Wild vs. Flames Pick – NHL February 1st

We got back to the NHL yesterday after the three-day hiatus for the All-Star break, with a full card of action to handicap. We landed on the Florida Panthers who came up golden for us in a 6-5 win against the Senators. It was a fun, entertaining game that gave us a winner right back from the break, so there was nothing to complain about. While last night featured nearly every team in action, tonight there is only a trio of games to feast on. As is typical of Wednesday nights in the NHL, there aren’t many, but there are always one or two marquee games.

The Bruins and Capitals are the big one for tonight, with the other two not providing the most “pop” for the lack of a better word. However, the Wild have been playing great hockey this season, as they look to get over the playoff bump. They’ve been playing better than ever in the regular season, and it’s time for them to play like it when it counts.

The Chicago Blackhawks have had their number in the playoffs. The Blackhawks are a competitive team yet again this season, so it’s not going to be easy for the Wild if they meet up. However, more than ever, the Wild have a glorious opportunity at upending the Blackhawks. They must keep it together in the second-half, though. As we all know, nothing is a given in sports. Their opponents tonight, the Calgary Flames, need to make some moves if they want to find the playoffs. In any event, it’s been a big step forward for them from last season. It’s been a topsy-turvy few years for the Flames.

They made the playoffs two year ago, and then they bombed last season, and here the Flames are in 2016-17 hanging on for dear life as they try and navigate this season and find the postseason. With a record of 25-24-1 there is more than enough work that must be done between now and the spring. A win over the Wild would be a nice step forward to making that a reality. We’ll see if they can take advantage of a Wild team who’ve made the long trek to the west coast for the Flames. Let’s get to the pick below and find a winner.

Minnesota Wild vs. Calgary Flames Pick

The Wild have been good this season, but have been especially good on the road. They own a record of 16-5-3 on the road, following wins over Stars x2, Blackhawks, and Oilers the other night. That’s not the easiest schedule to win four win a row on the road against teams of their calibers. The Wild will seek another one in Calgary tonight. Minnesota have gone 5-1 in their last six games. Their success is coming form an unlikely source: the offence. On the year the Wild are averaging 3.33 goals per game, which situates them in 4th place in the NHL. Note that in their last ten games they’ve scored a whopping 4.10 goals per game.

Conversely, the Flames have allowed 3.10 goals per game during that same stretch. The defence has improved tremendously in Calgary, but there are still clear adjustments that must be made. The Flames are 20th in the NHL which is a big jump up from dead last in the league. They need to take that next step, though, going into the 2017-18 season to garner better results. The Wild have been hot, scoring 4 goals per game in their last six games. I expect them to find the back of the net pretty easily against the Flames. With a total of 5, I think this is a nice spot to get in on the OVER in Calgary.

PICK: OVER 5 GOALS (-130)