Both the Calgary Flames and the Vancouver Canucks are going through a transition of sorts as the Flames are in their first full season of the post-Jarome Iginla era with some new heavy hitters in the front office. Meanwhile the Canucks have a new coach (and style) in John Tortorella. The Canucks will make their first trip of the season to the ScotiaBank Saddledome (which was underwater for most of the offseason thanks to the Calgary floods) to face the Flames on Sunday night.
The Canucks have the upper hand in the last 10 meetings with the Flames, taking six while four games went over the posted total with three games pushing. In Calgary, the percentage is the same as Vancouver has won six of the last 10, with six games going over and two pushes.
The Vancouver Canucks can win because…
The Flames are giving up goals aplenty right now. Calgary has played two games so far this season and they’ve allowed a total of eight goals. That’s not ideal. We knew that goaltending would be a big concern for the Flames heading into the season and that’s proven to be the case. Washington had no problems getting four goals (and a shootout winner) passed Karri Ramo and the Columbus scored three on Joey MacDonald. The Flames don’t have a quality starter, so they are going to be giving up goals by the bucket-load this season.
People who make their NHL picks know that Vancouver still has a very capable offense. We saw what they’re capable of on Saturday night as they scored five goals on Edmonton before the game even reached the third period. Against Calgary, it should be child’s play once again.
The Calgary Flames can win because…
Vancouver is in a back-to-back situation. They played at home on Saturday night against Edmonton and now have a quick turnaround with a trip to Calgary. The Flames should have an edge on Sunday as they have a day off on Saturday, so they should be well-rested by the time they meet the Canucks.
According to the analysts and the experts who make sports picks, the Flames were expected to be one of the worst teams in the NHL this preseason. However, they haven’t looked nearly that bad through two games. Yes, their goaltending and defense leaves plenty to be desired but their offense has been impressive. They probably should have beaten Washington on the road in their opener as they blew a three-goal lead and then they went on the road and beat Columbus. If they’re supposed to be a doormat, they sure haven’t looked like one yet. They are offering good value on the NHL odds on Sunday.
Outlook & Pick
The Flames are playing with some confidence right now but I still expect them to be one of the worst teams in the league. That’s why I won’t bet them as a home dog. However, taking Vancouver as a road favorite is dicey too.
I see the best play here being the over because of the Flames defense. The Flames have played in two high-scoring affairs and we should see another one on Sunday.
NHL Pick: Over 5.5 at William Hill