The Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers are scheduled for two games beginning on Thursday night at Rogers Place. The Oilers are on a back-to-back after a 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets in Winnipeg. Mikko Koskinen came up big with 29 saves on 30 shots for a 0.967 save percentage. The Oilers have a good thing going between Koskinen and Mike Smith between the pipes.
They have a decent 1-2 punch in the crease, which is required in a season that has seen a lot of back-to-back situations. Overworking one goaltender isn’t going to turn into much success late in the season. Smith has been the better of the two, but Koskinen looked sharp for the Oilers at MTS Place in Winnipeg last night.
The Oilers head home to welcome a Flames team that should be well-rested after having the last two nights off. Calgary is coming off a 2-1 loss against the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night. It was a tight grind it out defensive style of game. Jacob Markstrom faced only 24 shots, and Jake Allen of the Canadiens had 22 shots to deal with. Allen was able to hang on a little more than Markstrom.
Calgary has been just kind of blah this season. They haven’t been able to get into any kind of groove and fail to excel at anything. The Flames are just kind of there this season. They head to Edmonton with a record of 21-24-3 and 45 points in the North Division. Don’t get on the Flames riding a late push to get into the playoffs. We haven’t seen sustained energy or effort from them for more than a couple of weeks, so why expect it now?
It doesn’t help that Noah Hanifin is OUT for the rest of the season. Hanifin requires season-ending surgery and will not be available on the blue line the rest of the year. If they go into Edmonton with no zip in their step against their rival, who is on a back-to-back, then just close the curtain on the Flames. Head below for our free Flames vs. Oilers pick on April 29, 2021.
Calgary Flames vs. Edmonton Oilers NHL Betting Odds:
Flames vs. Oilers Prediction:
Mike Smith is slated to get the start between the pipes for the Oilers tonight. He’s been in good form with a 2.32 GAA and 0.923 save percentage. For a 39-year-old, the Oilers are getting more than they expected from Smith this season. He’s playing more like he did in 2011-2013 with the Arizona Coyotes. The guy is looking a lot younger than he really is out there in the crease.
He’s not that far off from his career-high GAA of 2.21 from the 2011-12 campaign. Note that in four of his last five outings, Smith has allowed 1 or no goals. He’s done the same in four of his previous six performances. Overall, the Oilers have been solid with 2.7 goals against per game for 11th in the NHL. Most importantly, the Oilers are showing improvement in that regard recently.
In their previous ten showings, they’ve conceded only 2 goals per game. The Oilers should be able to handle a Calgary offense that has netted a measly 2.17 goals per game on the road this season. And overall in 2021, the Flames have been mediocre with 2.6 goals against per game for 25th in the league. They can point to the injury to Hanifin, but what the Flames have really lacked is a spark plug on offence.
The Flames’ defence has been playing adequate through the last ten games. They’ve allowed an average of 2.4 goals per game, with Jacob Markstrom in the crease most of the time. The former Canuck has been okay with a 2.73 GAA and 0.903 save percentage this season. He’s allowed more than 2 goals in only one of his last eight contests.
Markstrom hasn’t been the problem for the Flames. He blanked the Oilers on April 10 with 17 saves in a 5-0 win. The Oilers won on April 2, 3-2, and then the Flames responded a week later for a nice 5-0 victory. I like a more competitive game than their most recent affair, but a 3-2 final would still keep this one UNDER the total.