The Calgary Flames are desperately trying to find some traction as we approach the end of February. They had a 2 goal lead going into the 3rd period against the Ottawa Senators, but completely collapsed and a 4-2 game ended up turning into a 6-4 final in favor of the Sens. With little resistance on the defensive end, and no quality goaltender in net, the Flames are getting torched. Starting goalie Karri Ramo was injured a couple weeks back and placed on the IR, it’s been all downhill for the Flames since then. Ramo gets a bad rep, but it is pretty clear that the Flames would do anything to get him back at the moment. The Flames also suffered injuries and a suspension to two defenseman. Kris Russell is out with a lower-body injury, suffered a couple games ago. And Dennis Wideman decided to shove a referee to the ice, which resulted in a 20-game suspension. Russell and Wideman aren’t the biggest talents in the NHL, but shuffling up the blue line because of absentees can cause headaches for a coach. Coupled with the fact that the Flames are without Ramo, and this team is a train wreck.
It wasn’t all that long ago that the Flames had an outside chance at the playoffs. This recent sputter from them has doomed any chance they had. Actually, when Ramo went down that pretty well was the dagger in their season. The Flames went with Joni Ortio in net Saturday night, he got hammered against the Senators and they went on to lose the contest by a score of 6-4. Calgary can’t do too much right now, they either need to go with Ortio or the quickly regressing Jonas Hiller. Hiller was a pretty adequate goalie with the Ducks, and he was pretty decent last season for the Flames.
Here now he has been getting lit up worse than a Christmas tree. Hiller owns a 3.29 GAA with a 0.88 save percentage. He hasn’t started since February 21st against his former team, the Ducks, getting taken for 5 goals in that one. In six of last starts, he has given up 3 or more goals 60% of the time. It hasn’t been confirmed, but it looks as if he is the likely starter. Either way, whoever is in net, the Flames have had a heck of a time on defense. They travel to the east coast for a meeting with the Flyers tonight.
Calgary Flames vs. Philadelphia Flyers NHL Pick
The Flyers were expected to have a throwaway type of season, with little to no expectations. While the Flyers haven’t vastly exceeded expectations, they have bene a competitive, respectable club that is going to be in the hunt for the playoffs. They have some work ahead of them and it certainly isn’t a lock for that to happen, but the Flyers have been playing better than expected. There is always one of those teams that comes out of the closet and does something productive, last season it was the Calgary Flames, this season we have witnessed the Flyers play well. They’ve been playing good hockey lately offensively, averaging 2.90 goals per game. The offense was dreadful to start the year off, but they have put it together as the season progressed.
The Flames, like I noted, do not have a defense to stand on. They have gotten ripped for 4 goals per game in their last ten games. Generally, they only hope for the Flames to win games is to get the offense scoring 4 goals a night. It isn’t like the offense has been particularly bad either, they have scored an average of 3 goals over their last ten games. However, the math doesn’t add up when you are allowing 4 on defense, though. The Flyer offense should be able to exploit the Flames’ defense tonight. With too high of a price for me on the Flyers, I’m going to go the alternate route and take the OVER which is posted at plus money. Let’s end February on a high note.
PICK: OVER 5.5 GOALS (+105)