NHL picks: 4 best bets for Canucks vs Flames
Our NHL expert has picked out his four best bets as the Vancouver Canucks visit the Calgary Flames on Thursday night.
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Calgary Flames to win
In these games where teams are just playing out the string, trying to get through the end of the season, it’s really difficult to project. There are no real stakes for either team, yet the Flames and Canucks will play four times over the next week starting with Thursday night’s contest.
The two clubs have met six times already this season, with Calgary winning four of those matchups, however Vancouver has won two of the last three with the lone loss coming in overtime.
Both teams have been fairly inconsistent over the last few weeks, though Calgary looks a little more stable and has had multiple days off going into this game. Their last contest was a convincing 6-1 win over the Ottawa Senators.
The rest factor in addition to Calgary being at home are the two biggest reasons I’m putting them over the top in this one. They’ve got four more games to play, they’re still playing for a coach that is constantly evaluating them and their front office may change in the offseason. There’s a lot of different reasons for Calgary to want to have a strong performance at home against a team behind them in the standings.
Under 5.5 total goals
In the previous matchups between these two teams, they’ve scored over 5.5 goals three times and under three times. With Calgary being the home team in this one, I would imagine they’re going to make it really difficult for Vancouver to score.
Calgary is allowing an average of 2.85 goals against on home ice this season, while Vancouver is scoring on average 2.56 goals for.
With a road-weary Vancouver coming in, there might be a chance that Calgary gets its offense humming, but I’m liking the value of the under for this one.
Johnny Gaudreau to score 2+ points
With 15 points in his last 12 games, Johnny Gaudreau has been on fire for the Calgary Flames. He has four games over that span where he scored two or more points and has three goals and three assists over six games against the Canucks so far this season.
Gaudreau is among the players rumored to want out of Calgary via trade. Nothing helps goose the trade value like a nice hot streak to pad some stats at the end of the season.
“Johnny Hockey” has quietly had a very effective season with 42 points in 52 games.
Elias Lindholm to score 2+ points
If Gaudreau is going to hit the sheet multiple times, then Lindholm probably will, too. The linemates have been scoring leaders for the Flames all season long and the trio of Lindholm, Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk have looked good so far.
Lindholm has five points over the six games against Vancouver, but has not scored in the last three games. He has had just nine two-point games so far this season, so this is a bit of an out-on-a-limb kind of pick, but in these kinds of games, you might as well see what you can squeeze out of it.
#BETYOURWAY: Calgary to win, under 5.5 goals, Gaudreau to score 2+ points, Lindholm to score 2+ points
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