NHL Betting Preview (Feb. 20): Avalanche vs. Canucks Odds

Two of the National Hockey League’s most star-studded teams face off on Tuesday night when the Vancouver Canucks head to Denver to take on the Colorado Avalanche. The Canucks are looking to bounce back from a jarring loss on Monday, while the Avs look to snap a slump. This is a game that has the potential to be among the fastest and most skilled we see all season, so the attention of the league veers towards Ball Arena ahead of puck drop.

Bet on Canucks vs. Avalanche

VAN +125
COL -150

The Canucks are slight underdogs going into this game, coming in at +125 on the moneyline at bet365.

Canucks vs. Avalanche odds

Canucks Moneyline Odds+125
Avalanche Moneyline Odds-150
Puckline OddsCanucks +1.5 (-205), Avalanche -1.5 (+170)
Total6.5 goals (over -120, under +100)
Time/DateFeb. 20, 9:00 p.m. ET
TVBroadcast: Sportsnet Pacific
Stream: Sportsnet+
(How to watch the NHL in Canada?)

All odds courtesy of

About the Canucks (37-14-6 SU, 36-21 ATS, 33-21-3 o/u)

The Canucks have had an unbelievable year compared to expectations, cruising past the set bar of “hopefully be near the wild card” and finding themselves in the Presidents’ Trophy hunt with 25 games to go. Their best players have been lights-out almost all season, and Rick Tocchet has shifted his roster into a more competitive direction, with a bit of world-class finishing mixed in.

With that said, they enter this game licking some wounds, just a day removed from one of the worst defensive periods in franchise history. Vancouver spent Monday in Minnesota, and until late in the second period, it felt like it was going to be another easy night, having taken the lead three minutes into the first period and putting themselves up 5-2 by the 39-minute mark.

But three penalties in two minutes to close the middle frame caught up to them. First in the dying seconds of the period, as Mats Zuccarello made it 5-3, but more so in the third. Joel Eriksson Ek scored just 29 seconds into the second to bring the game within one, J.T Miller added to their penalty trouble in the next shift, and then the Wild scored two more power-play goals in the next minute. The bleeding continued, eventually spiralling into the Canucks conceding six goals in six game minutes, bringing the score to 8-5 Minnesota. A late push pulled the game back to 8-7, but two empty-netters capped off a late afternoon to forget.

About the Avalanche (34-18-4 SU, 26-30 ATS, 34-20-2 o/u)

On the other side, the 2022 Stanley Cup champions hope to get themselves back into the mix at the top, though things of late have been a bit underwhelming. Colorado started the season red-hot and losing streaks have been rare for them since opening night, but since February 5th, the team has won just two of seven, far below their typical standard.

Leading the way this year is Nathan MacKinnon, who had the most productive season of his career in 2022/23 and looks ready to set the standard even further this year, already putting together a blistering 33 goals and 58 assists in 56 games, putting him three points behind Nikita Kucherov for first in the league. MacKinnon, who has been a three-time MVP finalist and came fifth in voting last year, has his best chance yet to put a Hart Trophy in his trophy case.

It’s not just his show, though. Cale Makar remains one of, if not the league’s top defenceman, with Devon Toews standing next to him to complete the league’s pair-to-beat. Mikko Rantanen continues to be a scoring threat, and several other fun players complement the rest of the lineup. Colorado recently added Zach Parise to the mix, and while his start has been slow (two points in seven games), it’ll be interesting to see how the 39-year-old fares when he catches up to the mid-season pace.

Last Matchup

Vancouver and Colorado have played each other once this year, facing off in Denver on November 22nd. That night belonged to the Avalanche, who briefly fell behind in the first period thanks to a Nils Hoglander ice-breaker, but tied the game up and then pulled ahead within two minutes. J.T. Miller pulled Vancouver back equal in the second, but a three-goal third period for Colorado carried them the rest of the way home.

