Canucks vs. Flames Odds, Preview, Prediction: Defenses Should Steal Spotlight in NHL Clash (Jan. 29)

Canucks vs. Flames Odds, Preview, Prediction: Defenses Should Steal Spotlight in NHL Clash (Jan. 29) article feature image

Derek Leung/Getty Images. Pictured: Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markström.

  • The Canucks travel to Calgary for a Pacific Division matchup.
  • The Flames have held opponents to two or fewer goals in three of their last five games.
  • Tony Sartori breaks down the game and gives his top pick, below.

Canucks vs. Flames Odds

Canucks Odds+165
Flames Odds-190
Over/Under5.5 (-105/-115)
Time10 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

We will see two Pacific Division teams battle it out in Saturday's nightcap when the Canucks travel to Calgary to take on the Flames. This will be the season's first matchup between these teams, as both continue to fight to climb the division ladder.

Will the Flames continue their good play this week or will Bruce Boudreau and Vancouver pull off the road upset?

Vancouver Canucks

The Canucks continue their road trip following Thursday's 5-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets. I expect to see some regression from the Canucks in the goal-scoring department, as their offense has not been good as a whole.

Vancouver ranks 23rd in the league in 5-on-5 expected goals for per 60 minutes (xGF). The Canucks' offensive output is a result of the fact that they do not generate high danger shots, as they currently have the 27th-lowest average xG value of 5-on-5 shot attempts.

The Canucks have scored two or fewer goals in eight of their last 12 games. Special teams should also regress back to the mean following their two-for-two performance on the power play Thursday, as the Canucks currently sit 18th in the league in power-play percentage.

While their offense has struggled this season, the Canucks have been able to rely on their defense and goaltending since Boudreau took over the helm. Vancouver ranks 13th in the league in 5-on-5 expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA) and 11th in opposing 5-on-5 shots on net percentage.

Some great news for the Canucks is that starting goaltender Thatcher Demko was activated from the COVID list and is projected to start tonight. Demko has been awesome this season, posting a 0.917 SV% and currently ranks fifth amongst starting goaltenders in 5-on-5 goals saved above expected per 60 minutes (GSAx).

Before entering COVID-19 protocols, Demko was extremely dialed in as he kept opponents to two goals or fewer in 10 of his last 15 starts. After the rest he was able to get during his absence, Demko should be ready to pick up right where he left off.

Calgary Flames

Across the pond from Demko will be projected starting goaltender Jacob Markström, who has also been very reliable this season. Markström boasts a 0.923 SV% and leads the league with his six shutouts this season.

Helping out in front of Markström is the Flames' tremendous blue line, headlined by stay-at-home defensemen Chris Tanev. Calgary currently ranks sixth in 5-on-5 xG against per 60 minutes (xGA).

Similar to Vancouver, the Flames' defensive metrics are a product of preventing high-danger shots as they have the 11th lowest average xG value of opposing 5-on-5 shot attempts.

The Flames' recent defensive and goaltending performances also suggest a low-scoring game, as they have kept opponents to two goals or fewer in three of their last five games.

I talked about how the Canucks should see some regression in special teams tonight, and that is further backed by the fact that the Flames have the sixth-best penalty killing percentage in the league.

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Canucks vs. Flames Pick

Both of these Pacific teams have great metrics in their blue lines, both of which will be backed by strong goaltending. Those facts along with the Canucks weak offense should produce a low-scoring affair.

I think the Flames win and cover, but I believe the under is a safer play in case Demko steals another win for the Canucks.

Pick: Total Under 5.5 Goals (-115)

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