NHL – Colorado desperate to stop Avalanche of losses

After a strong start to the season, the Colorado Avalanche have lost their last four games and will do well to avoid a fifth-straight defeat, when they head north of the border to face the Jets on Saturday.

Jets itching for relaunch

It has been nearly a week since Winnipeg brought the curtain down on their two-game series with Florida in Finland, and word out of Manitoba is that they are climbing the walls to play again.

The Jets have made a steady start to the season, particularly at home where they have won five out of eight. However, last term’s Western Conference finalists have yet to take down any of this year’s heavy hitters, losing twice to Toronto and once to Nashville.

The visit of a Colorado side still scoring heaps of goals is a great chance for the Jets to kick-start their season. The Avalanche are the 2.50 outsiders with the wheels having fallen off recently, slipping from a 7-2-2 start to mid-table mediocrity in the Central standings.

The Avs’ losing run hasn’t been because of a lack of goals though, Nathan MacKinnon having netted 11, while Mikko Rantane leads the NHL in points on 24. With Jared Bednar’s men having hit six and five in losing efforts recently, over 6 total goals at 1.90 appeals.

Streaky Preds seeking more road joy in Dallas

No doubt about who has been the most impressive team of the season so far. The Nashville Predators have won 12 out of 15 this term and are the current 7.00 favourites to lift the Stanley Cup.

A large part of the Preds success has come on the road and they are currently 7-0 ahead of Saturday’s game at Dallas. This is the second game of a five-match Western Conference road swing which began with a dominant 4-1 win in Colorado.

Dallas are just five points behind in the Central Division though, thanks mainly to their strong form on home ice, taking down San Jose 4-3 on their return to the American Airlines Center after a mixed spell on the road. They got the better of the Preds on their last visit, but that is their sole victory in the last six meetings.

There was a sense of relief all round on Friday, when Tyler Seguin ended his 12-game goalless streak against the Sharks and Dallas will hope their main man is now back on track.

With victories over the Leafs, Jets and Capitals already, the Stars are not to be underestimated but Nashville should still get the job done at odds of 1.86.

Leafs unlikely to see flawless road record end

Two rivals in the Atlantic Division face off in the pick of Sunday’s game, when Toronto head to TD Garden to face Boston.

The Leafs have a perfect 6-0 road record and have shown they have the strength in depth to cope without Auston Matthews, who remains on the sidelines.

The Bruins lost for just the second time at home this season in a bad-tempered affair against the in-form Vancouver Canucks on Friday, the 8-5 scoreline raising serious questions over back-up net minder Jaroslav Halak.

Tuukka Rask will be back between the pipes on Sunday and that is not the only positive for the Bruins, with the other offensive lines having finally shown signs of life against the Canucks.

The top line of David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron have been too heavily relied upon, but they combined for just one of Boston’s five goals on Friday.

Whether the other lines can do enough to bounce back against the Leafs is a big question and Toronto appear generously priced at 2.20 to move to 7-0 on the road.