NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Penguins vs. Flames Pick, Best Bet (October 25)
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Penguins vs. Flames Odds
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
We have a great matchup on Tuesday night as the Pacific Division’s Calgary Flames host the Metropolitan Division’s Pittsburgh Penguins. Last season, the under hit in both of the meetings between these two clubs.
Will we get another low-scoring affair, or can the scoring pick up this time around?
Penguins’ Offense Ready to Support DeSmith
The Pittsburgh Penguins enter this matchup on the second half of a back-to-back after a 6-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers. Monday’s game was yet another high-scoring contest for the Penguins as the over is now 5-1 through their first six games.
Since they are on the second half of a back-to-back, backup goaltender Casey DeSmith is projected to take the crease for Pittsburgh. In his lone start this year, DeSmith stopped 36 of 39 shots for a .923 SV% against the Montreal Canadiens.
However, there are reasons to expect a less successful outing for DeSmith on Tuesday. First of all, Calgary is an entirely different beast in terms of offense than Montreal. In his one career start against the Flames, DeSmith surrendered four goals on 35 shots for a .886 SV%.
Secondly, his underlying metrics are a concern despite a solid season last year. While DeSmith’s surface-level stats were good for a rotational goalie, he produced -0.01 goals saved above expected per 60 minutes (GSAx/60) at 5v5, which would have ranked 20th among starting goaltenders if he would have qualified.
That being said, he should get plenty of goal support in this contest as Pittsburgh’s offense has been on fire to start the year. At 5v5, the Penguins rank second in the league in expected goals for per 60 minutes (xGF/60). Looking like the Hart Trophy winner of old, Sidney Crosby has the boys buzzing to start the season with 11 points through the first six games.
Flames on Fire
Coming off two days of rest, the Calgary Flames will look for a second straight win in this contest. Through the first five games of the year, the over is 3-2 in Calgary games and will likely be 4-2 after this game.
The Flames’ offense has not missed a beat despite the departures of Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau over the off-season, thanks in part to the acquisitions of Nazem Kadri, Jonathan Huberdeau, and MacKenzie Weegar. At 5v5, Calgary ranks 11th in the league in xGF/60.
However, their defense has underperformed, as they rank just 17th in the league in expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA/60). Backing up this defense is goaltender Jacob Markstrom, who has not been as sharp as usual to start the season.
Through four appearances between the pipes, Markstrom possesses a .882 SV%. Among starting goaltenders, he ranks just 27th in GSAx/60 at 5v5.
Typically one of the league’s better goaltenders, I am not worried at all about Markstrom figuring it out as the season progresses. However, a game against the high-powered Pittsburgh Penguins may not be the spot for that to occur.
Penguins vs. Flames Pick
A big storyline for Pittsburgh entering this game is the health of forward Jake Guentzel, who has missed each of the last two games with an upper-body injury. He is officially questionable for this contest, but we should not be worried about his absence impacting the game total as the over has still hit in each of the two games he missed.
Stepping up to play in his role has been winger Danton Heinen, who has done the job effortlessly with two goals over those two games. To be fair, he plays alongside Sid, and any winger could pot 30 goals in a season playing alongside the future Hall of Famer.
In this contest, we have two offensively dominant teams going against each other with a backup goaltender taking the crease for Pittsburgh and a struggling Markstrom on the other side, which makes the over the best bet on the board.
Pick: Over 6.5 (-125) | Play up to (-135)