The good news about cold streak is they’re often followed by hot streaks and last night’s results with my two free NHL picks cemented this run as a hot streak, with authority.
On days I’ve released picks, I’m now at four straight profitable nights, but none as profitable as last night. After slightly missing two big underdog picks on Friday, my Saturday longshots worked out well.
The Panthers weren’t underdogs in their home matchup with the Canadiens, but my aggressive puckline pick at +165 odds would qualify as a longshot.
In fact, this one wasn’t really close. The game itself was close after a scoreless first, but the Panthers took a 1-0 lead into the third where they took over by scoring the next two goals to take a commanding 3-0 lead. While Montreal made is 3-1 midway through the third, the Panthers added an empty-better to seal a 4-1 win an 1.65 units in profit for their puckline backers.
At the same time, I had the Lightning as +120 road dogs in Boston to take out a red-hot Bruins team.
I mentioned it was a battle of the titans and wouldn’t disappoint on entertainment value, and boy was I right. It was a goal-filled, fight-filled, playoff hockey type game, but at the end of the day the Lightning never trailed in this one.
They took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission, a 3-2 lead into the second intermission and tacked on two on the third for good measure in an eventual 5-3 win over their Atlantic Division rivals. Let’s hope these clubs meet in the postseason.
All told, the perfect 2-0 night netted us a giddy 2.85-unit profit as I turn my attention to this six-game Sunday schedule, albeit a five-game Sunday night schedule.
Season Record: 108-93-1
Now let’s dive into this free NHL pick featuring the Golden Knights vs. Flames from the Saddledome in Calgary!
Golden Knights vs. Flames Betting Odds
- Golden Knights (-110)
- Flames (+100)
- Golden Knights -1.5 (+210)
- Flames +1.5 (-250)
- Over 6 (-108)
- Under 6 (-102)
Golden Knights vs. Flames NHL Pick Breakdown
Now let’s check in with each of these clubs before I get into my final pick!
After rattling off an eight-game win streak, the Golden Knights have dropped two of their last three, most recently a 4-0 loss in Winnipeg to open up a five-game road trip that takes them through Western Canada and finishes in Colorado.
It’s a road trip that will include monumental implications in terms of the dogfight for playoff spots in the Western Conference but more specifically the Pacific Division.
It’s a division that Vegas was leading until the Oilers disposed of the Blue Jackets last night, giving the Oilers the upper hand due to more regulation wins as the two clubs are tied with 82 points entering Sunday night’s action.
The Golden Knights also need to be better on the road where they own a 15-3-4 record on the season compared to their 20-11-4 mark on home ice where they won the majority of their games during the aforementioned winning streak.
Road defense hasn’t been much of an issue as Vegas ranks ninth in the league while averaging 2.94 goals against per game on the road while their road penalty kill sits 15th with a 78.8% mark.
That penalty kill has been their demise of late, however going 0 for 4 in their last two losses.
While it hasn’t been an issue, their road offense hasn’t been great in a tie for 17th with 2.88 goals per game on the road, but their road power play has indeed been a problem at 28th with a 14.1% clip.
The power play has struggled of late as well, going just 3 for 21 (14.3%) over their last 10 games.
That said, Vegas is a real strong 5v5 team and the possession numbers show it.
At 5v5 on the road, the Golden Knights rank first with a 53.38% Corsi For%, first by a mile with a 54.52% Scoring Chances For% and third with a 51.24% High-Danger Chances For%.
They haven’t received the best of goaltending on the road with a 21st-ranked .911 Sv% at 5v5 away from home, perhaps why they traded for Robin Lehner at the trade deadline.
Since the deal, Lehner and Marc-Andre Fleury have alternated starts, and since Fleury took the 4-0 loss in Winnipeg in their last game, it would appear Lehner is set to start this one tonight, and that’s a positive for their chances to win this game.
A year after his surprising run to a Vezina Trophy nomination, Lehner has proved it was not a fluke.
