Flames vs. Blackhawks Odds & Picks: Bet Calgary to Win Convincingly
Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images
- The Flames travel to Chicago to take on the Blackhawks in the third meeting between the two teams this season.
- Chicago has struggled all season but has been even worse since the Marc-Andre Fleury trade.
- Carol Schram previews the matchup from a betting perspective and tells you not to overthink this one.
Flames vs. Blackhawks Odds
|Over/Under||6.5 (-120 / +100)|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
With less than two weeks to go in the regular season, the Calgary Flames and Chicago Blackhawks will kick off a six-game slate of NHL action on Monday night.
The Flames are perched comfortably atop the Pacific Division standings, and are coming off a 9-1 shellacking of the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.
Their hosts, the Blackhawks, have seen a tough season get even tougher since players like Marc-Andre Fleury and Brandon Hagel were dealt away at last month’s trade deadline. They’ve managed just one win in their last 10 games.
Here’s the latest on both teams, and your best bet for the game.
Flames Pose All-Around Threat
Winners of six of their last seven contests, the Calgary Flames have been formidable foes for most of the season under Stanley Cup-winning coach Darryl Sutter.
It has been an impressive turnaround for a club that failed to qualify for the playoffs last year out of the all-Canadian North Division. The Flames officially punched their ticket on Saturday, and have their eyes set on making a serious run.
Up front, they’re led by Johnny Gaudreau, who’s tied with Leon Draisaitl for third in the scoring race with a career-high 105 points (as of Sunday). Set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, this could be his last hurrah with the club that drafted him.
Gaudreau’s regular linemates Matthew Tkachuk and Elias Lindholm are also having career years, and Lindholm is in the conversation as a Selke Trophy candidate.
With plenty of run support behind that top line, the Flames sit sixth in the NHL with an average of 3.55 goals scored per game, third in expected goals percentage at 5-on-5 (55.51%) and ninth on the power play (23.5%).
They’re also third-best defensively, allowing just 2.49 goals per game and a fourth-lowest 29 shots per game. The last line of defense is Jacob Markstrom, with his nine shutouts and 12.5 goals saved above average.
But with Calgary on a back-to-back and facing a tougher opponent in Nashville on Tuesday, there’s a good chance the Blackhawks will see Dan Vladar in the Flames’ net.
The 24-year-old Czech has won his last three starts and has appeared in three of Calgary’s last five games. That’s more minutes than usual for him, as the Flames try to carve out a bit more rest for Markstrom before the playoffs start.
Calgary has been one of the healthiest teams in the NHL this season, and that’s still the case here in the late stages. The only significant absence is forward Sean Monahan, who has undergone season-ending hip surgery.
Blackhawks Struggling Even More Without Fleury
It’s been a tough season on and off the ice for the Blackhawks, who replaced coach Jeremy Colliton with Derek King on Nov. 6, but have continued to struggle.
Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat can generate offense, and Dylan Strome has hit the 20-goal mark for the first time in his career.
But beyond that, the scoring dries up pretty quickly. The Blackhawks average 2.63 goals per game, sixth-lowest in the league.
And while prized offseason acquisition Seth Jones has 49 points, his defensive work has left a lot to be desired. The Blackhawks allow an average of 3.55 goals per game — and that number has risen to 4.08 since Fleury left town on March 21.
That all adds up to an expected goal share of just 44.89% at 5-on-5 this season, ranking the Blackhawks ahead of only Arizona and Columbus.
In net, Kevin Lankinen has handled most of the workload since Fleury’s departure. Collin Delia spent the weekend away from the team due to a death in his family. He’s expected back on Monday, but Lankinen should be the likely starter.
With a .887 save percentage and minus-25.2 goals saved above expected this season, it’s been a rough year for Lankinen, who’s 1-5-2 in his last eight appearances.
Also on the injury front, defenseman Connor Murphy and forward Jujhar Khaira remain on the sidelines. Kirby Dach suffered a sprained shoulder last week, and he’s set to be re-evaluated on Monday.
Flames vs. Blackhawks Pick
In both earlier meetings between these two teams this season, the Flames won handily — 5-2 at the Saddledome on Nov. 23 and 5-1 at the United Center on Jan. 2.
Markstrom earned both those wins. But even if Vladar gets the start on Monday, there’s no reason to think that the outcome will be much different. Over the last month, Vladar is 3-0-0 in four appearances, with a 2.11 goals-against average and .918 save percentage.
And with their 9-1 dismantling of Arizona on Saturday, the Flames showed an appetite for beating down lesser squads as this season winds toward its conclusion.
All told, there’s no hidden angles here. Expect the Flames to skate out of Chicago with an easy two points on Monday. With Calgary’s two multi-goal wins this season, the puck line looks like a reasonable play.
Pick: Flames -1.5 (-115 | Play to -130)