Tracking the Calgary Flames: Season-Long NHL Picks and Handicapping for Hockey
by Trevor Whenham - 11/25/2014
NHL Predictions: Calgary Flames at Anaheim Ducks Odds and Picks
These Flames just don't make any sense at all. We just have to accept that and come to terms with it. The latest proof came on Saturday night. I was flipping between their home game against New Jersey and UCLA's beatdown of cross-town rival USC. With a few minutes left in the Flames game, I gave up on it - Calgary was down 4-2 and not playing great - and settled on the football game for good. Or so I thought. A couple of minutes later my phone started exploding as text after text from incredulous fans came in to express their shock. Calgary had pulled the most desperate of moves - pulling their goalie with more than three minutes left and down two goals. Only, for the first time in the history of the franchise, it worked. They scored once quickly and a second time with mere seconds left to tie it up. Then they survived an intense overtime and won the shootout on the fourth attempt. It was the fifth time already this season that the team had been down entering the third period and had come back to win. It's bizarre, but it's happening.
Calgary Flames at Anaheim Ducks Betting Storylines
Calgary has had very little success playing in Anaheim. In fact, the futility is almost impossible to believe. On Jan. 19, 2004, the Flames won 5-1 in the shadow of Disneyland. They haven't done so in the regular season since - a stretch of 18 games. It's not like they had been dominant before that last win, either - that was the only win in 28 games. Over that stretch Anaheim has won 17 times in regulation, and 10 games have gone into overtime.
Calgary has showed no end of creativity in trying to find a win - especially in net. If Jonas Hiller starts this game as expected then he will be the 12th goalie that has tried to win for the Flames in Anaheim. The good news is, though, that thanks to all of the changes that the team has gone through recently the current lineup isn't burdened by a lot of failure against the Ducks. Hiller has won 92 games in Anaheim as a member of the Ducks but makes his first return for another team. Eight players on the roster have lost two or fewer games as a Flame in Anaheim, and six more have never even played in Anaheim before. This is a franchise slump, but not one that most of the current roster has been burdened with.
You don't have to look nearly as far back in time to find the latest Calgary victory over Anaheim overall. In fact, it came exactly a week before this game - on Nov. 18 Calgary won 4-3 in a shootout. It was another one of those comeback games this team has become known for. They were down 2-0 after two periods. They scored three times in 10 minutes to take the lead, but Anaheim tied it up soon after with a power-play goal. Overtime was fruitless, but Calgary needed just the minimum three shots to take it in the shootout. It was clearly an emotional win for the Flames, with Hiller in particular showing much more emotion than normal after beating his former team.
In that last game we picked against Anaheim and did so largely because they were in lousy form despite their strong overall record. They had just one win in their six games prior to showing up in Calgary. Since that loss, though, the Ducks went into Vancouver and won a shootout and beat Arizona at home. It's a small sample size, but they have been much stronger defensively, and they are healthier to boot.
Calgary Flames at Anaheim Ducks Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Anaheim favored at -165, with Calgary at +150. That has only moved up since then, with prices as high as -180 now available. The total is set at the standard 5.5.
The "under" is 4-1 the last five times these teams have played in Anaheim. The "over" is 3-0-1 in Anaheim's last four against teams with winning records. The Flames have gone over the total in their last six against the Pacific Division and in their last five against teams with a winning record.
Calgary Flames at Anaheim Ducks Predictions and Picks
I'm not crazy about the price, but Anaheim is the clear play here. They are going to be determined for revenge here after losing a game in Calgary that they certainly should have won. They have a matchup edge, are much more experienced, and will come out on top.
4-Unit Play #11 Take Anaheim vs. Calgary (-170) (10 p.m. ET Tuesday)
Year-to-date Flames picks: 4-2, +8 Units, +$740.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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