Flames vs. Canucks Pick – NHL April 17th

3 goals in the final minute last night of the Wild and Blues game. Not much else to say about that. I talked about a wild 5 minutes in their game last week, but last night was absolutely absurd and something I don’t wish on anybody. Hopefully we catch some breaks in our direction the rest of the way in the playoffs. The way it feels at the moment though, I could have a 5 goal cushion with 2 minutes left and I still will feel uneasy after what transpired last night. It isn’t time to chase, however. Need to maintain bankroll management after a beat of that magnitude. Take a deep breath and time to regroup.

Tonight we examine the Flames and Canucks as Calgary looks to take a 2-0 stranglehold on the series heading back home. A loss tonight would be a huge blow to the Canucks in this series, a series in which I see being tight and long, possibly to 7 games. This series should be back and forth with little give between either side. I think this is a good series for hockey in general. A nice west coast Canadian rivalry unfolding in the 1st round of the NHL playoffs. Not only that, but there are five Canadian teams in total this playoff season, including the modern version of the Winnipeg Jets. It has been a long time since a Canadian team has hoisted the Cup, but there is a good chance that it happens in 2015. We take a look at two teams who hope to be the team to do that.

Calgary Flames @ Vancouver Canucks

The Flames thanks to a late goal were able to take the series lead, but while its a big win for the Flames it isn’t time to relax. It takes 4 wins to advance to the next round. The Canucks should come out fast and hungry tonight. Canucks’ tender Eddie Lack did about all he could and it was pretty much a game of roulette in the final period. One team was going to catch a bounce while the other was going to look toward tonight. The Flames were able to catch a bounce that night. I think they’re going to need more than a bounce in their direction tonight to win, because we’re going to see a strong focused effort from the Canucks tonight.

On the ice the Flames and Canucks look similar and statistically they do as well. The Flames have a three game win streak on Vancouver, but they were losers of seven straight games against them before that. The Flames average 2.88 goals per game compared to the Canucks who average 2.86 a game. Likewise, there isn’t much separation on the defensive end of things, with the Flames allowing 2.58 goals a game vs the Canucks 2.67 allowed. Everyone sees this as a long drawn out series, even the Flames have admitted that much. The only thing that is going to distinguish these two teams when they play is who wants it more. The Canucks need this one. I expect them to be quicker to the puck and win the small battles to give them the advantage against the Flames. They should split in Vancouver, and I expect another split in Calgary to set up quite the finish to this series.