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Calgary vs. Vancouver, 10:00 ET
It was one of those games yesterday where I felt like I had the correct side, but I ultimately lost the game. The Rangers played well enough to win, but ultimately fell short in a game that only saw three goals. I think I mentioned this in yesterday’s article, but coming close doesn’t mean anything. The closing line value rarely means anything. The only thing that means something is a victory. Have to get back on track here today.
The Flames have been one of the more inconsistent teams in the league – they have spurts of very good play and then spurts where they look bad. Perhaps that is why they sit in fifth of the Pacific division currently. It is unlikely they make the playoffs, but they still have a chance to end the season on a strong note. They have had a nice little stretch off here with no game since the 28th and that should give them fresh legs in one of their last games of the year. Over their past five games, they have improved and are sitting with a nice 3-2 record over those games. They do seem to be playing better defense since an 8-2 drubbing on the 20th. Since that game, they have allowed no more than three goals in any of the past four games. Tonight, I expect them to put Jacob Markstrom in the net. He is allowing nearly three goals per game. He faced Vancouver in both games they’ve played this season and he allowed three goals in the loss and two in the win.
The Canucks sit directly behind the Flames in the standings and aren’t showing much signs that make me think they will be able to move up in the standings before the end of the year. At just 34-34-6 on the season, they are an average team at best. They also haven’t taken advantage of home ice. Over the season they have 18 losses in regulation and one in overtime against 17 wins. Something needs to change for the Canucks before next season to strengthen the chances of vaulting into playoff contention. I expect them to have Thatcher Demko minding the net tonight and he’s been one of the worse goalies on the year. His goals against average per game is 3.32 – which is 40th in the league. He allowed six goals in his last game, but before that, he allowed two or fewer in three of the previous four. So, consistency isn’t something you’re getting out of him.
Out of these two teams, I think the Flames are just better. They are at the cusp of what I want to bet -135 so I’ll take them on the lighter NHL slate that we are given today. I do think that we could see the total go over the 6.5 as well as neither team is particularly great at stopping opponents from scoring so I may split a unit on both plays or play the moneyline and sprinkle on the total.
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