The San Jose Sharks pulled off a miracle in Game 7 to get past the Vegas Golden Knights and reach the second round, while the Colorado Avalanche easily dispatched the Calgary Flames in round 1. The two teams are set to square off in a second-round series with the series opener scheduled for Friday night in San Jose. The Sharks took all three games from the Avalanche during the regular season, and there is no doubt that Colorado will be looking for revenge.
San Jose ousted the Golden Knights in a wild seven-game series that included a questionable call in the final contest. The Sharks were a terrific team during the regular season, recording 101 points. Colorado was the final team in the playoff field in the Western Conference, but they didn’t look like it in round 1. The Avalanche won four straight games to knock off top-seeded Calgary in convincing fashion. The San Jose Sharks are -140 over the Colorado Avalanche in the series opener.
Sharks Have Plenty of Experience
The San Jose Sharks have been a perennial playoff team, and that experience helped them come back in their first-round series. Veteran Joe Thornton and Brent Burns combined for just eight points in the first round, but they know how to lead their team. Erik Karlsson tallied nine points in round one, while Tomas Hertl led the team with six goals. San Jose has plenty of scoring options on the roster.
The Sharks really struggled to find consistent goaltending in the first round, and this could be a problem moving forward. Martin Jones won all four games for the Sharks in round one but gave up 20 goals. Aaron Dell was sharp during the regular season, but he stopped just 86 percent of the shots that he faced. San Jose will need to get better efforts in net to win this series.
Avalanche Are Loaded With Talent
Colorado has been stockpiling young talent over the last few years, and that talent is starting to translate into playoff wins. The Avalanche were a top-10 scoring team during the regular season and had 17 goals in their four wins in the first round. Mikko Rantanen led the team with five goals and nine points in the first round, and young Nathan MacKinnon chipped in with five assists. The Avalanche want to score, and they have the talent to get it done.
Goaltender Philipp Grubauer might be a relative unknown in the NHL, but he was a star in the first-round upset. Grubauer stopped 94 percent of the shots that he faced against the Calgary Flames. The Avalanche like to take chances on offense, and they will need their goalie to be great if they are going to steal Game 1. Colorado gave up 2.98 goals per game during the regular season.
Sharks Take Series Opener
Both teams are bringing a ton of momentum into this series, but the Avalanche have had a much longer break. Time off is never a good thing heading into a playoff series, and that will hurt the Avalanche. Look for the Sharks to keep their offense rolling and take Game 1 of this best-of-seven series. Bet the San Jose Sharks -140 over the Avalanche in the series opener.