Look for some fire on the ice tonight in Calgary, as the hottest teams in the NHL go head-to-head on Monday night. It’s a fine way to start the new week, with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Flames. Yes, you read it right, the Flames are one of the hottest teams in the league. They’ve had a few weird seasons, this Flames team has.
They came from nowhere to reach the playoffs, and then didn’t do anything last year, and now they look like they’re ready to make a playoff appearance again. If they can somehow find this in them during the playoffs, maybe they are looking at an adequate chance at making some noise.
The only problem here is that the Flames did this same act three seasons ago and were unable to get too deep in the playoffs. They had a year in 2014-15 that saw them go 45-30-7 in the regular season, and even advancing to the 2nd round against the Anaheim Ducks. However, that was as far as the Flames would go.
It was the kind of season that the Flames were looking to build off going into the following season. Nothing of the sort transpired and they flat out whiffed. A year later, though, the Flames are 48-26-2 and looking at a similar season as 2014-15.
The Flames are in the midst of a nine-game winning streak. They haven’t played a team of the Penguins’ calibre during that run, but winning nine straight games is impressive regardless. The best team they beat, I would have to say, is the Montreal Canadiens or Nashville Predators. In other words, their streak of success is going to be put on the line tonight. Let’s get straight to our pick for Monday night in the Penguins vs. Flames matchup.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Calgary Flames Pick
The Penguins are on a winning streak themselves, winning five straight games in impressive fashion. Pittsburgh has made it look easy, as they’ve averaged 4.4 goals per game and allowed 2.2 per game during the five-game stretch. This is their fourth game on the road, which has been a Canadian tour of sorts. Their last stop, resulting in a 3-0 victory over the Canucks. Overall, the Pens are 1st in the league, with 3.48 goals scored on average per game.
The Flames have been hitting on all cylinders their last ten games. Note that they’ve averaged 3.50 goals per game and allowed 1.70 per game. A point of frustration with the Flames early this season was their putrid defence. Brian Elliott looked out of place and the learning curve from St. Louis to Calgary was looking like a steep one.
The Flames and Elliott have settled in, though, and Elliott has been playing the best hockey of the year lately. The Penguins will counter, or so it looks like, with Matt Murray in net. Murray has been fantastic, posting a 2.33 GAA and 0.925 save percentage. I see the Flames getting a rude awakening tonight, against the best team they’ve faced during their nine-game streak. The Penguins end the Flames, while the Pens’ winning streak continues. I like the Pens for our Monday night NHL pick.
PICK: PENGUINS TO WIN -120