Flames vs. Canucks NHL Picks: Best ML Odds to Play as Pacific Division Rivals Meet

Swinging Johnson

Sunday, October 11, 2015 1:32 PM GMT

Tonight Calgary & Vancouver play the back end of a home-and-home series with the Canucks skating back to Rogers Arena with a 5-1 win in hand but should we choose them in our NHL picks?

 

Sedin Boys Do It Again
The Canucks' top line of Daniel and Henrik Sedin coupled with converted winger Brandon Sutter did all the heavy lifting as the trio accounted for three of Vancouver's five goals in the team's 5-1 victorious season debut in Calgary. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this is the fact that 26-year-old Brandon Sutter, acquired from Pittsburgh in the offseason for Nick Bonino and Adam Clendening as well as an exchange of draft picks, was moved from his natural center position to winger in the last preseason contest and joined the Sedin brothers on the top line for the opener.

The results speak for themselves and this auspicious start could be the beginning of something special in Vancouver. Vancouver was still stinging over the Western Conference quarterfinal Game 6 loss to the Flames and felt they needed something or someone to inject electricity into the offense. They may very well have found it in Brandon Sutter and based on his postgame remarks he appears to be right at home in his new position with his new linemates,

"Hank and Daniel are pretty smart guys, so we can read off each other and to be honest, it's been a little easier than I expected in terms of the positioning of it," Sutter said. "They're so intelligent out there, easy to read, they're always in the right spot, so that makes it easier for me and for anyone that plays with them."

 

Ramo Out Hiller In
Karri Ramo got the hook after the Flames lost 5-1 in front of their own fans Wednesday night. Head coach Bob Hartley is already causing a goaltending controversy by installing Jonas Hiller as the team's starter in Vancouver. Hartley has three netminders on the roster and has stated that if you win then you keep playing. Not much room for error and hardly the best strategy to keep goalies sharp if they are to be shuttled in and out depending upon not only their performance but those in front of them.

In addition to goaltender's going from the penthouse to the outhouse depending upon the whims of head coach Hartley expect to see Mason Raymond in the lineup on Saturday night after he sat in the opener. Raymond still has two years left on a big money pact he signed yet was put on waivers in the offseason by Calgary but nobody would pick up the $3.15 million price tag. As an unclaimed free agent he is now back in a Calgary uniform and hopes to earn his way back into the lineup. That journey reportedly will start Saturday night at the Rogers Arena.

 

NHL Picks
The NHL betting odds makers had the wrong favorite last night and those who are educated about Vancouver's regular season domination of Calgary looked at that +115 return as a gift. And I have to be honest it is the same way I am looking at the relatively short price the offshore sportsbooks have hung on the Canucks as home favorites which makes me more than inclined to go back to the same well.

You see the regular season stats are compelling and they overwhelmingly favor the Canucks. Let's take a look at those that make me want to back Vancouver in my NHL picks for Saturday night.

-Vancouver is 6-2 (+2.6 Units) against the spread versus Calgary over the last three seasons in games played in Vancouver.
-Calgary is 2-6-4 in its last 12 games in Vancouver and has been outscored 34-18 during that stretch.
-Since arriving in Vancouver goalie Ryan Miller has a .924 save percentage versus the Flames.
-The Canucks have won 10 of the last 12 regular season meetings between the two teams.

NHL Pick: Play the Canucks -138 at Heritage.

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