The Calgary Flames fresh off a win against the Dallas Stars, will try and make it back-to-back big ones over heavyweights in the NHL. With the 4-3 shootout win over the Stars behind them, the Flames look to denounce the Boston Bruins tonight. The Bruins who got off to a slow start, have looked more Bruin like of late. They lost their last one against the Oilers in a shootout but previously won five games beforehand. The Bruins enter with a record of 13-8-1-1 to put themselves in a much better position than where they were. The defense and Rask were getting torched with regularity. Taking an OVER in a Bruins game was free money. Now that the defense has begun to settle in, the Bruins have been settling in as a team. They have a young defense for the most part, Chara notwithstanding, so it was predictable that it was going to take some time for them to mold together as a unit. Losing such players as Milan Lucic who were staples in the Bruins lineup for so long, took some getting used to as well. There was no need for them to go into panic mode this early in the season and now they have asserted themselves as a good team.
Do I think the Bruins are Stanley Cup contenders? No, they will provide some decent play during the regular season, but I don’t think they are going to be up for a big playoff run. They didn’t add anything from last year, only subtracted in my opinion. Still a decent team, but not a Stanley Cup team. I think with some good moves in ensuing years they could. For right now they just need to continue to focus on getting better and making sure their five game winning streak doesn’t go to waste. Too often teams have nice runs then throw it all away with a poor one after. Losing to the Oilers and Flames would be a pretty awful way to follow up the success they just had. But the Flames have to be feeling good about their last win over the 1st place Stars. However, they can’t be feeling too thrilled over the way this season has gone. Just a few months ago in the 2014-15 season the Flames were battling the Anaheim Ducks in the playoffs. They now are looking at 9-14-1. It’s just the defense has been so bad for the Flames that they haven’t been able to get anything going. In net it’s a meeting of Finnish goaltenders, with Tuukka Rask and Karri Ramo facing off.
Boston Bruins vs. Calgary Flames NHL Pick
There is no disputing who the better goalie is here. Though Rask hasn’t been spectacular with a 2.87 GAA, the defense has a whole has been improving on from earlier this season. Note the 2.87 goals against this season, but in their last ten games they have allowed an average of 2.20 goals per game. That is Bruins hockey. None of this 3+ goals allowed consistently. Conversely, the Flames haven’t showed much improvement defensively. On the season Calgary is last in the NHL in goals against, 3.56 goals per game. In their last ten games they have given up 3.10 goals a game.
The offense was scoring only 2.20 goals as well, so despite the win over the Stars, the latest evidence on the Flames hasn’t looked great. This season they have scored 2.36 goals per game for 22nd in the NHL. The Bruins are 3rd in the league with 3.22 goals a game. So, the defense has been shaky but the offense has been playing well. Lately, though, as I have just noted, the defense has been better. Rask has an excellent track record against the Flames, posting a 1.55 GAA in five appearances. Ramo has an overall 3.01 GAA and whopping 3.70 GAA in three games against the Bruins. To me the price should be higher in this game. Looks fishy but everything points to a Bruins victory.
PICK: BRUINS TO WIN -113