NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Flames vs. Penguins (November 29)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images. Pictured: Sidney Crosby
Flames vs. Penguins Odds
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
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We’ve got a goaltending showdown on tap at the Saddledome on Monday. Shutout champ Jacob Markstrom is expected to defend his title against upstart Tristan Jarry when the Calgary Flames host the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Both teams are coming off losses on Saturday night.
Here’s what bettors need to know and where the smart money lies.
On Monday, the Penguins are kicking off a five-game road trip in Calgary. Two nights earlier, their five-game winning streak was snapped in a 6-3 loss to the Montreal Canadiens — but that doesn’t mean the scoring floodgates have suddenly opened.
With Pittsburgh on a back-to-back, Casey DeSmith was in net instead of Jarry against Montreal. He actually kept his team close until the very end, with three of the Canadiens’ six goals scored into the empty net.
Before Saturday, Jarry pitched three shutouts and gave up just two goals in total through the five-game winning streak. His overall Save Percentage during those games was .986, and .939 on High-Danger Opportunities.
Jarry has been tremendous, and the team in front of him has been creating a pretty sound defensive environment for him to work within.
The Penguins are also starting this road trip as healthy as they’ve been all season. The team is close to full strength, with Evgeni Malkin still on the shelf as he recovers from knee surgery and Bryan Rust now on injured reserve after missing the last two games with a lower body issue.
Eight games into his return from the Covid protocol list, Sidney Crosby has started to find his touch. He either scored or assisted on all four of the Penguins’ goals in their last two games. His linemates, Jake Guentzel and Evan Rodrigues, are Pittsburgh’s top two scorers. Rodrigues has four points in his team’s last four games.
Now that they’re healthy, the Penguins’ team structure is strong. Pittsburgh ranks second in the league in Expected Goals at 55.38% and second in High-Danger Scoring Opportunities at 55.64%.
Pittsburgh’s penalty kill is outstanding, with a league-leading 90.9% Success Rate. The power play has struggled but did tally a goal against Montreal.
On Saturday, Calgary failed to earn at least a point for the first time in eight games in a 4-2 home loss to Winnipeg. With one of the Jets’ goals scored into the empty net, Jacob Markstrom let three pucks get past him for the first time since Nov. 11.
Calgary’s defending has been the big storyline this season, fueled by Markstrom’s five shutouts and the team’s league-low 2.00 goals against per game. Penalty Killing is also second-best in the league, behind only Pittsburgh, so don’t expect a lot of special teams fireworks on Monday night.
The Flames can also put the puck in the net. They rank eighth in Expected Goals per 60 at 5-on-5 and seventh on the Power Play. Andrew Mangiapane had led the way with 15 goals, while the top line of Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk and Elias Lindholm are all at 19 points or better.
Penguins vs. Flames Pick
In late October, the Flames skated out of Pittsburgh with a 4-0 shutout win, wrapping up a 5-0-0 Eastern road trip and serving notice that they’d be a team to reckon with this season.
A month later, Calgary is still playing well, but Pittsburgh is now right there with them. With Sidney Crosby now starting to show signs of life offensively, a goaltending duel is not necessarily guaranteed on Monday.
At +125 on the moneyline, Pittsburgh is an enticing bet if you think Jarry can deliver more strong play.
Pick: Penguins +125; play down to +110