Flames at Wild Picks and NHL Betting Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 2/26/2013
This condensed schedule due to the lockout has led to no end of strange quirks of scheduling, and this game is yet another example. This is the third time in 16 days that these teams have met and the second time since Saturday night. Both of the previous games were played in Calgary — a 3-1 win by the Flames on Saturday night, and a 2-1 shootout win by the Wild on the 11th. They don’t play again after this until mid-April when they play twice within five days. For the Wild this is the second time in a row they have played Calgary, while the Flames fit in a Sunday night game against Phoenix — a 5-4 win at home — between meetings.
It’s too early for there to be a must-win game, but this is pretty close if either of these teams have legitimate dreams of being playoff contenders. Through 17 games played, the Flames are perfectly average with 17 points. Minnesota is just one point ahead with 18. Right now 19 points is good for eighth place, so a win here could conceivably get a temporary playoff spot for the winner. With only six points separating the team in 14th from the one in fifth in the Western Conference, though, falling behind could prove to be insurmountable — even though we are still in the first half of the season.
Flames at Wild Betting storylines
The Flames have several issues to overcome if they want to have a solid season, but the biggest right now is their goaltending. Miikka Kiprusoff has been a wall for the team for nearly a decade, but he’s out with a knee injury that is showing no signs of healing quickly. Leland Irving was supposed to be the goalie of the future for the team, but he already floundered under the pressure and is back in the AHL and quite possibly out of the picture for the team for good. The team picked up Joey MacDonald on waivers from the Red Wings. He’s 3-2 in his five starts since joining in the Flames. However, with the exception of the Saturday night contest against Minnesota, he has not been particularly sharp. He allowed just one goal in 31 shots against the Wild, and he made some strong saves, but there was more than a little luck involved as well. It would be a mistake to assume that he has Minnesota’s number or that he can be relied upon for another strong performance here. If he doesn’t play then Danny Taylor would make just his second career start after allowing four goals in his debut last week, so it’s hard to be optimistic either way.
While the goaltending is an issue, the Flames come into this game with as much momentum as they have had all year. This is only the second time that the Flames have enjoyed a two-game winning streak all season and the first time that both of those wins have come in regulation. Of course, Minnesota had won two in a row heading into their game in Calgary, and they came out quite flat in that one, so it’s hard to read too much into the Flames’ recent success.
Minnesota spent heavily in the offseason, bringing in Ryan Suter and Zach Parise. Among other things, that was expected to have a strong impact on their power play. So far, though, that most certainly has not been the case. They are converting on just 13.8 percent of their opportunities — only the 27th-best rate in the league. They have failed to score in eight tries over their last four games. They simply aren’t scoring enough right now to overcome that level of incompetence and will struggle to produce wins at a reasonable level until they get it sorted out.
Flames at Wild NHL Odds and Betting Trends
The Flames have not performed well playing for the third time in four nights — they have lost each of their last six opportunities. The “under” has gone 9-1-2 in their last 12 games for Minnesota. The Flames are 5-2 the last seven times they have played the Wild.
Flames at Wild Picks and Betting Predictions
Calgary has been a tough team to trust this year, but their top offensive players are finally showing some spark. Calgary has been better on the road than at home, so they can be somewhat trusted here. They may not be the more likely team to win here, but they present real value at this price because Minnesota isn’t worth this hefty price after losing six of their last 10.
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