We stayed hot with a 2-1 night last night while earning another unit’s profit as February continues to be far kinder to us than its predecessor.
I would have love to had that Senators +1.5 pick back despite the valuable +108 odds. It was announced right before game time that Thomas Chabot was out for Ottawa, and had I known that I would have hammered the over 6.5 in that one with a brutal Sens back end missing its best piece.
Instead, the over hit in the second period while the Senators were blown out of the water by a 7-3 score, handing us a one-unit loss.
At the same time, however, the Pittsburgh Penguins were putting together a complete effort against the visiting Islanders. There was no sweat here as the Pens took a 2-0 lead into the third before increasing it to 3-0 midway through the final frame. The Isles got within two late, but a Penguins empty-better sealed a 4-1 win for the home side, getting us our unit back.
It came down to the Wild on the moneyline at -114 (identical odds to the Pens) over the Ducks in Anaheim. It started nicely as Minny took a 2-0 lead into the second, and while the Ducks cut that lead in half, a late Marcus Foligno third-period tally netted us another winner and a profitable night with the Wild winning that one 3-1.
We’re 9-4 and +5.80 units so far in February, so let’s keep up the good work with this Oilers vs. Flames NHL pick from Calgary!
- Season Record: 17-19
- Units: -2.24
Oilers vs. Flames Betting Odds
- Oilers (-104)
- Flames (-106)
- Oilers +1.5 (-260)
- Flames -1.5 (+220)
- Over 6.5 (-102)
- Under 6.5 (-108)
Oilers vs. Flames NHL Pick Breakdown
To the surprise of few, the Oilers boast the top two offensive players in the NHL so far this season as Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl rank first and second in league scoring with 32 and 28 points, respectively, through 18 games.
The dynamic duo has propelled the Oilers to fourth in the league with 3.50 goals per game on the season while their 24.6% clip on the power play ranks 11th.
The advanced numbers are a little closer to the middle of the pack, but are still quite good. At 5v5 this season, the Oilers rank 15th in scoring chances for/60, 10th in high-danger chances for/60 and ninth in expected goals/60, according to Natural Stat Trick. Their 2.83 goals/60 at 5v5 is notably higher than their 2.35 expected mark, however, so seeing this offense cool a little bit wouldn’t be surprising, although that can be said for plenty of teams around the league.
Once again, the drop off behind McDavid and Draisaitl is just so dramatic. The leading bottom-six point-getters are all tied with five points on the season (although Jujhar Khaira and Tyler Ennis have done so in nine and 10 games, respectively) while Tyson Barrie and Darnell Nurse have been productive from the back end with 14 and 13 points, respectively.
The secondary scoring perhaps hasn’t been as bad as it has been in the past, but the fact that the Oilers won a game this season when 97 and 29 were held pointless for the first time since November of 2017 just speaks to what needs to happen for this team to win hockey games.
The club’s main issue so far this season has been the back end, and it should have been expected with No. 1 blueliner Oscar Klefbom on the shelf for the entirety of the season on the heels of a career-year a season ago.
Nurse has stepped up in a big way as the team’s new No. 1, and Barrie has been better this season after a down year with the Toronto Maple Leafs last season, but the overall results are still suspect.
The Oilers enter this one ranked 25th in overall defense with 3.33 goals against per game while their 75% penalty kill not only ranks 23rd but is a major drop from their second-place finish last season. They miss Klefbom here as well on top of his offensive production from last season.
The underlying metrics aren’t much better, either. At 5v5 this season, the Oilers rank 25th in scoring chances against/60, and 22nd in both high-danger chances against/60 and expected goals against/60. Their 2.90 goals against/60 at 5v5 is well above their 2.31 expected mark however, so like many other defenses in the league, perhaps we should see some improvement moving forward.
The defense has been fairly good of late, holding the Jets to two goals their last time out after allowing six against Winnipeg two games back. Prior to that 6-5 loss, however, the Oilers allowed just three goals over two games to the Ottawa Senators.
The last time these two teams met the Oilers surrendered six goals to the Flames back on Feb. 6.
The Oilers appear set to the roll with the hot hand in this one as Mike Smith will get his fourth consecutive start tonight on the heels of that 3-2 win over the Jets on Wednesday.
Smith was sharp in turning aside 33 of 35 shots (.943 Sv%) in that one, and it represented a rebound effort for the 38-year-old after he allowed four goals in 11 shots to the Jets in the previous meeting before being replaced by Mikko Koskinen.
For the season, Smith owns a 2.07 GAA and .938 Sv% in four starts, winning all three of his decisions in that time. However, it’s clear that his numbers at the moment are of the unsustainable variety.
Last season, Smith posted a 2.95 GAA and .902 Sv% after turning in a 2.72 GAA and .898 Sv% in his final season with the Flames in 2018-19. Like most NHL goaltenders, Smith is tough to beat when he’s on his game, but his last two seasons have been ravaged with inconsistency.
