Flames vs. Oilers NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Back Calgary to Snag Victory Against Edmonton (Jan. 22)
Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Calgary Flames teammates Matthew Tkachuk, center, celebrates a goal with Johnny Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm.
- Calgary and Edmonton meet on Saturday in the latest Battle of Alberta.
- Both the Flames and Oilers have cooled off from hot starts, so which team holds more value tonight?
- Greg Liodice breaks down the game and gives his top pick, below.
Flames vs. Oilers Odds
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Battle of Alberta. A matchup that hockey fans of the Canadian province had circled on their calendar once the schedule was released.
Both teams were riding high in the beginning of the NHL season, but have had a sudden fall from grace, placing outside the playoff positioning. They only played one game against each other — the first game of the season, with Edmonton coming on top. Perhaps the winner of the potentially heated bout Saturday can catapult it back to its winning ways.
Calgary is coming off a convincing victory against a talented Florida squad, but beforehand it found itself in the “L” column more often than not. In their last 10 games, the Flames were extinguished, going 3-6-1 in the process. They’ll look to make it two wins in a row in this matchup.
I’m sure we all know the Edmonton Oilers drama by now. From the Dave Tippett/Mikko Koskinen debacle to the Leon Draisaitl vs. The Media sideshow. To losing four consecutive games and going 2-6-2 over their last 10 outings, it’s been a mess in Northern Alberta.
The Oilers were demolished, 6-0, against Florida in Thursday’s game and hope this matchup against their rival will help them moving forward.
Calgary has a strong foundation with a load of talent, which makes me think this poor stretch is an aberration. Led by Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, Elias Lindholm and Andrew Mangiapane, the Flames don’t have a hard time putting the puck in the net. There aren’t any glaring holes due to injuries either, but COVID-19 regulations could be stifling the team playing to its potential.
Despite this cold spell, the Flames are still generating offense well. Their expected goals per 60 minutes stands at 12th with a 2.55 xGF/60 and are 16th in creating high-danger chances. With their solid front end talent, they find a lot of success on the power play as well, scoring at a 22.5% rate.
On the defensive end, the Flames are among the best. Calgary has held oppositions to the third-least amount of high-danger chances, as well as the third least amount of goals allowed. Needless to say, Daryl Sutter is one of the better coaches and has helped the Flames become a quality defensive team.
Jacob Markstrom has had himself a wonderful season after a disappointing first season in southern Alberta. The Swede is posting exceptional numbers with a .926 SV% and a 10.5 GSAx (Goals Saved Above Expected). His backup, Daniel Vladar hasn’t seen the ice much, but is a serviceable backup with a .910 SV% and a -1.0 GSAx.
A number of things can be attributed to the Oilers struggles. They’re missing key forwards like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zach Hyman, goaltending hasn’t been great and they haven’t gotten a ton of depth scoring as of late.
Everyone knows Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are two of the best players in the league, and youngsters like Jesse Puljujarvi and Evan Bouchard have produced well. However, it’s simply not enough given the expectations that everyone has set for them.
With their downfall in the standings, they’re also experiencing a downfall in their expected goals. Edmonton’s done an awful job at creating offense even with McDavid and Draisaitl with a 2.42 xGF/60 and have generated the 10th least amount of high-danger chances.
Their power play has also suffered. Once it had a strong lead as the No. 1 power play, they’ve finally fallen behind Toronto and St. Louis with a 29.4% power play.
Defensively, the Oilers could be better, but could be worse. They stand in the middle of both high-danger chances allowed and goals conceded. The blue line isn’t their problem; it’s what behind them that is an issue.
Mike Smith and Stuart Skinner will both be unavailable due to injury and COVID-19 protocols, respectively. That leaves Mikko Koskinen to take the crease tonight. Koskinen and head coach Dave Tippett clashed a few weeks ago and it hasn’t made things easier in the locker room. The lanky Finn is struggling big time with an .895 SV% and a -9.2 GSAx.
Flames vs. Oilers Pick
The situation in Edmonton is a mess, so I expect Calgary to have its way with the host side. The Flames’ struggles will be corrected eventually, but for Oilers, the only way they will get better is once they get healthy.
The Flames are also one of the best defensive teams with an exceptional goaltending tandem, while the Oilers have struggled to put the puck in the net.
I’m backing the Flames in the Battle of Alberta.
Pick: Calgary (-110)
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