Goaltender Pavel Francouz has struggled to overcome bad bounces and little defensive support while leading the Colorado Avalanche to defeat in the first two games of their second round series with the Dallas Stars.
Photo by @worldhockeyrpt (twitter)
- The Colorado Avalanche Now Lag as +240 underdogs after falling down 2-0 to the Dallas Stars
- Colorado opened as -195 favorites to advance to the Western Conference Finals
- Can the Avs get back into the series? See the odds and advice on how to bet below
The Colorado Avalanche saw a 2-0 second-period lead quickly evaporate on their way to a stunning 5-2 loss to the Dallas Stars in Game 2 of their second round playoff series.
Now trailing 2-0 in the series, the Avalanche suddenly find themselves in the unfamiliar role of lengthy underdogs, sporting +240 odds of coming back to knock off the Stars.
Dallas Stars vs Colorado Avalanche Odds to Win Series
Odds taken August 25th
Avalanche Again Plagued By Injuries
Despite being plagued by a rash of injuries, the Avalanche entered the postseason on a roll, posting wins in nine of their final 12 regular season contests.
After nearly earning the top seed, they followed up round robin play with a decisive first round series win over the Arizona Coyotes in five games.
Here’s another look at the Grubauer injury .. appears to be groin. Francouz now in net. #GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/2MWgUcggdo
— Here’s Your Replay ⬇️ (@TheReplayGuy) August 23, 2020
With injuries once again emerging as a concern, Colorado has sputtered out of the gate against the Stars.
After outscoring the Coyotes by a wide 22-8 margin in the first round, the Avalanche have struggled to keep pace against Dallas without the services of Philipp Grubauer. The netminder is sidelined indefinitely with an apparent groin injury, leaving crease duties to Pavel Francouz who has struggled in the postseason.
Francouz Victimized By Bad Bounces, Little Support
Francouz has been between the pipes for each of Colorado’s past three losses, and struggled badly in the club’s Game 2 loss, allowing four goals on just 26 shots. The 30-year-old cannot be held entirely accountable for Monday’s loss though.
ALEXANDER RADULOV GOAL OF THE PLAYOFFS CONTENDER #DALvsCOL pic.twitter.com/47mAgR7XRM
— Spoked Z (@SpokedZ) August 25, 2020
The Stars took full advantage of their power play opportunities, potting a pair of goals just 43 seconds apart to tie the game, and a lucky bounce off Alex Radulov’s chest and over Francouz’ head gave the Stars the lead.
Francouz was once again left alone on the Stars’ controversial fourth goal that put the game out of reach.
Stars Have Colorado’s Number
But the Avalanche’s struggles against Dallas are nothing new. With Monday’s victory, the Stars have now earned the win in seven of their past nine meetings with Colorado, and have held the vaunted Avalanche offense to just two goals per game over that stretch.
Anton Khudobin is 5-0 in his last 5 games with a 2.49 GAA and .929 save percentage. He is playing like an elite goalie and deserves to be treated as such. He is a brick wall in the net and one of the best goalies in the NHL. #GoStars pic.twitter.com/ulanxcdCGd
— Sportshub (@Sportshub214) August 25, 2020
While injured defenceman Erik Johnson’s absence has further complicated the Avalanche’s efforts to contain the Stars’ physical attack, Dallas has been getting spectacular goaltending out of Anton Khudobin, who has taken over crease duties in place of injured starter Ben Bishop.
Khudobin has settled down considerably since getting rocked in a 4-0 loss to Colorado in the Western Conference round robin. The 34-year-old veteran has led the Stars to five straight victories while making 36 or more saves in three of those contests.
2020 Stanley Cup Odds Tracker
Where’s the Secondary Scoring?
-195 favorites entering the series, the Avalanche are now saddled with the task of cooling off a hot goaltender while rediscovering their scoring touch at even strength.
Both of Colorado’s goals in Game 2 came with the man advantage, giving the club a league-best 13 power play markers so far in the postseason. They have tallied just seven total goals at even strength over their past three contests.
DAL vs COL: After 20….
Shots – MacKinnon 7, Dallas 6
Goals – MacKinnon 1, Dallas 0.
— Mike Kelly (@MikeKellyNHL) August 25, 2020
The Avalanche are also getting decisively outmuscled by the Stars, particularly in Game 2, when Dallas outhit them by a wide 60-29 margin. A lack of secondary scoring has suddenly emerged as a concern for Colorado, with players not named MacKinnon or Rantanen accounting for just three of the club’s past nine goals.
Despite Series Deficit, Avs Worth a Value Bet
It is tough to count Colorado out of this series just yet. Despite all their injuries, the Avalanche have lost three in a row just once since January.
While the Stars have enjoyed the lucky bounces so far in the series, it remains to be seen how long they can hold off the offensive onslaught by Colorado, who have averaged almost 37 shots per game so far in these playoffs.
It is a rare opportunity when a team as talented as the Avalanche sport such long odds, and they are now worth consideration as the longshot wager of the second round.
Pick: Avalanche (+240)
Daniel has been writing about sports and sports betting for over 23 years. The seasoned pro has contributed to the likes of Sports Illustrated, Sportsnet, NESN, Bleacher Report, OddsShark, the Globe and Mail, and The Nation magazine.