Stats Make Red Wings -105 the NHL Pick vs. Flames

Swinging Johnson

Friday, October 23, 2015 5:46 PM UTC

Friday, Oct. 23, 2015 5:46 PM UTC

Detroit has lost their last three games after winning their first three of the season while the Flames have been in a downward spiral since the season began. Let’s review the NHL odds first.

Detroit Red Wings (3-3, -0.9 units)
The NHL odds makers installed the Red Wings as -120 chalk on the road in Edmonton Wednesday night but after the final buzzer it was clear they had the wrong favorite. The Oilers handed the Wings a 3-1 loss marking their third consecutive defeat after a 3-0 start. Pavel Datsyuk is still on the shelf with an ankle injury and the Red Wings will hope to overcome his loss with a more concerted effort in the attack zone. Detroit has scored just twice in their last two games in losses to both Montreal and Edmonton.

Jimmy Howard will be getting the call in net tonight replacing Petr Mrazek who has backstopped the last two games. It is just the latest change in a game of goaltending musical chairs that has seen Jimmy Howard platoon with the 23-year-old Mrazek. Howard looked sharp as ever in his first two starts blanking Toronto in the season opener 4-0 and then notching another victory with a 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning four days later. But it was his last start that caused coach Jeff Blashill to make the switch back to Mrazek when Detroit dropped a 5-3 decision to the Hurricanes and busted the bankrolls of all who included them in their NHL picks as -170 road favorites. Howard has sat out the last two contests, both losses, but will be back between the pipes tonight.

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Calgary Flames (1-5, -4.5 units)
You know the season is not going well when you rank 24th in goals scored and 28th in goals against. Those kinds of stats usually lead to a lousy record therefore it is no surprise that Calgary finds themselves in the bottom of the Pacific division with a 1-5 mark. Goaltender Karri Ramo was the first casualty of the team’s spectacularly poor start as the $3.8 million man was put on waivers, subsequently cleared them and has landed in Stockton of the AHL. Head coach Bob Hartely had seen enough after Ramo allowed four goals on only 18 shots in the first 31 minutes in a 6-2 loss to the Capitals on Tuesday night.

Now the Flames must rely on veteran Jonas Hiller who hasn’t been much better with a 1-2 record, a 3.72 GAA and .867 save percentage. The Flames have a -13 goal differential on the young season and 22-year-old Johnny Gaudreau leads the team with seven points but maintains a -3 goal differential which illustrates the problems on both offense and defense.


NHL Pick
Though the Red Wings have been in a tailspin recently the Flames have been in one all season. Of course the season is young but the Flames have looked absolutely clueless and start a netminder in Jonas Hiller who has played almost as poorly as the one they placed on waivers. Conversely Detroit has a bona fide elite netminder in Jimmy Howard who can steal games when he is in a groove. The Red Wings have a distinct edge over the Flames on offense, defense and certainly in net.

I realize the NHL odds makers are making this one a veritable coin flip but based on Detroit’s 3-1 record against Calgary over the past two seasons and evaluating both teams’ performances up until this point it’s hard to ignore the visitor at what I feel is a bargain basement price.

NHL Pick: Red Wings -105 at Heritage

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