NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Flames vs. Penguins (October 28)
Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Johnny Gaudreau.
Flames vs. Penguins Odds
|Over/Under||6 (-105 / -115)|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Thursday’s matchup will be a fun one, as both the Calgary Flames and Pittsburgh Penguins have started the season with something to prove.
On Tuesday night, the Flames throttled the Devils 5-3. They dominated out of the gate, leading New Jersey 4-0 in the 1st period, and forcing the Devils to switch goalies.
Many believe the Flames’ exceptional play is a result of coach Darryl Sutter taking over the helm. While it may be true, Calgary has a ton of talent that you can’t overlook.
While Tuesday was kind to the Flames, the same can’t be said for the Penguins. Although they have been performing well lately, they ran into the brick wall that is the defending champs.
Pittsburgh has been missing three of its top players in captain Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang, but it’s not letting their absences deter them.
Dominant Offense Helping Flames
The Flames are, in a way, on fire (pardon the pun). After losing their first two games, they have gotten on track and won four straight.
While he hasn’t scored a goal, Johnny Gaudreau has been a key distributor with eight assists.
Meanwhile, Andrew Mangiapane and Elias Lindholm are the NHL’s top goal scorers with seven each. Last season was a disappointment for both, but they are looking to right their wrongs this year.
Calgary has been elite on the offensive side so far. The Flames are one of the top-10 teams in driving play, posting a 52.63 expected goals rate (xGF%).
On top of that, they are also a top-10 team on the power play, with a 29.4% conversion rate.
It’s hard not to be bullish on the Flames. Despite losing their captain Mark Giordano to Seattle, they have sneaky good talent and can surprise many this year.
Jacob Markstrom is back to his usual self. Many felt after his disappointing first year in Calgary, that he may have been a bust, but Markstrom clawed back and is posting exceptional numbers so far.
With a .936 SV% and 1.8 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx), the towering Swede is giving Calgary fans a reason to finally trust their net-minder.
Pens Still Shining Without Top Players
Pittsburgh has had an unexpectedly good start to the season. When a team is missing its top players, one would think there would be some issues.
Nevertheless, coach Mike Sullivan always knows how to get the best out of his players. There’s been tremendous production from Danton Heinen,Drew O’Connor and Evan Rodrigues, while Marcus Pettersson and John Marino have been stalwarts on the blue line.
Similar to their counterparts, the Pens continue to be a top team in expected goals with an xGF% of 55.69.
While their power play has lacked, their penalty kill is what they have prided themselves on. The boys in black & gold have the second best PK in the league at 93.33%.
With the rate the Penguins are playing without their top players, one can only imagine how they will be when their leading players are back.
Goaltending has been perfectly fine for Pittsburgh. Many wondered if Tristan Jarry would be able to bounce back after the Islanders embarrassed him in the playoffs last year.
This season, he doesn’t seem to be phased with a .933 SV% and a 4.1 GSAx.
Penguins fans have a lot to be hopeful about. This team isn’t going to be erased from the Eastern Conference elite without a fight.
Penguins vs. Flames Pick
This will be a fun game to track since both teams have started above everyone’s expectations.
It’ll also be interesting to see who wins the power play/penalty kill battle. Pittsburgh’s top PK vs. Calgary’s exceptional PP could set up for an exciting game.
I do expect both goalies to play well, and I’m confident in both of these teams. However, Calgary’s weapons may be too much for Pittsburgh until their big three comes back.
Pick: Calgary Flames at +100.