With all Canadian teams eliminated from playoff contention this season, the Calgary Flames fell short of making it a repeat appearance. They will be playing the same team who bounced them from the postseason a year ago, the Anaheim Ducks. The Flames can’t get the Ducks out of their heads. It has been a lopsided affair between these two organizations. However, can the Flames take advantage of the Ducks tonight? Well the Ducks are still playing to upgrade their seed and not fall back, so it isn’t like this is an exhibition game for Anaheim.
Calgary is just finishing the season up and going through the motions at this juncture in the season. It can be said by now that this was a rather unfortunate year for the Flames. There was no carry over from last season, a season in which the Flames weren’t expected to do much. In the 2015-16, the Flames played exactly how people expected them to play last season. At 32-38-6, the Flames left a lot on the table.
As we near baseball season, there is still plenty of opportunities to cash in on the ice. Tonight we hope to do just that in California. The Ducks enter with a 42-23-10 and have completely flipped the script from the start of the season. I’ve said this before, but the Ducks and Canadiens are a perfect example why you cannot come to any conclusions in the first month of the season. It happens every year. The Ducks looked like a flop, appearing as if they were going to have issues finding the playoffs. There was clearly no need to get worked up over anything, the Ducks are fine and are going to be a legitimate threat in the postseason.
Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler were stuck in mud then. Offensively they weren’t contributing much goals and it had a direct impact on their early season problems. They turn it around, and what happens, the Ducks are looking back up. Anaheim needs a complete effort from all of their stars to be in the driver seat in the playoffs. It’s hard for anyone to put much stock into them, though. Their struggles in the postseason have been well documented. Before we get there though, let’s worry about tonight and picking up a winner.
Calgary Flames vs. Anaheim Ducks NHL Pick
The Ducks have elevated their play significantly since hitting a snag early. Is this going to actually help them in the long run? The Ducks always hit the ground running early, and then sputter in the playoffs, so may it be a blessing in disguise? It isn’t going to take long before we have our answer. The Ducks are returning from a long five game road trip, where they finished 3-2. One loss came in overtime, so they escaped with points in all but one game. The offense, in particular, has improved for the Ducks. They were dead last for the first few months of the season, scoring less than 2 goals per game. Now they have taken that average up to 2.57 goals scored per game. They are 21st in the NHL offensively in that regard, but would be a top 5 team if it weren’t for the first-half of the season.
The Ducks have scored 3.10 goals per game and 2.70 goals against in their last ten games. Calgary has continued to get pummeled on the defensive end, allowing 3.20 goals per game. They’re last in the NHL overall, with 3.12 goals given up per game. If you’re a trends guy, this is the kind of game for you. The Ducks are 28-1 against the Flames at home. You read that right, 28-1 in Anaheim. The Ducks have also won six straight over the Flames. They have won by a ratio of 4 goals to 2.1 goals during that stretch. I hit this pick the last time the Flames and Ducks met, and I see no reason not trying to do the same tonight. The Ducks should bury the Flames yet again.
PICK: DUCKS -1.5 (+120)