Free NHL Picks: Bet Flames To Take The Win At Home vs. Canucks

Dana Lane

Friday, February 19, 2016 7:58 PM GMT

You don't say this much for the Calgary Flames but this is a very winnable game against the Vancouver Canucks who are one of the bottom five teams in the National Hockey League. 

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NHL Pick: Flames -146
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

 

Canucks vs. Flames
Not too many teams are playing worse than the Canucks who are 3-6-1 in their last ten games and have lost three straight. The problem with Vancouver is there is a huge dropoff in talent after the Sedin twins and I'm not sure they would be stars in many other markets. I have always been a big fan of putting my money on teams that can control the puck, get it in deep, and win those nose over puck battles in the corners.  This all starts with a quality face off man which the Cancuks have none of.  Of the top nine players on the roster to have taken a faceoff, not won of them have won more than they've lost. That means they are losing the time of possesion battle.  That also means their power play, ranked 26th, and their penalty kill, ranked 14th, will suffer. Daniel Sedin, the teams leader in scoring, only win 29% of his faceoffs.  

The Flames have averaged 3.5 goals over their last six games while the Canucks are still lifeless averaging just 1.8 goals per game over their last eight games.  This happens when there is a lack of execution and crispness to the Canucks game. This is one of the signs of a team calling it quits for the year.

The Flames received news Thursday that goaltender, Karri Ramo, will be out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL so it's up to Jonas Hiller to carry the load. Hiller has bad numbers (8-7-1, 3.27 Goals Against, .886 save percentage) but I've always been a fan of his demeanor. He has incredible lateral movement which is hard to come by when you're 6'2. The increased playing time may do him some good.

Jacon Markstrom (9-6-4, 2.45 goals against, .921 save percentage) is the listed goaltender for Vancouver after Ryan Miller gave up seven goals in his last two games despite 61 saves. Markstrom dropped his last decision to Minnesota, Monday, after allowing five goals on 34 shots.  He has the tendency to get rattled too easy. Loses his positioning in net too often.

Miller is listed as the starter on some sites but we'll know for sure by who's off first at morning skate. Either way it doesn't effect my opinion. 

The Flames have won four of the last five meetings including two of three this season. 

Calgary has a tremendous record against teams who have a winning percentage below .400 winning 21 of their last 29 games which sets up well for playing the Flames because Vancouver is 20-43 in their last 63 games against teams with a winning home record. 

Sometimes a line can give you an indication of the way the bookmakers would like you to go.  At around -150, this line is clearly asking you to take the Canucks hoping you'll bite on the perceived mayhem happening in Calgary with the Dennis Wideman appeal continuing and the recent suspensions.  It's right on the brink of what we normally like to lay but Calgary is the right side. We're backing Calgary with our NHL picks in this one, where they are favorites in the NHL odds boards.