NHL Odds, Preview, Pick: Flames vs. Kraken (December 28)
Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Nikita Zadorov (left); Mikael Backlund (right).
Flames vs. Kraken Odds
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The NHL’s holiday freeze is over! Action resumed Tuesday night with an 11-game slate, continuing with another five games tonight.
The Calgary Flames drew the short straw and had games scheduled on both nights. On Tuesday, they dropped a 2-1 decision at home to the Edmonton Oilers and have a quick turnaround to tonight’s Pacific Division battle against the Seattle Kraken.
Still, Calgary has been dominant recently, posting league-best metrics. Those performances should get the snowball rolling, and we’re anticipating good outcomes for the Flames over their coming games.
Fanning the Flames
It’s not reflected in their outcomes, but the Flames have been straight-up dominant over their recent schedule. Tuesday night, Calgary outshot the Oilers 42-16 at five-on-five, the sixth time over the past seven games in which they posted a shooting margin above 60.0% and the eighth straight game in which they’ve outshot their opponents.
That’s contributed to the additional scoring and high-danger opportunities for the Flames. They’ve out-chanced their opponents in quality chances in three of their last four and scoring opportunities in six of seven.
In addition to the notable scoring metrics, the Flames also have been driving possession over their current schedule. Calgary’s Corsi rating is above 50.0% in eight straight, with a cumulative 63.6% rating across their six most recent contests. That’s forcing their opponents to try to play catch up as the Flames out-chance and outshoot their competition.
Despite those metrics working for them, the Flames misplayed their goaltending hand. Darryl Sutter elected to start Jacob Markstrom on the first night of the back-to-back, meaning backup Dan Vladar is likely to start against the Kraken. As with most tandems, there’s a drop-off between these back stoppers. Markstrom has posted save percentages above 90.0% in three of his last four starts, whereas Vladar is below 88.0% in three straight.
Nevertheless, Calgary has the structure in front of Vladar to limit Seattle’s chances, hopefully negating the perceived advantage.
System Overload in Seattle
The Kraken finished last year with the third-worst points percentage, far below their middle-of-the-pack 48.4% expected goals-for rate. They have exceeded that mark in the early part of this season, posting the 11th-best mark at 51.8%.
Although Seattle’s overall metrics have improved, they struggle to limit their opponent’s chances — a fault the Flames could expose on Wednesday night.
Lately, opponents are running roughshod in the Kraken’s end of the ice. At five-on-five, Seattle has allowed at least ten high-danger chances in five of their previous seven outings, giving up an average of 11.1 per game. Scoring opportunities allowed are equally as disappointing, with five of their last seven opponents attempting at least 25. Considering Calgary’s recent uptick in production, it’s unlikely the Kraken will have an answer for the Flames’ attack.
Moreover, we’ve detected a trend in the Kraken’s outcomes against divisional opponents this year that’s worth noting. Seattle has struggled to contain Pacific Division teams, posting a cumulative 85.7% save percentage. Predictably, that has yielded some high-scoring games, with Kraken goalies allowing four or more goals in eight of their 11 contests. Yet another advantage that favors the Flames.
Flames vs. Kraken Pick
Simply, the Flames are dominating every facet of the game right now, but their outcomes don’t reflect their efforts. Despite the assertive underlying metrics, Calgary has just three wins over their last eight games. However, we can’t look past their goaltending miscue, leaving Seattle with an edge between the pipes. The Kraken have struggled to contain opponents recently and have a lousy track record in divisional games.
As such, we have three plays in this matchup. The Flames’ moneyline is good up to -115, over 6, and the 60-minute tie is worth a look as Calgary competes on the second night of a back-to-back.
Picks: Flames ML -108 (Play up to -115) | Over 6 -110 | 60-Minute Tie +320