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NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Senators vs. Flames (Jan. 13)

NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Senators vs. Flames (Jan. 13) article feature image
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David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markström.

  • The Flames are home favorites on Wednesday night against the Senators.
  • The underdog Senators will be shorthanded, but are the Flames overvalued?
  • Nicholas Martin breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.

Senators vs. Flames Odds

Senators Odds +195
Flames Odds -240
Over/Under 6
Time 9 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Ottawa will head to Calgary for just its second contest since Dec. 18, looking to get their messy season restarted with a positive result in Tuesday’s showdown.

However, it will be forced to play short some key pieces in this clash with the strong Flames.

Calgary will be desperate to get things back on track themselves, after three straight regulation losses on the dreaded Florida- North Carolina trip. Most recently, the club endured a tough-luck loss to the Hurricanes.

Calgary Flames

Certainly, the Flames three-game losing road trip was highly disappointing, and definitely somewhat of a comment that they’re just a tier below the top contenders in the East, but to me it still shouldn’t be sounding alarm bells.

Florida has posted an 18-3-0 record at home, and the Flames went from that loss to Tampa Bay to face the Lighting on a night where Nikita Kucherov made his return in front of a ramped-up home crowd. That came before playing against one of the league’s very best in Carolina the next night, where it actually dominated play for much of the game before falling apart.

That said, I see this as a spot for a still very strong Calgary side to come out with a strong sense of urgency and get things back on track against an Ottawa team it should comfortably outplay.

Led by one of the league’s very best lines in Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm and Matthew Tkachuk, Calgary has still controlled play at a strong rate with a 52.46 xGF% over its last 5 games. And I still believe this is a notably above-average club and that the group will be up for this one having seen its playoff status come more into question.

To me, this is the clear second-best team in the Pacific Division and I’m still of the belief the Flames will hold down that spot when all is said and done, although a spell of tougher circumstances has put them under the radar.

Outside of a possible absence to Jacob Markström, Calgary should enter this one at very close to full health.

Markström has been excellent, but the play of backup Dan Vladar has been very strong too, so a potential absense isn’t overly relevant.

Vladar has posted a  -1.0 goals saved above expected rating, with a .909 save % through nine games, but saw those marks notably gashed in that small sample in Tampa and Carolina, and has been better than they now suggest.

Ottawa Senators

The Senators have historically been quite resilient under head coach D.J. Smith. And although this game comes amidst horribly frustrating circumstances for a lottery bound group, I still expect the compete level to be there from this young team.

Yet, it’s surely hard to stay in sharp game form playing once over nearly a month, with that game being a 6-0 domination from one of the league’s best.

Ottawa had settled in to some more reasonable form prior to this frustrating layoff, with a 5-3-2 record in the month of December with a 47.35 xGF% that was a notable improvement compared to the beginning of the season, but to see them return in notably good form here would be impressive.

The hosts already hold a notably lesser group talent wise, particularly on the back end, and it’s hard for me to imagine them coming out and hanging in very well with a strong Calgary team that will certainly be far from disinterested.

The Senators will be without several relevant players, headlined by Tim Stutzle and Nikita Zaitsev, who both play notably high up the lineup for a team with limited depth.

It’s unclear who starts in goal, but Smith said Wednesday that Matt Murray has been good in practice, been intense and ready to go.

That’s a comment which makes me think they’ll probably try to go with their overpaid and struggling supposed No. 1 here, who has been shaky this season with a -5.5 goals saved above expected rating and an .883 save percentage.

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Flames vs. Senators Pick

With an 0-3-0 stretch on that brutal road swing having pushed a really strong Flames team back outside the Western Conference playoff picture, I love this as a spot for them to come out with a high level of urgency and dominate the short-handed Senators.

It’s safe to say teams have commonly come out with some less than sharp efforts coming out of longer than seven-day layoffs yet again, and this is an extreme set of circumstances. That’s on top of the fact Calgary is markedly better in all areas of the ice to begin with entering this affair.

As well, Vladar (or Markström) offer a notable goaltending edge over any Senators options, so should they again try to get Murray going, who has struggled for a large sample size.

I see value backing Calgary to cover -1.5 goals on the Puck Line at -110 odds. Also, I’m playing a Single Game Parlay combining the Flames ML with the total over six goals, which should sit around +186 on most sportsbooks.

Picks:  Calgary -1.5 (-110) | Parlay: Calgary ML & Total Over 6 Goals (+186 — Play to +165)

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