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Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Colorado Avalanche - 10/21/13

Colorado Avalanche (7-1-0) at Pittsburgh Penguins (7-1-0)
Date & Time Monday October 21, 2013, 7:30 PM (EDT)
The Line
The Line: Pittsburgh Penguins -163 / Colorado Avalanche +148 --- Over/Under: 5.5
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Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Avalanche head into Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins in a battle between two of the league’s best teams in the early going.

Colorado has surprised everyone with how well they have played thus far, and while some had them pegged to be better than last season no one thought they would race out with seven straight wins and be among the league’s best teams through the first three weeks. The Avs have been very solid in the offensive zone and while that was never a problem it is great to see the young stars pulling their weight and really demonstrating their value. The problem for the Avs over the past couple of seasons has been their blue line and net minding but that has taken a huge leap forward under the guidance of Patrick Roy and against a Pens team that is as good as they come offensively they will have to be out in full force tonight. JS Giguere, who was brilliant in his season debut, gets the nod for the Avs here against Marc-Andre Fleury of the Penguins.

Pittsburgh has been what everyone expected them to be through the first portion of the schedule and a lot of that success has largely to do with how well Sidney Crosby is playing as he leads the league right now in points with 14 through seven games. The Pens are among the league’s best and will surely be in the running once again for the President’s Trophy but they’ll need to get James Neal healthy who hurt his oblique’s in an on ice incident in the preseason that was paying homage to the Pirates making the postseason. The Penguins head into tonight’s action atop the Metropolitan division and have won four in a row making them heavy favourites against the Avs which sort of throws us for a loop here as Colorado should be getting a little more respect. Nonetheless I think the play here is on the Penguins as Crosby get his first look at fellow Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia native and first overall pick Nathan MacKinnon in what should be a very intriguing matchup between the two stars. I look for the Pens and the more experienced group to come out and make a statement against an up and coming team that still need some maturation.

Pittsburgh Penguins -1.5
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