The Calgary Flames had such a nice season last year that many were hoping it would carry over into this season. That hasn’t been the case, at least not yet anyway. The Flames finished with a record of 45-30-7 last season. They also made the playoffs and won a series over the Vancouver Canucks, only to lose to the Ducks the following round. It was one of the most unlikely scenarios of the season. The Flames weren’t projected to even be fighting for a playoff spot, but they made it, and then won a game. With his newfound confidence, people were wondering if that was just a fluke thing, or if the Flames are for real. A successful season here would indicate it was no fluke. However, thus far, there have been no evidence of the team we seen a year ago. The Flames are now at 7-12-1. It looks like Calgary may hit the 30 loss total way before they did back then. Poor goaltending and defense is really what it has boiled down for the Flames. There is plenty of time to turn it around but I’m not seeing it. Credit to David Jones, though, who has played a good season, leading the team with 7 goals. At 31, he has been a bright spot in an otherwise slow start for the Flames.
The Blackhawks will be looking for their fourth straight victory tonight, as they have been paced by Duncan Keith and Pat Kane. Keeping Keith was critical for the Blackhawks in the offseason, as his departure would have spelt a huge hit to the blue line. They’ve managed to churn out a pretty nice start to the season, when many people were seeing their demise. Johnny Oduya is a pretty good player and everything but Toews, Hossa, Kane, and Keith are all still in Chicago. With that core, you can’t count the Blackhawks out. I wouldn’t be surprised if you see them making noise again in the playoffs this year. It looks like Scott Darling will be getting the start for the Hawks tonight, providing relief to Corey Crawford. Darling had some ice time in the playoffs last season, as they danced between him and Crawford in net. Crawford got hot and they rode him the rest of the way. Rarely does a team win a Stanley Cup when there is goaltending controversy in the middle of the playoffs. It usually ends in disaster, but the veteran Blackhawks kept their composure and pulled through. We’ll see how they do tonight in another west coast matchup.
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Calgary Flames NHL Pick
The Blackhawks played in a similar role as they did the other night against the Edmonton Oilers. The Hawks needed overtime to down the Oilers after blowing a 3-2 lead late in the contest. The Oilers have shown some life this season and will need to continue doing it without the services of Connor McDavid. The Blackhawks will fortunately have Patrick Kane throughout the entire season, as the rape charges have been dropped. It’s a good thing, because Kane has been on a roll, posting 13 goals and 17 assists. If anything, he looks more focused than ever. As a team, the Blackhawks are scoring 2.79 goals per game, which is 10th in the NHL.
The Flames have had trouble keeping the puck out of their own net. On the season Calgary is dead last in the NHL at 31st with 3.65 goals allowed per game. In comparison, they are behind the 30th ranked team, Blue Jackets, 3.65 to 3.30 so a pretty big discrepancy between the worst and second worst. The Flames are also 22nd in the league in goal scoring. No disrespect to David Jones, but when he is your leading goal scorer, there is a sign that the offense isn’t playing too well. Same bet as two nights ago, I like the Blackhawks to win once again out west in Alberta.
PICK: BLACKHAWKS TO WIN -150