Wild vs. Flames Odds & Prediction: Target Wednesday’s Total
Leah Hennel/Getty Images. Pictured: Nazem Kadri
- The Wild and Flames meet on Wednesday night in Calgary
- Calgary is favored despite Minnesota owning the better record between the two.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
Wild vs. Flames Odds
|Over/Under||6 (-115 / -105)
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Looking to win their fifth in a row, the Minnesota Wild head up to Alberta on Wednesday to take on the Calgary Flames. The Wild have managed to fare very well after a rough start to their season, standing third in the Central.
While they have won two in a row, the Flames are underperforming this season in the standings. They’ve gone 5-4-1 in their last 10 games and are in a battle for the wild card with five other teams.
Will Minnesota continue its streak? Or will Calgary send its fans home happy?
Minnesota has a deep team led by Russian sensation Kirill Kaprizov, who has 32 points in 24 games. He’s been one of the league’s top players since last year, and he’s not looking back.
Behind him is Mats Zuccarello who is averaging a point per game and Joel Eriksson Ek, who isn’t that far behind. The Wild have also received top-notch production from youngster Matthew Boldy, who is one of the leagues budding young stars.
The Wild have a pretty decent even strength attack as they stand at 13th in expected goals with a 51.53 xGF%. What’s interesting, though, is that they don’t generate a ton of high danger chances (8.3 per game), but they make up for it with their exceptional power play — scoring at a 25.6% pace.
Defensively, they’re one of the best in the league. Minnesota would be a much worse team had it had a worse defense since the goaltending is so subpar. Its xGA/60 is third best at 2.2 and the penalty kill is great at 80.8%.
Marc-Andre Fleury has had a rough go this season as he battles with inconsistencies. The former Vezina winner hasn’t had a game with over a .900 SV% since November 15th, and yet the wins keep coming. This season, the man they call “Flower” is playing to a -4.6 goals saved above expected (GSAx) and an .895 SV% this season.
Calgary has such an even squad and it’s quite deep. Both Nazem Kadri and Elias Lindholm lead the team in scoring with 19 points each, while Tyler Toffoli isn’t far behind with 18 points. The Flames have also gotten exceptional production out of youngster Adam Ruzicka, who has scored 13 points in 15 games.
While the Flames don’t have many high scorers, they have managed to split the wealth. It’s transitioned to their team play as they have one of the higher expected goals percentage at 52.28. Despite that, they haven’t generated a ton of high danger chances, which is not surprising since their power play isn’t that great, scoring at a 20% pace.
On the backend, Calgary is playing to a seventh-best 2.42 xGA/60. The penalty kill isn’t bad, either, as it succeeds around 80% of the time.
What was once a major strength is now a weakness for the Flames. Jacob Markstrom was a Vezina candidate last year but is now playing to a terrible .889 SV% and a -0.1 GSAx. Backup Dan Vladar is enjoying a much better season, but I think Markstrom gets the nod since Vladar played the last two games.
Wild vs. Flames Pick
This one is interesting because my first thought is to target the total. The Flames are very prone to have games under six goals, but the Wild consistently are in games that are significantly higher than that. What makes me think the under is the way to go is how potent each team’s defense is. Sure, the goaltending has been rough on both sides, but I think their defense can hold strong.
Minnesota is one of the least-disciplined teams and finds its way to the penalty box far too often. However Minnesota’s penalty kill is very strong, and Calgary’s power play has been fairly dull this season as opposed to last year.
I’m expecting a low-scoring game tonight and am backing the under here.
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