NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Senators vs. Flames

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Senators vs. Flames article feature image

Bailey Hillesheim/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jacob Markstrom.

  • A red-hot Senators side hits the road to face the Flames on Sunday night.
  • The home side is favored, but our expert is targeting the total in this matchup instead.
  • Continue reading for Ryan Dadoun's best bet and analysis.

Senators vs. Flames Odds

Senators Odds+146
Flames Odds-178
Time9 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Flames are still in the playoff picture, but they've been fading fast with a 5-7-4 record over their last 16 games.

With the Senators just as hot as Calgary is cold, will the Flames' woes continue when these two squads do battle Sunday?

The must-have app for NHL bettors

The best NHL betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Senators' Lack of Depth Holding Them Back

The Senators can be summed up in a word: average.

That's not to say the team is loaded with mediocre players. Tim Stutzle, Brady Tkachuk and Claude Giroux each have more than 25 goals and at least 65 points this season, making them a pretty strong top-three forward group. Ottawa also has Drake Batherson and Alex DeBrincat, both of whom have more than 50 points.

Even with those great forwards though, Ottawa entered Saturday tied for 15th offensively with 3.16 goals per game this season. The reality is that Ottawa is a team that can send out two strong lines but hasn't developed much around them, which has combined to create a middling product.

Ottawa's goaltending is similarly just OK — or at least it usually is. The Senators have also allowed 3.16 goals per game this season, which puts them in 16th defensively.

The problem is Ottawa's currently missing its top two netminders in Cam Talbot (lower body) and Anton Forsberg (knee). This will also be the Senators' second game in as many days, with Mads Sogaard projected to start Saturday.

That leaves Kevin Mandolese as the likely goaltender to face Calgary. Mandolese, 22, has all of two games of NHL experience. He did hold his own in those contests, posting a 2.45 goals against average (GAA) and .938 save percentage, but it's still a small sample size. At the AHL level, he has a 3.32 GAA and an .889 save percentage in 15 appearances this season.

Flames Offense Not Hot

If there's a silver lining for Ottawa, it's that Calgary isn't well equipped to challenge an inexperienced goaltender. The Flames have averaged 3.03 goals per game this season, and they've scored a mere 1.75 goals per game over their last eight contests.

Jonathan Huberdeau in particular is struggling with two goals and four points over his last 10 contests. That gives him 12 goals and 42 points in 63 games overall this season, which is better than most but far less than what the Flames were hoping for after his 115-point campaign with Florida last season. Nazem Kadri has similarly regressed, going from 87 points in 71 games with Colorado last season to 47 points in 66 appearances with the Flames this year.

One of the few Flames forwards who has exceeded expectations is Tyler Toffoli. He's provided 28 goals and 55 points in 66 games, which is great on its own. The fact that he's leading Calgary's scoring race, though, is a little troubling, especially when compared to the Senators, who, as noted above, have three players with at least 65 points.

Jacob Markstrom isn't having a great campaign between the pipes either, posting a 17-18-9 record, 2.87 GAA and .893 save percentage in 45 games. At least he's been holding his own lately, providing a 2.52 GAA and a .912 save percentage over his last seven games.

Calgary will be looking for another strong game out of Markstrom because even if Ottawa sends out Mandolese to counter him, there's no guarantee that Markstrom will get much help from the Flames' forward core.

Senators vs. Flames Pick

The way I've described this game, you'd probably assume that Ottawa was favored to win, but FanDuel's moneyline is actually listing the Flames as pretty heavy favorites.

Calgary is likely in that position primarily due to three factors 1. The game is in Calgary; 2. Ottawa is in the second half of a back-to-back; 3. The Senators' aforementioned goaltending injuries. Those first two factors in particular are worthy of serious consideration. The Senators are just 14-15-2 on the road compared to  19-12-2 at home, and Calgary will be more rested.

Even still, with the way the Flames have struggled lately, I don't love the idea of betting on them. Instead, I'm going to bet the under of 6.5 goals. It's a risky move given the quality of the projected goaltending, but Markstrom has been doing fairly well lately, Calgary's forward core is cold and Ottawa's forwards will be tired, so this does have the makings of a low-scoring game.

Pick: Under 6.5 (-110; play down to -125)

How would you rate this article?

This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.