The Calgary Flames will look to respond with a better performance after getting trounced by the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night. The Oilers opened up the game with a quick 2-0 lead and didn’t look back. They ultimately fended off the Flames for an 8-3 victory. The Flames made it interesting for a minute, but the Oilers were too much to handle and pulled away in the third period for an easy win.
It’s a big win for the Oilers against a team that had their number until Saturday night. The night also included a brawl, with the goalies getting involved at centre ice. Mike Smith and Cam Talbot tangled with the rivalry heating up in Alberta. It was the first fight involving goalies since November of 2013 between Ray Emery of the Flyers and Braden Holtby.
The Battle of Alberta isn’t just for bragging rights at this point in the season. The Oilers and Flames are in a tightly contested battle in the Pacific Division. There are only 6 points between the the No. 1 team, Canucks, and No. 5 team, Coyotes, in the division. The Oilers hold a 3-point advantage over the Coyotes for second place, so there really isn’t much room for error in February and March.
The Flames and Golden Knights are sitting between them, with 60 and 61 points on the season. This scenario certainly wasn’t playing out in the Pacific Division a season ago. Calgary were enjoying a comfortable lead, and ultimately won without any issues. They registered a record of 50-25-7 and 107 points to get the divisional win, though it didn’t amount to much in the playoffs. The Flames will have to fight much harder in the final turn of the regular season just to get in this season.
They fended off the team they’re playing tonight to win the division in 2018-19. This season is not going according to plan for the Sharks, though. They’ve gone from second to the No. 6 team in the Pacific Division, and the issues continue to pile up for them. With Logan Couture already out with an ankle injury, the Sharks recently lost Tomas Hertl in a 5-2 loss against the Canucks. No Couture and Hertl likely means a deep mess for the Sharks to close out the season. Head below for our free Sharks vs. Flames pick.
San Jose Sharks vs. Calgary Flames Betting Odds:
Sharks vs. Flames Prediction:
In their first game without Hertl, the Sharks were uncompetitive in a 3-0 loss against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night. The season wasn’t going exactly swimmingly for the Sharks at the time of Hertl’s injury. Now with him gone until next season, the Sharks are going to be searching for a player or two to step up and be playmakers. They’re severely lacking in that regard with no Couture and Hertl in the lineup.
Hertl is No. 2 on the team in points, while Couture is currently No. 3 despite playing in fewer games than most of the roster. That’s a total of 30 goals and 42 assists out of the lineup. More pressure is going to be put on Evander Kane and Timo Meier to be the goals scorers on this team. While Erik Karlsson leads the team in points, it’s because he is a tremendous facilitator, but not a goal scorer. Karlsson has just 5 goals on the team, so the onus will certainly be on Kane and Meier.
Naturally depth is going to be problematic for the Sharks tonight. The team was already feeling the pinch without the services of Couture, and now they are trying to manage without Hertl in the lineup. San Jose is 28th in the league in scoring with only 2.53 goals scored per game. Take out Hertl and they’re even worse than that. I wouldn’t be too surprised to see the Sharks 30th in the league, with the only team better in scoring than them the Red Wings by the end of the season. This should provide the Flames with a nice opportunity to respond after getting shellacked defensively versus the Oilers on Saturday.
The Sharks have had a lot of problems in their own zone as well this season. They’ve allowed 3.32 goals per game, as Martin Jones continues to struggle in net. Jones owns a 3.25 GAA and 0.889 save percentage, which is a significant dive from past years. Aaron Dell has surpassed Jones as the more consistent option, but even he hasn’t been totally sharp, as he boasts a 2.82 GAA and 0.911 save percentage on the season. Expect the Flames to bounce back after a sloppy performance on Saturday against a Sharks team heading in a bad direction.