Devils vs. Avalanche Wednesday NHL injury report, odds: Timo Meier, Cale Makar both out in potential Stanley Cup Finals preview
It's a potential Stanley Cup Finals preview Wednesday in Denver when the New Jersey Devils visit the defending Cup champion Colorado Avalanche. The injury news is a bit disappointing for both sides. The Avs are only -115 favorites at Caesars Sportsbook despite riding a six-game winning streak and having arguably the best home-ice advantage in the league. That Devils-Avalanche is the eventual matchup in the Cup Finals is +2700 at FanDuel.
With all due respect to former Hart Trophy winner Patrick Kane, who landed with the Rangers, arguably the player to change teams ahead of Friday's trade deadline has been Timo Meier, whom the Devils acquired from the San Jose Sharks. There were some other pieces involved for both sides, but the big asset San Jose got was Colorado's first-round draft pick this year.
Meier is just 26 and had 31 goals and 52 points for the Sharks, so why deal him? They are in a major rebuild and Meier is set for restricted free agency with a $10 million qualifying offer this offseason. He hasn't played since Feb. 19 due to an upper-body injury and will not debut with his new club yet.
The Devils were rebuilding themselves as recently as last season but are second in the Metropolitan Division with 83 points and locks to make the playoffs for the first time since 2018. No team has been better on the road than New Jersey, which is 21-4-3 away.
Since the All-Star break, the Devils are 7-2-1 for 15 points, which is tied for fourth in the NHL. In that same time, the Avalanche are 7-1-2 for 16 points to lead the NHL -- tied with Minnesota and Boston.
Rather amazingly, Colorado has scored a goal on its first shot of the game in each of the last three outings. Star Nathan MacKinnon has an eight-game points streak (8G, 8A) and has scored at least one goal in the past four. He has points in 11 consecutive home games, recording 19 points in those (8G,11A) outings. MacKinnon is the -150 favorite tonight as an anytime goal scorer and -260 to have at least one assist.
Reigning Norris Trophy winner Cale Makar was in a regular jersey at this morning's skate, which had social media buzzing he could be set to return from a concussion that has kept him out since Feb. 18. Yet Colorado has ruled him out again. Makar has 13 goals, 32 assists and a plus-6 rating in 46 games and averages a whopping 26:56 of ice time.
One reason this moneyline is lower than expected is because the Avs are starting third-stringer Justus Annunen in net. Annunen stopped 19 of 20 shots in his only other appearance this season, a win over the Blues on Feb. 18. No. 1 Alexandar Georgiev simply was due for a night off and No. 2 Pavel Francouz is injured.
Colorado lost in New Jersey on Oct. 28, 1-0. Jack Hughes had the lone goal. Francouz and Vitek Vanecek were in net and it should be Vanecek tonight as well for the Devils.
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