NHL Playoffs Game 5 Odds, Preview, Prediction: Oilers vs. Flames (May 26)
Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Connor McDavid (center).
- The Flames, down 3-1, are looking to extend the series with a win over the Oilers.
- Calgary entered the series as the favorites, but it's been Edmonton that's dominated so far.
- Carol Schram shares her best bet below.
Oilers vs. Flames Game 5 Odds
|Time||9:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Can the Calgary Flames extend the Battle of Alberta?
After dropping a pair of games in Edmonton, the Flames return to the Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday with their season on the line, down 3-1 and hoping to earn a win to extend the series.
But the Oilers won’t make it easy as they’ve ridden historic performances from Connor McDavid and Evander Kane to three straight wins. One more victory will put them into the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2006.
Where does the smart money lie? Here’s the latest on both teams and your best bet for the game.
Let’s start with Edmonton’s top line. With 11 points in four games against Calgary so far, Connor McDavid leads the playoff scoring race with 25 points in 11 games. Last season, Nikita Kucherov of Tampa Bay was the only player to beat that total in the entire postseason — he had 32 points in 23 games.
McDavid is averaging 2.27 points per game and there’s only one player in NHL history who has produced at a higher rate over a sample of more than five games in a playoff year. Another Oiler, Wayne Gretzky, did it four times — peaking with 47 points in 18 games in 1985, the year the Oilers won their second Stanley Cup.
Then, you’ve got Kane — a mid-season addition who has taken full advantage of his spot on McDavid’s line. With five goals in his past two games against Calgary, he’s now up to 12 goals in 11 postseason games. The all-time record belongs to yet another Oiler, Jari Kurri, who had 19 goals in 18 playoff games in 1985.
The Oilers are producing at a historic pace, but if you look under the hood, they’re losing the possession game at 5-on-5 in this series. They’re being outshot by an average of five shots per game and their special teams results are weaker than Calgary’s. They’re also getting killed in the faceoff circle, winning only 43.9% of their draws.
But Edmonton is winning the battle in net. At 40 years old, Mike Smith ranks second among goalies still alive in the playoffs with 10.1 goals saved above expected to go along with his .931 save percentage. Against Calgary, he’s at -1.00 goals saved above expected and has served up some monster gaffes. But that has been good enough. Smith hasn’t dwelt on his mistakes and his tough moments haven’t shaken the overall confidence of his team.
The Flames came into this series as prohibitive favorites. But their only victory so far was that tumultuous 9-6 win in Game 1 where they squandered a 6-1 lead before finally putting the Oilers away.
Back in front of their home fans on Thursday, with their season on the line, the Flames and coach Darryl Sutter would love to play to the identity that served them so well during the regular season — structured and disciplined, limiting chances and relying on great goaltending.
Whether it’s due to fatigue at the end of a long season, an undisclosed injury issue or succumbing to the pressure of the big playoff stage, first-time Vezina Trophy nominee Jacob Markstrom has not played up to his standards in this series — a sudden twist of fate after he was able to outduel Dallas’ Jake Oettinger in Round 1.
Over the past four games, Markstrom has a 5.28 goals-against average, .850 save percentage and -9.02 goals saved above expected in all situations.
Calgary’s goaltending has undone what has been some solid 5-on-5 play. And the Flames’ offensive stars, led by Johnny Gaudreau, haven’t been able to keep pace with McDavid and company.
Calgary is dominating every metric except the one that matters most: 11 goals for, 15 goals against.
Oilers vs. Flames Pick
Despite the Flames’ issues over the past three games, the oddsmakers are firmly in their corner for Game 5. At -150 on the moneyline as of Wednesday night, they’re being assigned a 60% chance of picking up the win and extending the series to at least a Game 6.
If you’re looking strictly at advanced stats and juicing the odds a bit with home-ice advantage, that’s a fair assumption.
But McDavid is doing something for the Oilers right now that hasn’t been done in nearly 40 years. Analysts really don’t have pre-existing data that aligns with his next-level play. To make matters worse for Flames fans, we haven’t seen anything in this series to suggest Markstrom can suddenly find his groove with his team backed up against the wall.
Edmonton has won the past three games by multi-goal margins, so it wouldn’t be excessive to play the Oilers on the puck line on Thursday.
However, there’s very good value to be had on the moneyline, backing the squad with all the momentum to finish the job and punch its ticket to Round 3.
Pick: Oilers moneyline (+135); play down to +110
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