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NHL Odds and Prediction: Canucks vs. Flames (April 23)

NHL Odds and Prediction: Canucks vs. Flames (April 23) article feature image
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  • With slim hopes at a postseason berth, the Canucks take on the Flames in an all-Canadian duel.
  • The Flames just clinched a division title after winning on Thursday.
  • Nick Martin breaks down the matchup and offers up his play.

Canucks vs. Flames Odds

Canucks Odds +170
Flames Odds -200
Over/Under 6.5 (+100/-120)
Time 10 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Vancouver took a tough loss in a hard-fought, well-played game in Minnesota on Thursday. That defeat essentially ended the Canucks’ miracle push toward the postseason.

The squad will look to skate the season out like professionals and keep the strong play going against its rival Flames, who are simply looking to stay sharp heading into what is expected to be a promising postseason.

Will we see Vancouver find a resilient effort here, or could this end up being the final nail in the coffin of its postseason hopes?

Canucks Have Been Pleasant Surprise

In all likelihood, the Canucks’ push to the postseason under coach Bruce Boudreau will come up a little short. However, the Canucks offered up one of the more enjoyable storylines of the regular season.

When true to form, the Canucks have become far tougher to play against, and have trended up to ninth league-wide in goals against per game average this season (2.81).

The Canucks have played to a very strong 57.35 xGF% throughout the month of April, and the desperate last gasp toward the postseason is at worst a very positive direction heading into the next campaign.

This group has shown a ton of resilience down the stretch, and I definitely expect the Canucks to go out with some strong games, whether they mean anything or not.

If Vancouver wins this contest, MoneyPuck offers it a 5.2% chance at the postseason. The situation is extremely dire, but the chase is not entirely over yet.

Thatcher Demko has been stellar in goal for the Canucks all season, and will likely start this game. Demko has played to a +13.2 goals saved above expected rating, with a .916 save % throughout 63 games played.

I would certainly argue those numbers could be even better on other clubs this season, especially considering how shocking the penalty kill was under Travis Green early on.

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Flames Gearing Up for Postseason Run

Calgary’s 4-2 win over the Stars on Thursday officially locked up a Pacific Division title. That is certainly quite an achievement for Darryl Sutter’s group, especially considering the preseason expectations.

The Flames will now look to keep their play rock-steady as they prepare for what will hopefully be a long postseason run.

Calgary has played with a ton of attention to detail at both ends of the rink, and Sutter’s team has done a tremendous job of controlling the run of play and continuing to attack while ahead all season long.

Calgary has played to an elite 57.84 xGF% throughout the month of April, and has remained strong with the eighth-best xGA/60 mark of 2.78. This team has far from simply played a down-tempo style, and is committed to pushing the play the other way and attacking with five-men in the offensive zone.

It’s not simply an old-school style from Sutter’s group by any means, but the team is certainly no fun to play against and is tremendous at pressuring with layers in the neutral zone and forcing dump-ins.

The Flames should enter with a full roster, and will likely start Jacob Markstrom in goal.

Markstrom has played to a +12.2 goals saved above expected rating, with a .922 save % throughout 62 games played this season.

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Canucks vs. Flames Pick

With how I am expecting this spot to play out, I lean toward seeing a tightly-contested, hard-fought game, even if Vancouver has not played many of those down the stretch.

With almost even odds on the under of 6.5, I am willing to make what will be a rare contrarian play down the stretch of this season.

My expectation is that Vancouver will put together one last high-quality performance against a notable rival in the Flames. That should allow Demko a strong chance to thrive and keep Calgary’s high-powered offense to a livable total.

To see Vancouver come out and generate much on this Calgary group (as the Flames sharpen up for the postseason) would be surprising, as well. I think we could see goals being surprisingly hard to generate here.

It could definitely be somewhat of a sweat, but I think opening this total at 6.5 and not 6 leaves us some value to look toward the under. I would play the under down to -125.

Pick: Under 6.5 -115

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