Flames vs. Oilers Game 3 Preview: Expect Plenty of Goals From Both Offenses
Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Connor McDavid #97 of the Edmonton Oilers.
- Game 3 between the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames is set for Sunday night.
- There are plenty of reasons to expect a high-scoring affair in this game as our analyst details below.
- Continue reading for Nick Martin's breakdown and best bet.
Flames vs. Oilers Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Through the opening two contests, the battle of Alberta has entirely lived up to the hype and Edmonton returns home having garnered a split in Calgary.
The Oilers managed a multi-goal comeback in Game 2 as they scored four consecutive goals on route to a 5-3 win.
What can we expect as the series shifts to Rogers Place?
Flames coach Darryl Sutter will be preaching the need for his group to clean up its defensive play after a Game 2 in which the Flames gave up five goals (prior to the empty net) and a wealth of high quality scoring chances.
Calgary allowed 5.72 expected goals against in that contest and although Jacob Markstrom clearly let some soft goals by in the first game of the series, Game 2 was far from his fault.
I believe we will see the Flames find a way to tighten things up, but they do have some concerns, which may prove hard to hide against this elite Oilers offense.
Chris Tanev has proven to be the Flames top defender this season and his absence over the past three contests has been quite a concern. His status for Game 3 remains unclear, but it seems Tanev will be unlikely to play to his usual standard.
The trio of Michael Stone, Erik Gudbranson and Nikita Zadorov has been surprisingly solid on the back-end this postseason, but I do feel that altogether the Flames have some defenders ill equipped to skate with the Oilers talented offensive core and that Edmonton will find it’s chances all series long.
The Flames have generated a ton of offensive opportunities through the first two games of the series with a notably high expected goals against per/60 mark of 4.34.
Edmonton holds little in the way of truly elite defenders, particularly as Darnell Nurse is clearly fighting through a significant injury. I think it’s very reasonable to think we should see Calgary continue to generate a ton of chances.
The Flames spectacular top unit of Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm and Matthew Tkachuk has combined for 12 points throughout the first two games of this series and will likely continue to find great results.
Calgary’s middle two lines hold a lot of capable scoring talent as well and will be skating in lots of winnable matchups at even strength. It’s hard for me to imagine the Oilers keeping this Flames group to lower offensive totals in this series.
Jacob Markstrom has had a solid start to the playoffs with a +4.3 goals saved above expected rating and a .915 save % through nine games. He clearly had a poor showing in Game 1 against Edmonton, but was far from the Flames biggest problem in Game 2.
Connor McDavid’s play in this postseason has been utterly unbelievable and the Oilers’ Captain has now managed 20 points through the opening nine games.
The Oilers are surely finding some offensive support outside of McDavid, but it has been abundantly clear that he’s the main reason Edmonton has survived into round two and managed a split against Calgary.
Zach Hyman has been spectacular as well and Leon Draisaitl has been impressively productive considering the fact that he is playing through a significant lower-body injury.
Offensively, the Oilers should remain productive, particularly if the power play can continue to trend upward, which is a reasonable expectation based upon what we saw over 82 games in the regular season.
The main concern for me will always be Mike Smith, who has been far from good in the opening two games of this series, during which he has played to an .880 save %.
Flames vs. Oilers Pick
There are several narratives at play in this series which make me believe the games will continue to be of the higher scoring variety.
Mike Smith still looks really leaky and it’s very hard for me to see this Oilers team insulating him enough to prevent consistently strong offensive totals from the Flames.
The Oilers have some very gettable players on the back-end and I feel we will continue to see Calgary expose pieces such as Duncan Keith.
However, Edmonton is very capable of hiding those flaws with its tremendous offensive play, particularly as Connor McDavid continues to put together one of the greatest postseason runs in recent history.
It’s realistic to think Edmonton’s power play will show closer to what we saw in Game 2 than in Game 1 and we should see the Oilers consistently generate lethal scoring opportunities with the man advantage on Jacob Markstrom, who has certainly been in sub-par form so far.
I think seeing Calgary’s defense, as well as the play of Markstrom, stabilize moving forward is logical, but there are still clearly several reasons why we should see another high-scoring game Sunday.
Pick: Over 6.5 -130 (Play 6.5 to -150)
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