Flames at Predators Picks and NHL Betting Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 4/23/2013
I have been a fan of the Calgary Flames since they moved to my hometown in 1980. I went to the first game they ever played here and have gone to dozens of games since. Because of my long association, I couldn’t possibly be more frustrated with the team than I have been over the last week or so. They have been truly awful all year, are short of prospects, and were major sellers at the Trade Deadline.
The final steps of this horrible season were clear — they just needed to keep playing as poorly as they have all year to stay at the bottom of the standings and give themselves the best possible chance to add a franchise-changing player in the draft. Simple.
That was clearly beyond this group, though. For the first time all season, the team is playing with pride. They have won three in a row and six of eight. They had won five in a row prior to this stretch, and they have long been out of playoff contention, so all this streak accomplishes is making the likely draft pick worse. This is all so frustratingly appropriate for this team and how they have played over the last decade or two.
Flames at Predators Betting storylines
While Calgary clearly doesn’t know how to tank a season for the long term good, the Predators have the concept nailed. They have dropped eight in a row and 11 of 12. In four of their last six games they have allowed five goals, and they have been shut out three times in their last seven. It’s ugly. You can tell that the team is just playing out the string because goalie Pekka Rinne has been far from brilliant but has played all but one of the last 11 games — a clear sign that they just don’t care. They have lost their last six in Nashville as well, so home ice is clearly no advantage at this point.
The Flames have been getting an unexpected boost from their new youth infusion. Ben Hanowski was acquired from the Penguins in the Jarome Iginla deal. He joined the team after finishing his season at St. Cloud State, and he recorded a goal in his first game. He has no more points but has been strong in two more games since. Defenseman Mark Cundari came to Calgary from St. Louis for Jay Bouwmeester. In his first NHL game on Sunday, he contributed a goal and an assist. They are all part of a lineup that is young and inexperienced — in part because veterans Curtis Glencross, Dennis Wideman and Alex Tanguay are all injured and likely out for the year. Right now they are surviving on enthusiasm alone. However, for a team that has lacked a jump all year, this makes a big difference.
The Flames have been getting much better goaltending recently from Joey MacDonald than they have for much of the year. Though the 33 year old was brought over from Detroit as a stop-gap, he has done enough this year to have been rewarded Saturday with a new contract for next year. He responded by playing brilliantly on Sunday, and that confidence could carry over here. If it does, that is bad news for the Predators. Nashville is 29th in the league in goals scored, and defenseman Shea Weber leads the team in scoring with just 24 points. There are four players in the league with more than 24 goals.
Flames at Predators Odds and Betting Trends
The Flames have won their last four games against teams with a losing record. Nashville has lost their last six at home. The home team has won the last five meetings between these teams. Nashville has lost their last six games after a game in which they have allowed five or more in the previous game.
Flames at Predators Picks and Betting Predictions
The Flames are an attractive road underdog here. They are playing with some pride and spark, while that has been totally absent from the Predators. The road had been very unkind to Calgary, but they have won their last three road games, and seem to have gotten over that hump. Calgary has a better than even chance to win this one, so at this price they are a real bargain.
Doc’s Sports is offering $60 worth of member’s NHL picks absolutely free – no obligation, no sales people – you don’t even have to enter credit card information. You can use this $60 credit any way you please on any of our top hockey handicappers. Click here for more details and take advantage of this free $60 picks credit today.
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
Get all of Tonight's NHL Picks.
Get all of Tonight's guaranteed Expert NHL Picks.