Avalanche favourites against Stars to open NHL second round

Colorado Avalanche goalie Philipp Grubauer (31) and Nikita Zadorov (16) celebrate the win over the Arizona Coyotes during NHL Western Conference Stanley Cup playoff action. (Jason Franson/CP)

The second round of the NHL playoffs gets underway on Saturday night as the Colorado Avalanche take on the Dallas Stars in Game 1 of their Western Conference clash as -175 favourites on the NHL odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Colorado punched its ticket to the second round of the playoffs with a pair of 7-1 victories to close out its first-round series, and has now posted wins in six of eight postseason contests going into Saturday’s matchup at Rogers Place.

Nathan MacKinnon has led the Avalanche attack, scoring 10 points in the series against Arizona including a four-point performance in Wednesday’s series-clinching win. Nazem Kadri has also been a steady contributor, potting a team-high six goals so far in the playoffs, including three game winners.

The Avalanche have received solid goaltending from the tandem of Philipp Grubauer and Pavel Francouz, who have combined to allow just 13 total goals through the club’s eight playoff games. While the UNDER regularly paid out down the stretch in the regular season and into the postseason, the Avalanche’s recent offensive outburst has powered a current 3-0 run for the OVER on the totals at betting sites.

Colorado’s impressive first-round performance has also bolstered its position as -250 favourites to knock off Dallas on the NHL playoff series prices. However, the Avalanche have work to do to overcome recent struggles against the Stars, who won all four head-to-head matchups during the regular season.

Set as +155 underdogs for Saturday’s contest, the Stars look to build on their comeback in the first round. Dallas won the final three games in its first-round series with Calgary to get past the Flames in six games, capped by a stunning 7-3 come-from-behind victory in Game 6.

The Stars scored five or more goals on three occasions against Calgary. That is a welcome turnaround after the team averaged just 1.56 goals per game during the 1-6-2 run they endured immediately preceding the first round. But despite their newfound offensive touch, and recent success against Colorado, the Stars lag as +210 underdogs on the NHL playoff series prices, and as a +900 wager on the Stanley Cup odds.

Two other second-round matchups get underway on Sunday. Fresh off their series win over the St. Louis Blues, the Vancouver Canucks enter Game 1 of their matchup with the Vegas Golden Knights as +160 underdogs, while the Tampa Bay Lightning sit as a -110 pick’em for Game 1 of their set with the Boston Bruins. The Philadelphia Flyers are then -125 favourites for Game 1 of their series with the New York Islanders, which gets started on Monday night.

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