Not a big card tonight on the docket, but there are usually a couple of good noteworthy games to take note of. Spoiler: the Buffalo Sabres vs. Toronto Maple Leafs is not one of those games. In fact, the winner of that game is truly the loser. It is an epic battle of who can play poorly enough to lose and get a better pick in the draft. The Sabres record wise have been one of the biggest dumpster fires in the NHL, but overall given the circumstances of everything I think that award should go to the Leafs. Enough of them, I feel like I go on Leaf tangents far too often as I am a bitter fan myself. The other two games on the schedule provide a little more intrigue than the Sabres and Leafs do anyway. First up is the Rangers and Capitals. The Rangers are fresh off a big win against the Islanders last night, a game in which we cashed in on. They were able to extract their stingy defense to eek by the Isles by a score of 2-1. You can’t call the Rangers a dark horse in the playoffs, but they aren’t getting much attention nationally, and in my opinion, are a better team that made it to the Stanley Cup finals a short time ago. They previously didn’t have the offense to go along with their defense, but now that they do, they are a fairly dangerous team moving forward.
Tonight, though, for my pick, I am going to turn my attention to the west coast in Calgary. Speaking of a dark horse, the Flames are a true dark horse that has made some noise already. Heading into tonight the Flames are 36-25-3-2. Did you read that correctly? Yes, the Flames are 36-25-3-2 and fully in playoff contention. This is an organization that made some good moves after they lost their core group of players a few years ago, but now are heading in the upward position. It is up for debate, but the Flames may very well be the 2nd best team in Canada next to the Montreal Canadiens. They’ll have another west coast team on deck for them tonight, as the Ducks make the trip up north to Calgary. The Ducks have been the model of consistency the last ten years, and once again, are hanging around the top of the NHL again this season. Let’s look for another winning pick tonight in Calgary.
Anaheim Ducks @ Calgary Flames
I opened my writeup last night noting how similar the Islanders and Rangers are statistically and in the standings. I am going to lean that way again and bring up the same argument. The Ducks do have an edge on the Flames in the standings department with a record of 42-19-2-5. Come on if you had to take a stab at where the Ducks would be at this point in the season that would probably be it. Not the case for the Flames where I think they have definitely exceeded expectations. The Ducks have been playing great hockey on the defensive end lately. That is what got them that Cup when Randy Carlyle was the head coach, and that’ll need to be for the formula for success again. Over the last ten games they allowed 2.20 goals per game while scoring 2.80 per game. Offensively that falls right in line with their offensive output on the season where they are scoring 2.81 goals a game.
The Flames are right there as well, scoring 2.83 goals per game, and in their last ten games they’ve scored 2.80 goals a game, same as the Ducks. Like I said there are similarities between the Ducks and Flames despite the Ducks getting the nod in the standings, which at the end of the day, is the only thing that matters. The Ducks also get the nod in this particular series. They have thoroughly dominated them. In their last 30 meetings the Ducks are 22-9. Furthermore, the Ducks have won three straight over the Flames, and they are 4-1 in their last five games played against one another. In conclusion, I give the nod to the Ducks tonight to win and provide us with another winner and fifth straight.
PICK: DUCKS TO WIN (-126) 5DIMES.EU – BEST ODDS