Washington's Building Road Trip Momentum, Play with Capitals to Win at Calgary

David Lawrence

Tuesday, October 20, 2015 2:28 PM GMT

The Calgary Flames entered the NHL season looking to build off last year’s campaign, and returned to the playoffs as a young and talented team. Are they our NHL pick today?

Momentum
Washington is trending in the opposite direction of Calgary after stringing together a pair of 4-1 wins over the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks and Carolina Hurricanes. Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and two assists in his season debut against Carolina and with the star Swede back in the lineup the Capitals have two very dangerous offensive lines that can score goals in bunches. Tuesday’s game will mark the start of a three-game road trip through western Canada for Washington and they certainly have built up some momentum heading in to it.

Meanwhile, nobody in Calgary has hit the panic button just yet but there has to be some concern following a 5-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night. The Flames have dropped three straight and have allowed three goals or more in each of their four losses overall and protecting their net will be a concern again versus the explosive Capitals.

 

Projected Starting Goalies
Part of the problem has been the play of Calgary’s goaltenders, as Jonas Hillar and Karri Ramo have combined for a 3.58 goals against average. Ramo has a mediocre .904 save percentage but that is better than Hiller’s .872 mark and right now he is listed as the No. 1 goalie on their depth chart. The Flames need more from their goaltenders regardless of who is in net and especially against a high scoring team like Washington.

Meanwhile, Braden Holtby has picked up from where he left off last season with a strong start to this campaign that includes a 2.05 goals against average. Holtby has developed in to one of the more underrated young goaltenders in the NHL and if he can play a starring role for the Capitals this season they will have an opportunity to do some serious damage in the Eastern Conference.

 

What’s The Pick?
The Flames appeared primed to contend in the Western Conference heading into the season and while it’s still early, the results through the first couple of weeks haven’t gone as planned. Calgary has been outscored 19-10 while dropping four of its first five games – including three straight losses on home ice. It won’t get any easier for the Flames as they attempt to get their season on track beginning on Tuesday night when they host the Washington Capitals.

The Flames certainly have the talent to be a playoff team in the Western Conference again this season but they are off to a slow start for a variety of different reasons –including a lack of intensity and relatively poor goaltending. Calgary should be fired up to get back on track in this game but that might not be enough against Alex Ovechkin and company. Washington has the potential to be a legitimate Stanley Cup contender if they can stay healthy this season and they should be feeling pretty confident heading into this matchup. The Capitals will want to carry over their early season momentum into their first road trip of the season and they should be able to find a way to win this game as a small road favorite on the NHL odds. Look for them to keep the Flames from climbing up off the mat at least for one more game. Take the Caps with your NHL picks.

NHL Pick: Capitals -127 at Heritage

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