There’s even some inconsistency in a tiny sample this season. Before being pelted by the Jets on Monday, Smith turned in a 38-save shutout in Montreal his previous outing. He’s been very good in three of four outings, but at the expense of coming off as negative, I expect notable regression for the long-time NHL veteran moving forward.
Flames bench boss Geoff Ward looked for more of a balanced attack in this forwards ranks this season, taking first-line winger Elias Lindholm and placing him down the middle alongside Matthew Tkachuk on the Flames’ second line, or 1B line, to start the season.
The results have been more of the same, however, as the Flames haven’t been able to consistency find the back of the net.
They’ll enter this one ranked 21st with 2.75 goals per game on the season, and while their power play sits 15th with a solid 21.3% clip, it’s been cooled off following a hot start, going just 1 for 12 over their last four games.
The advanced metrics are far more kind to the Flames’ offensive attack, however. At 5v5 this season, Calgary ranks sixth in scoring chances for/60, fifth in high-danger chances for/60 and seventh in expected goals for/60. Their 2.38 goals/60 at 5v5 are nearly identical to the team’s 2.39 expected mark, but the Flames appear to be generating scoring opportunities with the best of em’.
One thing to watch in this one is whether or not center Sean Monahan can break out of a 12-game goalless drought. Monahan, a three-time 30-goal man with at least 22 goals in all seven of his NHL seasons, has just two goals on 36 shots this season, good for a 5.6% shooting rate that is miles under his 14.6% career mark.
With just one goal in two of their last three, the Flames’ offense will look to get back on track in this one tonight.
The Flames’ back end got a makeover in the offseason with captain Mark Giordano, fellow left-side defender Noah Hanifin and Rasmus Andersson the only regulars from last year’s group in the top six this season.
Gone is T.J. Brodie in the top four while the club added Chris Tanev to its right side. Youngster Juuso Valimaki is now getting top-four minutes in lieu of Andersson while Nikita Nesterov signed with the Flames in his return to the NHL.
Undrafted college free agent Connor Mackey has also stepped into the top six over the last two games.
The results have been about league average so far. The Flames are tied for 15th with 2.81 goals against per game on the season while their 79.6% penalty kill ranks 18th. The advanced numbers certainly aren’t anything special, either.
The Flames rank 17th in scoring chances against/60, 20th in high-danger chances against/60 and 17th again in expected goals against/60 at 5v5 this season. Their 2.05 goals against/60 are more or less in line with their 2.13 expected mark, so the Flames’ defense has pretty much deserved their fate to this point in the season.
It’s a back end that will certainly be in search for redemption following a 5-1 embarrassment at the hands of the rival Canucks on Wednesday. They allowed 11 goals in the three games with the Canucks (3.67 per game) and have surrendered at least three goals in seven of their last nine games with an average of 3.11 goals against per game in that time.
The Flames surrendered four goals in their last meeting with the Oilers on Feb. 6.
Jacob Markstrom has been heavily utilized this season and after taking that 5-1 drubbing from his old mates in Vancouver, the Flames will give him a breather and turn to David Rittich for this one tonight.
This marks just the third start of the season for Rittich who has posted a 3.22 GAA and .868 Sv% across two starts and three appearances this season.
His last start came 17 days ago in Winnipeg when he allowed three goals on 28 shots (.893 Sv%) while he turned aside the four shots he saw in relief of Markstrom on Wednesday.
For his career, Rittich owns a 2.83 GAA and .907 Sv% across 118 appearances and was the Flames’ top option last season over Cam Talbot before Talbot out-played him and eventually stole the crease from Rittich down the stretch before starting all 10 postseason games.
In his career against the Oilers, the Czech puck-stopper sports a 2.78 GAA and .907 Sv% across eight appearances, going 4-3-1 in that time.
Oilers vs. Flames NHL Pick
There are few rivalries in the game today that match that of the Battle of Alberta.
The switch was flipped thanks to the Matthew Tkachuk/Zach Kassian beef last season, and the first meeting of the season certainly wasn’t short on entertainment value with the Flames winning that one 6-4 a couple weeks back.
There’s little doubt the Flames will be looking for a bounce back effort after being shelled by the Canucks on Wednesday before being called out by their head coach.
For Edmonton, they’ll look to keep rolling having won four of their last five and making their way up the North Division standings in the process.
For me, I’ll be looking for more offense.
The 97/29 duo is essentially non-stoppable this season and I’m not sure the Flames new-look top four is cut out to prevent them from going nuts here. I’m not confident in the Oilers’ back end, either, with some very suspect numbers all-round while Smith is due to regress significantly moving forward. I’m not confident in either netminder in this one.
The Over is 4-0-1 in the last five meetings and 18-7-1 over the last 26 meetings in Calgary. Give me the over 6.5 and let’s look forward to a dandy from Calgary.