NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Flames vs. Blues (January 12)
Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Andrew Mangiapane of the Calgary Flames
Flames vs. Blues Odds
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Well, let’s get after it again, shall we?
The Calgary Flames stay in St. Louis after a devastating loss to the Blues on Tuesday. The Flames ended up blowing a 3-1 lead and losing 4-3 in overtime. It’s been an up and down year for Calgary, but it’s secured points in eight of its past 10 games.
Similar to their counterparts, the Blues haven’t had an easy start either. However, they’re slowly climbing up the standings and gaining points. They’re looking to win their third in a row, and have also gone 5-3-2 in their past 10 games.
Here’s a look at the odds, as well as our prediction for the Calgary Flames vs. St. Louis Blues.
Over the offseason, the Flames overhauled their roster, but some of their mainstays have been the ones producing. Tyler Toffoli has scored points in nine of his past 11 games, while Nazem Kadri has registered five points in his past six. Elias Lindholm is also leading the team in scoring with 37 points in 41 games.
Despite the up and down season, the Flames have had a heck of a time generating offense at 5-on-5. They have a wonderful expected goals rate (53.71 xGF%) and generate nine high-danger chances per game.
On special teams, Calgary’s power play is pretty mediocre (19.4%) given the amount of power play specialists it has. However, the Flames are among the best in the league with an 81.5% penalty kill.
After a Vezina-like season last year, Jacob Markstrom is really struggling. The Swede is playing to +0.9 goals saved above expected (GSAx), and an .895 SV%. It leaves me to ponder if backup Dan Vladar is poised to start Thursday. Vladar is having a decent season as the backup, playing to a -1.1 GSAx and a .906 SV%.
St. Louis Blues
St. Louis will be short-handed for a little bit, as it will be missing captain Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko for the foreseeable future. Because of that, the Blues will have to rely on their young stars in Jordan Kyrou, Robert Thomas and Pavel Buchnevich.
I’ve always liked the Blues, but this year, they’ve had a really rough time generating an even strength attack. They rank 24th in expected goals with a 46.22 xGF% and only generate 8.7 high danger chances per game.
Amidst all their even strength struggles, the Blues are formidable opponents while on the power play, scoring at a 24.6% pace. However, the penalty kill is seventh worst in the league with only a 73.1% success rate.
Goaltending hasn’t necessarily been a bright spot in St. Louis. Jordan Binnington is struggling this year, playing to a lowly -5.8 GSAx and an .892 SV%, while backup Thomas Greiss is posting a +1.0 GSAx and .911 SV%. Binnington has received most of the starts, and my guess is he’ll take the crease again.
Flames vs. Blues Pick
I’m excited for this rematch to see if the Flames rebound from their gaffe on Tuesday. Both teams have been playing decent hockey as of late, so I think it’ll be another matchup that keeps fans on the edge of their seats.
Markstrom doesn’t have a great record against the Blues (4-7-2, .885 SV%). Binnington, on the other hand, owns a 4-1 record and an .899 SV% against the Flames.
Knowing that, and keeping in mind that both teams average three goals and allow over three goals a game, I can see this going over the total.
Both teams are also at risk when down a man. St. Louis is pretty disciplined, but it’s penalty kill is horrendous. Meanwhile, Calgary finds itself in the box often. I really like Calgary’s ability to generate chances at even strength, whereas the Blues allow 2.85 xGA/60.
That sounds like a pretty good recipe to go over, don’t you think? This’ll be a fun one.
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