NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Flames vs. Devils (October 26)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images. Pictured: Pavel Zacha
Flames vs. Devils Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
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The Calgary Flames continue a five-game road trip with a visit to New Jersey to face off against the Devils.
Calgary got off to a slow start but has since ripped off three straight wins. New Jersey has been equally as good, coming into this one with a record of 3-1-0.
The Devils are dealing with some injuries to key players in Johnathan Bernier and Jack Hughes, but they have continued to play well in their absence and get a Calgary team that is on the back end of a back-to-back. I’m expecting the Devils to protect their home ice and win this matchup.
The first thing that pops into mind in this matchup is the back-to-back situation. Calgary is coming off a 5-1 win against the Rangers on Monday, but I don’t see them having that kind of success on consecutive nights.
Last season Calgary struggled when forced to play two nights in a row, finishing with a record of 4-6 on back-to-backs. Furthermore, the Flames were outscored 34-29 by their opponents in those games.
Nothing Calgary has done up to this point jumps out on the stat sheet. On offense, the Flames rank 16th in xGF/60 and 25th in High-Danger Chances For per 60 minutes. They are also very middle of the road on defense, ranking outside the top 15 in xGA/60 and HDCA/60.
They have found a rhythm recently, but in the grand scheme of things, they have been relatively average.
Their usual starter in net, Jacob Markstrom, was in net on Monday and likely won’t start this one. Dan Vlader is expected to get the start in net, and in his lone start this season, he had a SV% of .882 in 5-on-5 and gave up three total goals in the game.
New Jersey Devils
New Jersey has surprisingly been a good offense in the early portion of the season. I expect that to continue in this game on their home ice against Calgary.
Last season this Devils team did not do a great job at generating much offense. As a team, they only had 9.43 High-Danger Chances per 60 minutes and had 2.21 Expected Goals For per 60 in 5-on-5 situations. While they did rank inside the top 10 in xGF/60, they were in the bottom 10 in Goals For in 5-on-5 situations, which is more reflective of what their offense was.
However, it appears that the Devils have flipped a switch on the offensive end, making them a real offensive threat this season.
New Jersey ranks first overall in xGF/60 with 3.08, and they are number one in HDCF/60 with 17.84. They have only scored a total of six goals in 5-on-5 situations, but the opportunities have certainly been there, and they should continue to put pressure on a tired Calgary team.
Everything looks great for the Devils, but they are dealing with some issues in net. Their top two goalies, Johnathan Bernier and Mackenzie Blackwood, are both likely out for this one. That leaves Nico Daws and Scott Wedgewood as the options for NJ.
Each has one game under his belt so far. Daws had a stellar NHL debut against Buffalo, finishing the game with a SV% of 1.000 and a HDSV% of 1.000 in 5-on-5 situations. Wedgewood has had less success as he has a SV% of .833 and a HDSV% of .571 when both teams are at full strength, but it looks like Daws will get the start in this one if Bernier ends up not suiting up.
Flames vs. Devils Pick
A back-to-back always worries me, and considering their lack of success with back-to-backs last season, I think it is wise to stay away from the Flames in this game.
Their best goaltender is also likely to not get the start, giving a good Devils offense an even better chance to find the back of the net.
This is a new and improved Devils team, and even though they will be without Hughes and likely Bernier, I feel more comfortable going with the fresher team on their home ice.
Pick: Devils ML (-105) | Play to -115