NHL Playoff Betting Pick: Colorado Avalanche at San Jose Sharks Game 7

After Tuesday’s Game 7 between the Blues and Stars needed double overtime, how will the Sharks and Avalanche follow up on Wednesday? San Jose missed out on an opportunity to close out the series in six games, and now looks to hold off a young Colorado team in Game 7.

The Sharks were the only higher-seeded Western Conference team to get a win in their opening round series (San Jose def. Vegas 4-3), while the Avalanche are trying to continue pulling upsets after toppling the top-seeded Flames in Round 1 (Colorado def. Calgary 4-1). As the last Wild Card team left in the West, the Avalanche managed to beat the Sharks 4-3 in overtime in Game 6 to stave off elimination. San Jose’s Marc-Edouard Vlasic tied the game late in the third, but Gabriel Landeskog potted the game-winner in overtime to keep the Avs alive.

San Jose has been shorthanded for the entire series, as captain Joe Pavelski remains sidelined due to an injury he suffered in Game 7 of the Sharks’ series with Vegas. Pavelski led the team in goals in the regular season (38) and posted a total of four points in that first-round series against the Golden Knights. As of Wednesday morning, Pavelski was listed as a game-time decision for San Jose. The Sharks were not slated to hold a morning skate ahead of the 6:00 PM PT puck drop, so it will likely be very close to that point before anyone outside of the Sharks’ locker room knows whether or not Pavelski will play in Game 7.

And that could be a huge factor in how this game goes. The Avs are a solid young team with a great top line, while the Sharks are the much more experienced, grizzled veterans. If Pavelski plays, it should be San Jose’s night. If not, Colorado is a tempting underdog to take. Not knowing whether Pavelski will end up in the press box or on the ice Wednesday night, my gut takes the Sharks to win, but I’m not 100% sold on them.

When it comes to the spread, it’s tough in playoff hockey, much less in a Game 7, to say a team is DEFINITELY going to win by more than a single goal. In fact, in the four Game 7s played so far this postseason in the NHL, only Boston’s runaway win over Toronto even came in regulation, with Carolina/Washington (2OT), San Jose/Vegas (OT), and St. Louis/Dallas (2OT) all being decided by a single goal in extra time. So, for this game, I’m once again steering clear of the spread. That said, getting the Sharks at 2-to-1 odds to give up 1½ goals would be tempting if Pavelski ends up playing.

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Drew Goldfarb

Drew has been covering sports professionally since 2007, covering sports of all kinds in the ACC, SEC, Big 12 and Conference USA. In addition to covering college sports, he also spent two seasons working with the NHL's Florida Panthers as part of their TV broadcast team, as well as reporting and anchoring for AT&T SportsNet and FOX Sports affiliates, CBS Sports Network and ESPNU. Drew has also been active in Fantasy Sports since 2002.

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