Lehner posted a 3.01 GAA but also a strong .918 Sv% behind a weak Blackhawks defensive team in his 33 starts prior to the trade, but has been dominant in his two starts behind a much stronger Golden Knights defensive club.
Since coming to Vegas, Lehner has posted a 1.00 GAA and .967 Sv% in his two starts to go along with a shutout of the Devils his last time out. He also turned aside 32 of 34 shots for a .941 Sv% in a 4-2 win over the Sabres in his Vegas debut.
Lehner has also posted a strong .915 Sv% on the road this season, a number that would also figure to improve behind a strong Vegas road defense.
The Flames have put their name back into the Pacific Division title conversation as they have won three straight entering this one tonight, the final two of which have come at home.
That said, it hasn’t been a successful season at home for Calgary as they are just 16-12-4 at the Saddledome and 20-14-3 on the road. Those 16 home wins are the fewest among the eight teams sitting in playoff spots in the west.
The biggest reason for their lack of success on home ice has been on the defensive side of the puck.
The Flames enter this one ranked 29th with 3.31 goals against per game at home and that’s despite sitting in a tie for 13th with a solid 82.4% mark on the penalty kill on home ice.
As a result, most of the damage has come at even strength as the Flames also rank 29th with 2.95 goals against/60 at home this season.
While not poor, their home offense hasn’t been able to overcome their defensive woes at home, for the most part.
The Flames rank 19th with 3.09 goals per game at home and 12th with a 22.1% clip on the power play at home, but once again their work at 5v5 in that department has not been fruitful as their 2.40 goals/60 at 5v5 at home sits 25th.
Despite their seemingly weak play at 5v5 at home, their home possession numbers aren’t too shabby at all.
At 5v5 at home, the Flames rank 13th with a 52.02% Corsi For%, 13th with a 52.30% Scoring Chances For% and 19th with a 52.34% High-Danger Chances For%.
The problem? The Flames rank 23rd with a 7.77% 5v5 shooting rate at home and 30th with a .902 5v5 Sv% at home as well, which helps explain the weak home defensive numbers.
Those numbers have improved of late, however, thanks to the work of Cam Talbot who is responsible for their current win streak and is taking over the crease from David Rittich.
Talbot enters this one sporting a 2.63 GAA and .919 Sv% on the season in his 26 appearances and a 3.00 GAA and .904 Sv% at home in his 16 appearances at the Saddledome.
That said, he’s been real good of late, turning in a 1.31 GAA and .957 Sv% over his last three starts, including a shutout. The competition hasn’t been strong against weak offenses in the Coyotes and Blue Jackets over the last two, but he did shut out the Panthers in Florida one week ago today.
Although not confirmed to start, I’d be shocked if he didn’t considering the hot stretch and the fact that Flames are off until Thursday after this one tonight.
To say this is an important matchup at this stage of the season is a vast understatement.
Win a win, the Golden Knights regain top spot in the Pacific Division while a Flames win pulls them to within just one point of Vegas for the second spot in the division with the same amount of games played.
That being said, I think the Knights regain the division lead in this one.
As hot as Talbot is, Lehner is arguably hotter right now and he’s simply the superior netminder on the whole. The goaltending advantage is to the road side here, as is the defensive advantage on the whole.
The Flames score a little more at home than the Golden Knights do on the road, but keep in mind the Flames allowed 12 goals over a two-game home stretch before yielding four combined to the weak offenses of Columbus and Arizona over their last two.
The moral of that story is the Flames have been wildly inconsistent on the back end at home, and let’s also keep in mind there’s a reason why Talbot has morphed back into a backup role over the last couple of seasons. He too has been vastly inconsistent.
Vegas was due for a cool down after winning eight in a row, and they’ve lost two of three since. While they haven’t been great on the road, I think this road matchup presents a nice opportunity for their offense to get back on track while having Lehner in goal gives them a better chance to win than Marc-Andre Fleury.
Add it up and I’ll take the road team as slight favorites in this one.