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Friday NHL Betting: Odds Picks and Predictions for Stars vs. Flames Game 6 (August 20)

Friday NHL Betting: Odds Picks and Predictions for Stars vs. Flames Game 6 (August 20) article feature image

Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: John Klingberg

  • The Stars are favored over the Flames as they try to close out their first-round series.
  • Pete Truszkowski's thinks Dallas is among the NHL's elite and will clinch the series on Thursday night.
  • Get his full breakdown and bet below.

Stars vs. Flames Odds

Stars Odds -129 [BET NOW]
Flames Odds +111 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 5 (-118/-104) [BET NOW]
Time 10:30 p.m. ET

Odds as of Thursday at 8:30 a.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

The series between the Dallas Stars and the Calgary Flames has been evenly matched on the scoreboard throughout. Four of the five games thus far have been decided by one goal. One of the contests went to overtime and a second game was decided in the final 40 seconds of regulation.

However, as the series progresses, one of these teams is separating itself from its opponent. The Stars are starting to control long stretches of play in these games. No surprise, they have won the last two games to pull ahead of Calgary and now have a chance to eliminate their opponent in game six.

Dallas Calgary
5v5 Goals 9 7
5v5 Shot Attempts 274 210
5v5 Expected Goals 9.76 6.35
High Danger Chances 46 25

With Dallas having the momentum in the series and controlling play, they are -129 (DraftKings) to win game six and advance to round two of the playoffs.

Dallas Stars

Dallas’ identity over the past two seasons has been consistent. This is a team that will suffocate you and give you almost nothing offensively. In this series against the Flames, the Stars have given up only seven goals at even strength. Their expected goals are even lower, allowing an expected 1.50 goals against per 60 minutes at 5v5.

Expected goals (also known as xG) is a predictive statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as shooting luck or outstanding goaltending.

Simply put, an expected goals rate (xGF%) above 50% is considered good because it means a team is creating the majority of the scoring chances. Anything below 50% is usually a sign that a team is struggling to control play.

xG numbers cited from Evolving Hockey.

Calgary has scored four goals on its power play and an insane three shorthanded goals. Scoring three shorthanded goals in five games is an anomaly and expecting that to continue is clinically insane. Columbus had three shorthanded goals during the whole regular season.

Anton Khudobin has taken over the crease for the Stars in these playoffs as Ben Bishop has been unfit to play in almost every contest. During the regular season, Khudobin was arguably the best backup goalie in the league. He’s struggled a bit in this postseason, but he played very well in Game 4, making 28 saves on 29 shots in the Stars’ 2-1 win.

Dallas’ best player in this series has probably been Joe Pavelski. Pavelski scored a hat trick for the Stars in game four to even the series. He didn’t get on the scoresheet, but the Stars did post an 86% expected goal rate when he was on the ice. Pavelski’s line with Denis Gurianov and Mattias Janmark has been the Stars’ most effective line in terms of controlling play in this postseason.

John Klingberg and Jamie Oleksiak might be the most effective defensive pairing of any this postseason. These two average over 20 minutes a night at 5v5. When they’re on the ice, Dallas has over 67% of the expected goals. Klingberg is the smooth-skating puck mover, while Oleksiak is the bigger body who can clear the crease. Together, they have been unreal.

Dallas absolutely needs more from their top line. Jamie Benn has only four points in eight games. Tyler Seguin has no goals and three assists in seven contests. Alexander Radulov has just three points in eight games. Tyler Seguin is the only forward on the Stars in these playoffs who has an expected goal rate under 50%. Benn and Radulov are over 50%, but barely, and still come in as the second- and third-worst forwards on the roster.

Calgary Flames

Calgary has done a good job of hanging around in these games against Dallas, but to say it is playing the Stars evenly would be a lie.

Not a single member of the Flames roster has over a 50% Corsi-for percentage in these playoffs.

Just one line is holding its own in terms of expected-goals percentage and that’s the unit consisting of Dillon Dube, Milan Lucic and Sam Bennett. These three have been welcome surprises. None of them produced more than 20 points in the regular season, but they are all producing over half a point per game in this postseason.

Like the Stars, the Flames are getting almost nothing from their top line at even strength. Johnny Gaudreau has just one even-strength point in this postseason. Elias Lindholm has two, and Sean Monahan has just three in nine games. Gaudreau and Lindholm are both under 40% in expected goal percentage while Monahan is a touch over 41%. Dallas is already a team that stifles you offensively and getting nothing from your skilled players is not an opponent’s recipe for success.

Instead, Calgary’s main reason for success has been the play of goaltender Cam Talbot. Talbot has a 5.57 goals saved above expectation, which is fourth of all goalies in these playoffs. People are talking about the play of the likes of Joonas Korpisalo and Carter Hart, but Talbot has gone under the radar. Without his .934 save percentage during this postseason, Calgary would be getting run out of the building.

Goals Saved Above Expectation (GSAx) is an advanced statistic that measures a goaltender’s performance against the quality of scoring chances he faced. It is a better catch-all metric compared to save percentage because every SV% counts every saved shot and goal the same, while GSAx weights shots by the quality of the scoring chance. GSAx numbers cited from Evolving Hockey.

Betting Analysis

I think the Stars are a borderline elite team in this league. They might not be Colorado or Tampa Bay, but they aren’t far removed from there.

I must be wrong or missing something, because this line is too short for the sixth time in this series. Dallas has been my bet in all five games thus far, and we’re going back to them in Game 6.

Calgary is a middling team. That’s not a negative remark towards the Flames; the NHL is filled with middling teams. However, they are not structured like Dallas is. They don’t have the forward depth that the Stars do. Few teams do.

Teams are also doing a very good job closing out series in the bubble. We saw only one Game 5 in the qualifying round. On Wednesday, three of the four teams who were on the brink of elimination lost. You have to wonder if teams have one foot out of the bubble at the first sign of adversity.

In Game 6, I think Dallas ends Calgary’s season. I bet the Stars at -124 (DraftKings) and would bet anything under -130.

[Bet now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

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