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 Wednesday night.
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Calgary Flames to win
The Flames have had the Canucks’ number this season, and after taking two of three from Vancouver on the road, Calgary can enjoy a little home cooking. Four of Calgary’s eight wins this season have come against the Canucks, including each of the previous two played at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Vancouver managed to put a scare into the Flames with a late game-tying goal to force overtime on Monday, but the Flames and star scorer Johnny Gaudreau didn’t wait long to end it in the extra period.
The tension of that game, as well as the preceding night’s loss, will be sticking in the Flames’ mind as they sit a point behind local rival Edmonton in the standings. No points can be taken for granted.
The Canucks have been dreadful away from home, too. They’re 2-8-0 as the away side so far this year and are averaging just 2.30 goals per game on the road, while allowing 4.30 goals against, which is the third worst per-game rate on the road in the league.
If Flames netminder Jacob Markstrom makes his fourth consecutive start, his former Canucks teammates will probably be none too happy to see him. Markstrom is 4-1 with a .953 save percentage in games against Vancouver.
Over 6 total goals
The Canucks’ offense has heated up a little bit with six goals over their last two games. That’s a good sign. Even better is that their power play got going Monday with a pair of goals.
The Canucks are not very good at keeping pucks out of their net, but are they ever good at moving that thing around the offensive zone. With snipers like Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson, it seems unlikely the Flames are going to keep them tamped down as they keep getting warmer.
Boeser has 11 goals so far this season including two over the last three games against Vancouver. Pettersson, meanwhile, has not been able to put one by his fellow Swede in Markstrom, so you just know he’s champing at the bit to bury a few against his former mate.
With this being the fourth game over the last six days between these two clubs, expect things to get a little nutty - that usually means goals.
Calgary to score over 3.5 goals
The Flames have scored an average of 3.67 goals per game on home ice so far this year, putting them in the top third in the league in that category.
With the Canucks being as leaky as they are, especially on the road, look for Calgary’s depth to overtake them.
On top of that, neither Braden Holtby nor Thatcher Demko has managed to keep their save percentage over .900 so far this season, so this isn’t necessarily a play that you’d alter based on who is in the nets, as neither has been sharp enough.
Johnny Gaudreau to score a goal
“Johnny Hockey” caught criticism for not producing enough last year, but that hasn’t been a problem in 2020-21 at all. The super-skilled winger has 16 points through his first 15 games this season, and has been held off the score sheet on only two occasions so far.
With points in all five previous games against Vancouver - including Monday's OT winner - he’s been almost automatic. The Canucks have not really figured out a way to slow down one of the best playmakers in the game.
#BETYOURWAY BOOST: Calgary to win, over 5.5 total goals, over 3.5 Calgary goals, Johnny Gaudreau to score anytime
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