After a typical opening day in the NHL Playoffs, we have three more first-round games. We dive into two home favorites that look like sure bets to win.
Both these Western Conference clubs shut it down to close the season, but prior to that, both were playing good hockey. Even Colorado fans had given up on the Avalanche, but thanks to no team in the conference in the wild card chase stepping up, Colorado won eight of 10 to secure the last spot in the West and is back in the playoffs.
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The Avs are here thanks to arguably the top line in the NHL right now in Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog, who really dominated all season long in 5 on 5 hockey. Also, backup goalie, Philipp Grubauer (from the Capitals last season), went 8-1-2 down the stretch and gave up more than two goals just once in those 11 starts. Colorado lost three of four to Calgary and is +165 road underdog to start the series.
After officially clinching the Pacific and top seed in the West, Calgary rested players in losing their last two games. Prior to that the Flames were on fire (sorry, our apologies, hate to pass those moments up) in winning nine of 12 and looked like a domineering squad again.