NHL Picks: Flames vs. Canucks

David Schwab

Saturday, February 9, 2013 12:32 PM GMT

Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013 12:32 PM GMT

It will be an All-Canadian ‘North of the Border’ battle for our hockey picks in the Northwest Division this Saturday night when the Calgary Flames and the Vancouver Canucks clash at Rogers Arena.

NHL Game Preview and Pick

The game is slated to get underway at 7 p.m. (PT) and it will be available on NHL Center Ice.

Year-to-Date NHL Record: 12-3-2

Flames Overview

After posting just one win in its first six games, the Flames have strung together back-to-back victories over Detroit and Columbus on the road to raise their record to 3-3-1 on the year. They earned a much needed two points with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Blue Jackets this past Thursday night as -111 road favorites on the NHL odds boards and the total has now gone OVER in three of their last five games.

Calgary has continued to generate some solid offense with eight goals in its last two games. It is now ranked ninth in the NHL in scoring with an average of three goals a game. It has also been very effective on the power play; converting on 26.5 percent of its chances. Alex Tanguay has led the way with four goals and five assists. The problem has been on the other end of the ice with a goals-against-average of 3.3. Look for Leland Irving to possibly get the start in goal after looking sharp in his time between the pipes so far.

Canucks Overview

Vancouver has shaken off a slow start with four-straight victories that have it back on top in the Northwest Division with 14 points as a result of an overall record of 6-2-2. The Canucks have outscored their opponents 12-4 during this four-game run which is a solid turnaround from their first six games when they were outscored 18-16.

The usual suspects have risen to the occasion over the past few games. Overall, Zack Kassian has tallied five goals with Daniel Sedin and Alexander Edler leading the team with eight points each. The Canucks scoring efforts run deep with 13 players posting at least one goal so far. The main reason for the improved play has been goalie Roberto Luongo’s ability to quickly return to form after a shaky start. He comes into this matchup with a 1.53 GAA and a save percentage of .94.

[gameodds]7/218243/43/us[/gameodds]

Flames vs. Canucks Betting Lines and Trends

BetOnline has opened the Flames as 175 road underdogs on the money line with Vancouver listed as a 190 home favorite. The total line for this contest has been set at 5.

The Flames are 3-8 in their last 11 games on one day’s rest and 2-6 in their last eight road games. The total has stayed UNDER in two of three road games this season.

The Canucks are 40-12 in their last 52 division games and 4-1 in their last five games following a win. The total has stayed UNDER in their last four home games.

Head-to-head in this matchup, the home team has won the last four meetings and the total has ended as a “push” in the last three games when the line was set at five.

Flames vs. Canucks Free NHL Pick

When you combine the fact that the home team has dominated this series in recent years with Vancouver’s current form especially Luongo’s in goal, the free NHL pick in this matchup is clearly with the favorite. As a side play, if the total line somehow creeps up to 5.5, then parlay the Canucks with the UNDER.

NHL Picks: Canucks 4 - Flames 1 (lines provided by BetOnline)

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