage of a Toronto defense that is struggling right now.
Back the Avalanche — who are 10-3-2 in their last 15 — to get the job done on Wednesday night.
Avalanche vs. Maple Leafs pick
Avalanche +120 (BetMGM)
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