Flames vs. Stars Pick – NHL December 17th

People are waiting for the Dallas Stars to crash into a wall, but where is the wall? They haven’t hit a wall yet and I don’t see one ahead for the Stars. I think the Stars are as good as their record indicates. Jamie Benn is as good as advertised. He is the best player in the league that nobody knows about. Hockey fans certainly know who he is, but ask your average person and they might bring up Sidney Crosby or Alexander Ovechkin. Yeah, if you want to bring up Crosby with regards to having a down season you would be accurate. But if you want to talk about a player that is having a phenomenal campaign it has to be Jamie Benn. If you want to talk about a team who is having a phenomenal year then the Dallas Stars should be on your list as well. The Stars are coming off a rather comfortable 5-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Stars broke the game open in the 2nd period by scoring 3 to head to the intermission with a 4-1 lead. It was cruise control from there with the final score resulting in a 5-1 win for the Stars.

The Stars come back tonight against another inferior opponent, the Calgary Flames. A long plane ride for the Flames to Dallas, where the Flames look to jump above a .500 record. The Flames have been on a huge tear to get to .500, winning six straight games for their best run this season. Remember the Flames were a playoff team a year ago. They were the surprise team. The Flames were not projected to make the playoffs by virtually anyone, but that is what is so great about the NHL. Unlike the NBA, there are surprises at every turn.

Calgary has quickly gotten back to looking like that team from a year ago by pulling off six victories in a row. A .500 record isn’t going to get you into the playoffs in the NHL, so here is still a lot of work to do for this team. But the biggest positive the Flames have taken from this solid run is the teams they have beaten. The Bruins, Predators, Stars, Rangers, Sharks, and Sabres all fell victim. The Stars were actually the team they beat to get things started. The Stars will look for revenge this evening, this time in Texas.

Calgary Flames vs. Dallas Stars NHL Pick

With a 20-6-1 record in the Stars’ corner, the Flames were are one of those six teams to take down the mighty Stars. That one came in a shootout with a 4-3 final. It is perhaps the biggest win of the season for the Flames. Can you imagine if they beat the Stars again en route to seven straight wins? There may be some kind of inclination that the Flames are back to 2014-15 form if they manage to win here. I suspect the Stars are going to be hungry to win this one and not drop two in a row to the Flames.

The Stars’ offense has been the best offense in the NHL this season, with no clear competitor that touches them. Note that the Stars average 3.42 goals per game. The 2nd place Bruins are scoring 3.17 goals per game, so yeah, the Stars are easily the best offense in the league. The defense has improved, but is just an average unit this season, allowing 2.55 goals per game for 14th in the NHL. In their last ten games the Stars have scored 3.20 goals per game while allowing 2.90 goals. Conversely, the Flames scored 3.10 goals while allowing 3 goals a game. I think something similar will play out to the first meeting, with the Stars coming out on top. I like the Stars but with the price I am going with the OVER 5.5.

PICK: OVER 5.5 GOALS (-110)