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Avalanche Become Stanley Cup Favorites at +800 Odds, Then Lose Captain Landeskog Indefinitely

Gabriel Landeskog during warmup
Gabriel Landeskog is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury. Photo by Lisa Gansky.
  • Colorado’s big three of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog is down to just a big one
  • Landeskog joined Rantanen on the injury list yesterday with an LBI and is out indefinitely
  • The bad news came immediately after Colorado’s Stanley Cup odds shortened to a league-best +800

Everything was going according to plan for the Colorado Avalanche. Fresh off its first playoff series win in over 10 years, the team exploded out of the gate, winning five straight to start the year.

But then the dreaded injury bug bit hard, and two of the team’s top playmakers, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog, are now on the shelf.

Sportsbooks didn’t think the Rantanen injury was too much to handle as Colorado moved to an average +800 in the 2020 Stanley Cup odds as of Tuesday. Those were the best odds in the entire league – at the time.

2020 Stanley Cup Odds

Team Stanley Cup Odds
Colorado Avalanche +750
Vegas Golden Knights +785
Tampa Bay Lightning +800
Boston Bruins +800
Toronto Maple Leafs +1000
Washington Capitals +1400
St. Louis Blues +1500
Carolina Hurricanes +1600
Nashville Predators +1600
Florida Panthers +2000

Odds taken Oct. 30.

However, their status as favorites was short-lived. After the Landeskog injury, they have dropped to an average  +850, behind both Tampa (+750) and Vegas (+775).

Overcoming Adversity

Everything seemed to be going according to plan for the Avalanche to start the season. They jumped out to a 7-0-1 start to take control of the Central Division, while Nathan MacKinnon was riding high in the scoring race.

But then the team rolled into St. Louis. Not only did it suffer its first regulation loss, but it also lost forward Mikko Rantanen to a lower-body injury which has him listed as week-to-week.

On Tuesday, the team announced that captain Gabriel Landeskog will be out indefinitely with a lower-body injury of his own, while forward Colin Wilson will also not play against the Florida Panthers on Wednesday.

Depth Will Be Tested

While Nathan MacKinnon will continue to do his thing offensively – he’s currently on an 11-game point streak to being the season – Rantanen is still the team’s second-leading scorer with 12 points.

The Avalanche will need scoring from elsewhere in its lineup to continue to stay atop the Central Division, where the Nashville Predators are breathing down their necks, with both teams tied at 17 points.

Head coach Jared Bednar will be looking to his second unit of Andre Burakovsky, Joonas Donskoi and Nazem Kadri to step up offensively. Currently that unit has 23 points between them, although Bednar has been using it in a defensive role at times too.

Defense Wins Championships

There aren’t many teams that can roll into Las Vegas and only give up one goal, but that’s exactly what Colorado did last Friday in a 6-1 statement win.

But Colorado has thrived against some of the league’s better teams, going 4-1-1 against the Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals and the Golden Knights so far.

Part of that record can be attributed to the team’s defensive ability. Its 30 goals-against at this point has it tied for the fifth-best mark in that category, and should be a strong indicator of the team’s ability to get by without some its top offensive stars.

Division Dogfight

Unfortunately for Colorado, being in the Central Division means being in one of the toughest divisions in the NHL. It means going up against the defending Stanley Cup-champion St. Louis Blues, alongside two other Western Conference contenders in the Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets.

It bodes well that the Avalanche could get out in front in this race before being hit with its first bout of injuries, but it will need to maintain its current .773 point percentage, behind that of only Boston (.833).

It bodes well that the Avalanche could get out in front in this race before being hit with its first bout of injuries, but it will need to maintain its current .773 point percentage, behind that of only Boston (.833).

St. Louis still seems to be suffering somewhat from a championship hangover and has yet to hit the heights that propelled it to the Stanley Cup last June, but that purple patch of form is likely to be coming sooner than later.

Meanwhile, Nashville has shown itself to be a decent bet to go far into the playoffs too, particularly at home where it has a 6-1-1 record so far.

Pick: Despite injuries, Colorado remains a more than decent bet to win the Stanley Cup at +750

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