Projected Lineups

Today’s Vancouver Canucks LinesToday’s Colorado Avalanche Lines
Nils Hoglander – Elias Pettersson – Elias Lindholm
Pius Suter – J.T. Miller – Brock Boeser
Ilya Mikheyev – Teddy Bleuger – Conor Garland
Phil Di Giuseppe – Nils Aman – Sam Lafferty

Quinn Hughes – Filip Hronek
Ian Cole – Tyler Myers
Nikita Zadorov – Noah Juulsen

Starting In Goal
Thatcher Demko
30-10-1, 2.45 GAA, 0.918 SV%
Jonathan Drouin – Nathan MacKinnon – Mikko Rantanen
Miles Wood – Ross Colton – Artturi Lehkonen
Zach Parise – Ryan Johansen – Joel Kiviranta
Frederik Olofsson – Chris Wagner – Andrew Cogliano

Devon Toews – Cale Makar
Samuel Girard – Josh Manson
Jack Johnson – Bowen Byram

Starting In Goal
Alexandar Georgiev
29-13-3, 2.94 GAA, 0.897 SV%

This is a brand-name matchup if we’ve ever seen one. Both teams are littered with All-Stars both past and present, with Vancouver contributing Pettersson, Lindholm, Miller, Boeser, Hughes, and Demko this year, and Colorado contributing MacKinnon, Makar, and Georgiev. Neither team is running at 100% capacity, but the capacity they do have makes it hard to look away from any given shift.

Elias Pettersson (VAN) over 2.5 shots on goal


Key Injuries

For the Avs, they’re most imminently missing Logan O’Connor with a lower-body injury. He’s day-to-day. After him, Valeri Nichushkin is currently in the NHL Player Assistance program, entering last month. Gabriel Landeskog continues his very long-term recovery from a knee injury, having not played since October 2022, but is skating at Colorado’s practice rink. Pavel Francouz is also out for the season.

On Vancouver’s end, Dakota Joshua is week-to-week with a hand injury suffered last week, as is Carson Soucy with a very similar injury.

  • The Avalanche have won six of the last 10 games between the two teams, dating back to February 2019. More recently, they’ve won the last two, with Vancouver taking the three before that. The puckline is split at 5-5, giving a slight edge to the Canucks as the usual underdog.
  • Colorado are scorching in their own rink, sitting at 9-1 in their last 10 home games. They’re 6-4 on the puckline in that stretch. Looking at the overall trend in a recently road-heavy schedule, it’s less dominant, with a 5-5 record in their last 10 and four wins on the puckline.
  • Vancouver’s recent run of form is in a similar spot. They’re also 5-5 straight-up in their last 10 games and 3-7 on the puckline.
  • The Canucks aren’t putting up the video-game numbers they started the year with, but their stars are still producing. Elias Pettersson has a very healthy 12 points (4G 8A) in his last 10 games. J.T. Miller has 11 (6G 5A), as does Quinn Hughes (0G 11A). Brock Boeser wraps up the point-per-game crowd with 10 (4G 6A), and I have to shout out Pius Suter, who has nine of his 22 points on the year in the last 10 games.
  • The Nathan MacKinnon show remains at full steam of late, as the megastar has 18 points (9G 9A) in his last 10 games, including a whopping 50 shots on goal. Mikko Rantanen (5G 7A) and Ross Colton (2G 8A) have also had productive runs in that 10-game stretch.
  • Colorado’s blue line has been a bit quieter than usual. Cale Makar has “only” seven points and 36 shots in the Avs’ last 10 games, and Devon Toews only has two goals and an assist in that stretch.

Wagers To Consider

  • The smart play here would be to take the Avalanche, given that they’re hot at home and aren’t on the second half of a road back-to-back like Vancouver is. It might even be worth considering the puckline here, as a 17-goal game probably isn’t the best for Vancouver’s legs either.
  • If you’re really confident about the Avs, a same-game parlay featuring a Colorado win, 2+ assists for Cale Makar, and a goal for Nathan MacKinnon sits at +700, up from +600.
  • On the flip side, Vancouver knows that this is the sort of game that’s worth emptying the tank for to send a message that they won’t roll over again like they did yesterday. A lot of their stars have shot props at a pretty low 2.5, as they tend to spread the load out, but I’d particularly look to Pettersson and Miller (both +100) as options to clear that line and pull their team back into the fight.

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