Flames vs. Golden Knights Odds, Preview, Prediction: Back Calgary to Maintain Grip on Pacific Division (Dec. 5)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images. Pictured: Sean Monahan.
- Vegas hosts Calgary on Sunday night to wrap up the day's NHL action.
- The Flames own a nine-point lead over the Golden Knights in the Pacific Division but are +105 dogs on the road.
- Nicholas Martin breaks down the game and gives his top pick, below.
Golden Knights vs. Flames Odds
|Golden Knights Odds||-120|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Sunday night’s showdown between the Calgary Flames and Vegas Golden Knights will offer a glimpse into a very plausible playoff matchup out of the Pacific Division this season.
Calgary has fully endorsed coach Darryl Sutter’s game, playing a very sharp and detailed team game, in turn being rewarded with the league’s third best record at 15-4-5. It will face a very stiff challenge from a now healthier Vegas team that has perennially dominated in front of its raucous home crowd.
Flames Continue to Get Consistent Play On All Levels
The Calgary Flames have produced consistently strong play in all areas of the ice this season, and in turn they will enter holding the league’s best goal differential at +31, as their league-leading expected goals rate of 56.26% suggests they should.
The team has clearly bought into what coach Darryl Sutter is preaching, a hard-nosed style hockey featuring strong attention to detail, greatly limiting odd-man rushes and doing a great job of keeping layers behind the puck defensively.
A top trio led by Johnny Gaudreau alongside Elias Lindholm and Matthew Tkachuk has produced dominant results, with a 69.4 xGF% in 289.1 minutes together this season, combining for a point-per-game mark this season.
Behind that unit, the team have seen some strong contributions from a number of depth pieces, such as Andrew Mangiapane, who has emerged on team Canada’s long list for the Olympics after a goal-scoring spree to start the year. Mangiapane has posted 16 goals in 23 contests and has been strong in his own end on the wing to boot.
Sean Monahan certainly isn’t what he was, skating with greatly reduced mobility after a number of hip issues, but he is finding ways to contribute lately and still offers some notable upside in a third-line role.
The Flames have also seen some consistently strong play from a back-end which has been markedly strong at controlling zone-entries and driving play up the ice.
Oliver Kylington has been nothing short of a revelation, finally earning a full-time role this season and seizing the opportunity with 14 points in 22 contests, a notable causation of the Flames’ tremendous improvement this season.
When needed, Jacob Markstrom has been excellent in the pipes as well, and he should draw the big start in Vegas.
Markstrom has stopped .939% of shots faced throughout 18 games, with a +11.4 goals saved above expected rating, and he has thrown his name into the Vezina Trophy conversation with his excellent early play.
Golden Knights Must Make Up Divisional Ground
Vegas looks to put together more consistent results and to follow up a 7-1 thumping over the lowly Coyotes on Friday by chipping away at the Flames’ now notable nine-point lead above them in the Pacific Division standings.
The Golden Knights have lost three of five and have allowed 4.66 goals against per game over those defeats. The team is certainly not playing bad hockey, controlling play to an expected goals share of 56.33%, but the defensive breakdowns have led to extreme danger chances. At times the transitional play and odd-man rushes, allowed far too often earlier in the season, have crept back into their game of late, notably so in a sloppy 6-5 loss to the Ducks on Wednesday.
Vegas will certainly need to stay disciplined and not get overcommitted in the offensive zone Sunday night, as we saw from Montreal in the semifinals last year. The Knights’ extremely aggressive play can leave them exposed in transition at times, and Calgary has been tremendous at creating offense caused by defensive zone turnovers this season.
Robin Lehner has been strong again this season for a Vegas team that has certainly been far from easy to play behind at times this season, stopping .909 % of shots on goal with a +3.5 GSAx rating throughout 18 games played.
Golden Knights vs. Flames Pick
Vegas will continue to trend upwards this season, as we have seen of late with several key pieces returning to the lineup, but I think when we look towards how excellent the Flames have been in all areas of the game this season, they hold some strong value skating here at plus money.
Vegas has been considerably easier to break down defensively this season than the Flames, and Calgary isn’t likely to let Vegas score its way out of it if it can manage to get a few past Robin Lehner.
Jacob Markstrom has been in tremendous form as well, and he offers another advantage to the Flames here.
My opinion on this matchup certainly could change by the postseason, but for Sunday night I think the value lies on the Flames at +105, and I would play them down to -110.
Pick: Calgary Flames +105 | Play to -110