The Calgary Flames will attempt to extend a two-game winning streak and make ground on a Wild Card spot, as they host the draft lottery-bound Anaheim Ducks tonight at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
The Flames are coming off back-to-back wins on consecutive nights on March 6 and 7, dispatching the Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild, respectively. They currently sit four points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference and their season hangs on every game at this stage.
Meanwhile, the Ducks continue to languish in the league’s basement happy to be contenders in the Connor Bedard sweepstakes. They’ve lost three of the their last four heading into this one.
The Flames are -400 moneyline favourites at home, and the total is set at 6 goals on Friday night at bet365.
Ducks vs. Flames odds
|Flames Moneyline Odds||-400|
|Ducks Moneyline Odds||+320|
|Over/Under||6 goals (over -120, under +100)|
|Time/Date||Friday, March. 10, 9:00 p.m. ET|
|TV||Broadcast: Sportsnet West, TVA Sports (French), Bally Sports SoCal (Anaheim Local)|
Stream: Sportsnet Now Premium
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The Flames edged the Ducks in their only other meeting this season, winning 3-2 in overtime on Dec 23. Rasmus Andersson scored at 2:24 of OT to give Calgary the win at the Honda Center in Anaheim.
About the Flames (29-23-13, 25-40 ATS, 32-31-2 o/u)
Calgary entered this season with lofty expectations, but the results have left a lot to be desired. Star winger Jonathan Huberdeau, acquired in the Matthew Tkachuk trade with the Florida Panthers, has seen his production plummet in a far more defensively-minded system.
The Flames’ current two-game winning streak comes off the heels of five consecutive losses, and makes their remaining games all the more desperate. The good news for Calgary? It has the easiest strength of schedule in the entire league from here on out. In their remaining 17 games, the Flames will face teams currently in a playoff position only six times. The time is now for the Flames to salvage their year and make a playoff push.
Should the Flames fail in that task, head coach Darryl Sutter will surely be on the hot seat (pun intended), but as the old adage goes “show me a great coach and I’ll show you a great goalie”, Sutter has perhaps been undone by the abnormally bad play of goalie Jacob Markstrom. Markstrom’s save percentage of .893 is a far cry from his average of .913 that he had maintained as a No. 1 goaltender over the last six seasons. Any success Calgary has in its remaining contests will depend heavily on Markstrom finding his game again.
Player to watch: Nazem Kadri
Not one Flame came out of their recent five-game losing streak looking particularly good, but Nazem Kadri helped right the ship in Calgary’s skid-snapping victory over Dallas on March 6. Kadri provided two helpers on the night and his playmaking prowess was on full display. Look for him to have a stellar game against the lowly Ducks.
Nazem Kadri – Player Assists – Over 0.5
About the Ducks (21-35-9, 29-36 ATS, 34-28-3 o/u)
Anaheim is well on its way to a bottom-five finish this year, and a shot at the first-overall pick. This most likely suits the franchise just fine as the glory days of Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf are in the rearview mirror. The Ducks are a rebuilding squad with a decent crop of young talent still figuring it out on a nightly basis.
As is usually the case with an overly young and inexperienced team, keeping the puck out of their own end, and by extension out of their own net, has been the major challenge for Anaheim. At a -100 goal differential thus far this season, the Ducks sit dead last in the league.
Player to watch: Mason McTavish
The Ducks aren’t completely devoid of talent and have some nice pieces to build upon in years to come. One of those pieces is centreman Mason McTavish, who has been Anaheim’s hottest player of late. With six points in his last five games, McTavish stands as the Ducks’ biggest threat at the moment, and he should continue to cement his star status in Southern California for years to come.
Calgary: Jacob Markstrom (16-16-9, 2.89 GAA, .893 SV%) – Probable.
Anaheim: John Gibson (13-24-6, 3.89 GAA, .902 SV%) – Probable.
Ducks centre Adam Henrique was placed on injured reserve on March 3 and will be out at least a month with a sprained MCL. The middle- six centreman had 19 goals and 33 points when he was injured.
Betting trends to watch
- Ducks are 0-5 in their last five vs. Pacific foes.
- Ducks are 0-4 in the last four meetings.
- Flames are 0-4 in their last four home games.
- Flames are 1-5 in their last six games following a win.
- Under is 11-5-1 in the last 17 meetings.
Wagers to consider
- Nazem Kadri – Player Assists – Over 0.5: +125. Kadri’s playmaking ability should be on full display tonight against a Ducks squad that simply can’t keep the puck out of their own net.
- Mason McTavish – Anytime Goal: +450. The Flames haven’t exactly been stalwarts of defence either and while in playoff desperation mode they may leave some room for one of Anaheim’s young stars to pot a goal tonight.