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Flames vs. Stars Pick – NHL March 18th

We enter a new week on a roll, as we currently sit at 25-13 with our featured selections and will look to double-up on Monday evening. Tonight’s pick features a surprisingly hot Calgary Flames squad as they travel to Texas, to take on the struggling Dallas Stars.  It’s a tale of two teams heading in opposite directions, but as the season winds now, the wins now mean more than ever!

Calgary Flames (+110) @ Dallas Stars (-130)

While neither of these teams were by any means considered playoff locks, both teams remain in contention as we enter the final weeks of the NHL season. Though the Stars’ campaign began with great optimism, that has faded of late as they’ve dropped their past four outings. Most recently, they lost in embarrassing fashion to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night, by a lopsided 8-1 score-line. The Stars are a better team than they’ve shown of late, and expect a huge response from their veteran-laden group on Monday evening.

Meanwhile, for the Flames they seem to be getting back on track. After an inconsistent beginning to their 2013 campaign, they’ve finally gotten healthy and some solid play is coming as a result. That said, unfortunately for Calgary, much of their success has been enjoyed on home ice only. On the road, they’re a dismal 3-6-2 and have dropped their past six games away from the Saddledome. It won’t get any easier Monday night as starting netminder Miikka Kiprusoff is staying behind on the road-trip for the birth of his child. It’s expected career journeyman, Joey MacDonald will replace Kiprusoff. MacDonald hasn’t exactly thrived in 2013 given his extra workload, as the former Toronto Maple Leaf sits with a 3-4-1 record, a 2.85 goals-against-average and a .900 save percentage. He’ll need to be much better against a motivated Dallas squad loaded with offensive talent.

Jamie Benn is now back for the Stars, and as a result their team is fully healthy. They have a deep forward group, solid defense, and a great goaltender. Though this team has underachieved of late, they have the talent and potential to jump back into the playoff race. Expect that journey to begin Monday evening. As we near closer to the NHL Trade Deadline, the Jarome Iginla saga will be a bigger distraction by the day for the Flames. Will they move their star player or not? It can’t be easy to be around that, and expect their play to suffer as a result.

Dallas’ offensive output has been less than stellar of late, but a Calgary team without Miika Kiprusoff in goal should provide the perfect cure. And while the Flames have already beaten Dallas twice this year, expect a hungry Stars squad to gain redemption on Monday evening. Losing 8-1 is simply embarrassing, and look for Dallas to rebound in a big way against a depleted Calgary line-up. Consider the Stars tonight as short home favourites. Calgary can’t win on the road, and that will be shown tonight.

PICK = Dallas (-130)