Tracking the Calgary Flames: Season-Long NHL Picks and Handicapping for Hockey
by Trevor Whenham - 2/18/2015
NHL Predictions: Minnesota Wild at Calgary Flames Odds and Picks
It's still only February, so we don't want to get too ridiculous about things, but this is an absolutely crucial game for both teams. Calgary is tied with Vancouver for second in the Pacific Division with 67 points. San Jose holds the final wild-card spot and is just a point behind Calgary. Then the Kings have 64 points and Minnesota has 63 - and a game in hand on the Flames. With a win the Flames would build a bit of a cushion on the Wild in what promises to be a tense wild-card race. A Minnesota win really tightens things up, though, and goes even further to ensure what is already all but inevitable - that the last two months of the season will be a total war for playoff life.
Minnesota Wild at Calgary Flames Betting Storylines
Calgary's last game was, in every way, a perfect example of what this season has been. They fell down 3-0 to the Bruins, were behind 3-1 after two periods, and yet came back to tie it in the Third and win it in overtime. It was the 10th time in 57 games that they have been behind after two periods and come back to win the game. The all-time NHL record is only 12, so Calgary could have that wrapped up by the end of February at this rate. It was a crazy, impressive effort - at least in the third period. This team doesn't quit. It did again expose an issue that just won't go away, though. Karri Ramo got the start in goal, but he was just plain lousy and was yanked after the third goal. Jonas Hiller took over and was a wall. He lifted the team, didn't allow a goal, and gets a lot of credit for the comeback. The team is responding well to Hiller, and he is playing well. That's a good thing. Ramo isn't proving to be an answer, though, and as an impending free agent, and with a better solution at the farm in Joni Ortio, it could be time for the Flames to make a move - or to hope that Hiller stays healthy.
Minnesota is coming off a loss , but they are red-hot right now. They are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games. The fuel for that shocking turnaround, to the absolute amazement and horror of Edmonton Oilers fans, is former Edmonton goalie Devan Dubnyk. It seemed like Dubnyk's career was over when he was dumped by the Oilers, but he was good in Arizona earlier this year and has been all but unbeatable for Minnesota. He has played 14 games in a row, and the team is 10-2-2 in those games. It doesn't make any sense, but it doesn't have to as long as it works. The team certainly wouldn't be where they are without him. His last game at Vancouver was not his best, but it wasn't a disaster, either. Dubnyk will have added motivation for this one - like the best of us, he grew up in Calgary, so he will be playing in a building he knows in front of friends and family who couldn't be more excited about his success.
Minnesota Wild at Calgary Flames Odds and Betting Trends
The Wild are a slight favorite in this one at -111 on the road, with the Flames close behind at -105. The total sits on the lower side of the standard range at five points.
Calgary is 5-1 both in their last six home games and in their last six with just one day of rest. The Wild have the same record lately with a single day of rest. Minnesota is 5-2 in the last seven meetings between the teams and won the only meeting this year 1-0 in Calgary when Dubnyk outdueled Hiller in a goaltending classic at the end of January. Minnesota, though, is just 11-24-2 in their last 37 games in Calgary.
Minnesota Wild at Calgary Flames Predictions and Picks
Tough game. The Wild are playing great, and they have to be respected. Calgary has won two in a row and six of eight, though, have won five of six at home since that loss to the Wild, and will be riding a wave of confidence after that comeback last time out. It's a well-matched game. With Calgary playing at home, though, there is value in them as the slight underdog - as has often been the case for this team this year.
4 Unit Play #56 Take Calgary Flames (-105) vs. Minnesota Wild (9:35 pm ET Wednesday)
Year-to-date Flames picks: 10-7, +14 Units, +$1640.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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