The Calgary Flames outlasted the Vancouver Canucks in Game 1, edging them by a margin of 2-1 thanks to a game-winning goal with 30 seconds remaining. We’ll see what these rivals have in store on the NHL betting lines for Friday’s Game 2.
The Calgary Flames Can Win Because…
Jonas Hiller stood on his head and he can do it again. The Flames are a very young team with minimal playoff experience, and you should consider this when looking at the NHL betting odds. Many of them are experiencing the postseason for the first time. However, the Flames have a veteran goaltender who has been here before and he helped them immensely in Game 1.
The Flames went down 1-0 in the second period and the Canucks had multiple chances to get insurance and a two-goal lead. However, they weren’t able to find a way through Hiller as he stood tall and kept his team in the game. After the Flames got their bearings, they ended up stealing the game with a pair of goals in the third period.
Calgary now knows the formula in this one and truth be told, they have room to improve. They took more penalties in this game, they got minimal offense from their big guns and yet they still found a way to win.
The Canucks have not won at home for seven straight playoff games and 10 of their last 11 at home. Take the Flames with your NHL picks as there isn’t a great home-ice advantage here.
The Vancouver Canucks Can Win Because…
Their backs are against the wall for this one. The Canucks simply can’t afford to go back to Calgary down 2-0, so expect them to play with a different level of urgency.
While it’s true that Calgary stifled the Canucks in Game 1, don’t expect that to continue. They have dominated this series at home, winning seven of the last nine meetings. And even with Calgary’s win in Game 1, the Canucks have won 11 of the last 15 meetings overall.
Vancouver only pressed the issue for 40 minutes on Wednesday and it’s clear that it cost them. They had just four shots in the second period and even parts of the other two, they took off. If they show up for 60 minutes and take it to the young Flames, it’s hard to see them losing.
The Canucks have an interesting decision to make here as they started Eddie Lack in Game 1 but they might want to go with the experience of Ryan Miller for Game 2. Even if he didn’t look great against the Edmonton Oilers in the regular season finale (his first game back after a prolonged injury recovery), the Canucks may be looking for some type of spark.
Regardless, look for Game 2 to be far more open and free-flowing. The two goaltenders stood on their heads in Game 1 but I’ll go back to the over for Game 2. We should see a lot more pep in the Canucks step and I expect them to get at least two goals behind Hiller in this one.
NHL Pick: Over at The Greek