The things are slowly heating up in the NHL, and after the first two weeks, there’s only one team left unbeaten. The Colorado Avalanche has won all five games thus far, and Jared Bednar’s boys will try to extend their streak when they visit the 4-2 Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night.
The Buffalo Sabres are another pleasant surprise, opening the season with five wins and only one loss. The Sabres visit the 4-2 Anaheim Ducks, so let’s see what can we expect from those teams tonight.
Colorado Avalanche at Pittsburgh Penguins
Colorado is coming off an excellent 6-3 victory at the Washington Capitals this past Monday. The Avalanche scored four goals in the 1st period, while six different players found the net at Capital One Arena.
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It was Colorado’s first outing on the road this season. The Avs will be on the road for their next five games, and it will be interesting to see how they will cope with pressure. Colorado is on a five-game winning streak away from home, and the Avs have won 12 of their previous 16 contests on the road.
Winger Mikko Rantanen is leading the way for the Avalanche with four goals and five assists. Center Nathan MacKinnon added six assists and a couple of goals, while defenseman Cale Makar also has six assists. Colorado is 2nd in the NHL in goals per game (4.40) and 7th in goals against (2.40).
On the other side, the Pittsburgh Penguins are riding a three-game winning streak following a 7-2 victory at the Winnipeg Jets. The Penguins scored seven goals for the second game in a row after thrashing off the Wild 7-4 in Minnesota.
The Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan cannot count on six players including forwards Evgeni Malkin and Alex Galchenyuk. Center Sidney Crosby is a key player for the Penguins so far, scoring three goals along with seven assists, while goalie Matt Murray has a 2.82 GAA and a .911 save percentage.
Pittsburgh is 2-2 at home this season and 4-8 in its last 12 outings at PPG Paints Arena. Likewise, the Penguins lost five of their last six home meetings with the Western Conference. They’ve been poor at home lately, but the Penguins will be keen to hand the Avalanche their first loss of the season.
The Penguins are 10-6 in their last 16 meetings with the Avalanche and 6-4 in the previous ten encounters in Pittsburgh. The over is 5-2-1 in the last eight duels between Pittsburgh and Colorado.
Buffalo Sabres at Anaheim Ducks
After finishing the previous season with a 33-39-10 record, the Buffalo Sabres are off to a flying start this term. Their lone loss came at Columbus in overtime, while the Sabres are on a three-game winning streak and topping the Eastern Conference one point ahead of Boston.
Buffalo is 4th in the league in goals per game (4.00) and 5th in goals against (2.17). The Sabres’ goalies are 5th in the NHL with a .931 save percentage. Winger Victor Olofsson scored five goals, while defenseman Rasmus Dahlin added seven assists.
However, the Sabres have been terrible on the road lately. They lost 15 of their previous 17 contests away from home and seven of their last eight road encounters with the Western Conference.
On the other side, the Anaheim Ducks opened the season with three straight wins. Over their last three outings, the Ducks lost at Pittsburgh 2-1 and Boston 4-2 while beating Columbus 2-1 on the road. Anaheim won five consecutive games on the home ice and three straight home meetings with the Eastern Conference.
The Ducks are 27th in the NHL in goals per game (2.17) and tied-2nd in goals against (1.67). Likewise, their goalies are tied-2nd in the league with a .944 save percentage. Interestingly, none of the Ducks’ skaters scored more than a couple of goals, while the under is 5-1 in Anaheim’s six games this season.
When it comes to head-to-head duels, the Ducks lost four of their previous five meetings with the Sabres including the previous two in Anaheim. The under has hit in six of the previous nine encounters between Anaheim and Buffalo.
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