Neither the Ducks nor the Flames will be taking part in the playoffs this season, but Anaheim has dominated this head to head series while Calgary figures to be flat after upsetting Vancouver last game. Take the Ducks Saturday.
Just because there are no playoff bound teams involved, it does not mean there is no value to be found on the NHL odds when the Anaheim Ducks (34-35-12 overall, 13-17-10 away) pay a visit to the Calgary Flames (36-29-16 overall, 22-12-6 home) in the season finale for both clubs Saturday from the Saddledome in Calgary, AB Canada at 4:00 ET.
The Flames are tied for second place in the Northwest Division with the Colorado Avalanche with 88 points, but those teams are well behind the division leading Vancouver Canucks, who with 109 points are tied with the New York Rangers in the race for the Presidents' Trophy, which goes to the team with the best record in the NHL.
It was the Canucks that officially eliminated Calgary from playoff contention last Saturday, but the Flames did get some revenge Thursday by upsetting Vancouver in a rematch here at home while giving a great effort in the spoilers’ role, as the Canucks were still locked in a battle with the St. Louis Blues for the top seed in the Western Conference at the time.
The Ducks are in last place in the Pacific Division, although their 80 points is more than the other last place teams in the conference more than any other last place team in the NHL except the Carolina Hurricanes (82). Anaheim snapped a three-game losing streak by beating the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 in overtime on the road on Thursday, a win that was accomplished with backup goaltender Jeff Deslauriers in net.
Anaheim has done well in the head-to-head series with Calgary as the Flames have won just once in regulation time in the last seven matchups. Starting goalie Jonas Miller is also expected to be back in net, making his 73rd start of the year. Miller’s extended days off should have him primed for a nice effort in the final game, and he has a 2.36 GAA in his career vs. the Flames.
We are generally partial to underdogs anyway when two non-contenders face each other, and we feel that they are enough added intangibles here to give the Ducks value as underdogs in this spot.
The current odds at Bookmaker Sportsbook have Anaheim as a +120 underdog for this contest.
Remember that the Flames had four days off between their two meetings with Vancouver this past week, so it is no surprise that they gave a huge effort on Thursday with the added motivation of revenge after the Canucks knocked them out of the playoffs in the first meeting. That may lead to a flat effort after just one day off today however, as Calgary really has nothing to play for here against a fellow also-ran.
As mentioned, the Ducks have done well vs. Calgary under normal circumstances, so we see no reason for the Flames to suddenly rise up here after having probably their last hurrah for this season vs. the Canucks.
Anaheim may also have nothing to play for as far as the standings go, but this could be the last game in the career of 41-year-old Teemu Selanne, who even at his advanced age leads the Ducks with 66 points this season. Thus, do not be surprised if the team tries to set Selanne up for a couple of scoring opportunities.
All things considered, backing the Ducks as an underdog in this spot seems like the prudent move as both teams end their seasons.
NHL Pick: Ducks +120