NHL Odds, Preview, Expert Pick & Prediction: Flames vs. Wild (March 7)
Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Mason Shaw and Filip Gustavsson
- The Minnesota Wild host the Calgary Flames in a Tuesday night NHL matchup.
- Calgary got a big win on Monday, but will likely be tired and playing its backup goaltender on the second half of a back-to-back.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including how to bet it.
Flames vs. Wild Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
After a last-second win Monday night, the Calgary Flames head north to take on the Minnesota Wild for the second time in three games. Even after the win, Calgary has endured a rough stretch over the past 10 games, going 3-5-2 and have had a hard time staying alive in playoff contention.
Minnesota, on the other hand, is white hot. The Wild recently beat the Flames in Calgary, 3-0 and have gone 8-1-1 in their last 10, including four in a row.
Here’s a look at the odds, as well as our prediction for the Calgary Flames vs. Minnesota Wild.
I look at the Flames and think they may be burnt out. Players like Tyler Toffoli and Elias Lindholm are critical pieces to a team, but they’re not leading scorers for playoff teams. Lindholm especially is having a down year. Nazem Kadri has also been proven to be a solid addition, and Jonathan Huberdeau’s first year in Calgary has been a dud so far.
What is so fascinating about the Flames is that they keep losing games despite generating a ton of offense. Over the past two weeks, they’re sixth in expected goals with a 55.7 xGF%, however their inefficient power play has stifled them at 19.5%.
The defense is also pretty strong, allowing only 3.06 goals per game and is fourth in expected goals against (xGA). Not only that, but the penalty kill is ranked 13th.
Goaltending used to be a major strength, but now it’s a weakness. Since Jacob Markstrom played Monday night, I would expect backup Dan Vladar to get the nod. Vladar is playing to a poor -7.8 GSAx and an .895 SV%
It’s looking like Minnesota is starting to click after a slow start to the year. Kirill Kaprizov hasn’t slowed down with 73 points in 63 games, and his buddy Mats Zuccarello is having another stellar year. It’s also received exceptional production out of Joel Eriksson Ek, and young stud Matthew Boldy.
The Wild’s even strength attack has been solid over the past two weeks. They place behind the Flames in expected goals with a 54.64 xGF% and their power play is ranked 12th at 22.7%.
Minnesota’s among the best teams defensively. It allows the fourth-fewest goals per game at 2.62, and is ranked third in xGA. The penalty kill is thriving, too, at 82.2%.
It seems as if Filip Gustavsson is overtaking the starting goalie position from Marc-Andre Fleury. Since February 1, Gustavsson is playing to a .950 SV% and an overall +21.0 GSAx. I think Fleury has benefitted to being a backup, as his numbers have improved since his slow start as well.
Flames vs. Wild Pick
Despite the win Monday night, the Flames are vulnerable. There’s no way else to put it. For a team that should be pushing to make the playoffs, they’ve struggled mightily, and made minimal moves at the trade deadline.
Meanwhile, the Wild are running wild. They’re winning when they should, goaltending has been hot, and they acquired a shiny new piece in John Klingberg at the deadline.
No matter who Minnesota runs in net, it’ll be tough for the Flames, as Fleury is traditionally a lights-out goalie against Calgary (.930 SV% in 22 games). Gustavsson’s hot streak also speaks for itself as he’s been impenetrable.
All year, the Wild have been unstoppable at home, going 21-10-2, while the Flames are 12-10-10 on the road. Factor in that Calgary is flying in after a hard fought win in Dallas and I expect the Flames to be sluggish and tired with their backup netminder. I’m picking Minnesota in regulation.
Pick: Minnesota Wild 60 Minute Line (+114)