NHL Hockey Free Predictions: Calgary Flames vs Colorado Avalanche
Tonight, 9:35p.m. ET
Sportsbook odds: Flames +115, Avs -135
Hockey games on April 2nd don’t get much bigger than this. The Calgary Flames travel to Colorado on Thursday night to take on the team that they must overtake in order to gain a playoff position that seemed so improbable only a few days ago.
It is not a case of Calgary playing all that well lately, the race is more of a product of Colorado’s recent poor play.
The Calgary Flames have suddenly emerged as a serious threat to overtake the eighth place Colorado Avalanche for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
After two straight losses that culminated in a heartless 5-0 loss in Boston on Sunday, the Flames have won two straight games against tow of the NHL’s elite teams – Washington and Phoenix. The Jekyll and Hyde Flames can pull into a tie with the Avalanche on Friday night with a win and finally reach a playoff position that appeared out of reach only a week ago.
The Calgary Flames have started to heat up despite their leader Jarome Iginla’s silence over the past few games. The Flames have been relying on lesser offensive players such as Ales Kotalik, who was a trade deadline acquisition, and Rene Bourque for their scoring during their two game win streak. They have also been getting solid play from goaltender Mikka Kiprusoff who has allowed just four goals over his past two outings.
The Colorado Avalanche have hit the skids at the wrong time. The goaltending has been a disaster, the defensive play has been suspect and the offense has largely disappeared, particularly during the Avalanche present three game losing streak.
Names like Milan Hejduk, Matt Duchene, Paul Stastny and Chris Stewart have been slumping and goaltender Craig Anderson appears to be a shell of his early season self. Anderson is a disappointing 1-5-1 in his last seven games with a terrible 4.25 goals against average. Newly acquired Peter Meuller, who has been Colorado’s best player since coming over from Phoenix, is questionable to start against the Flames on Friday night making an already shaky team even less awe-inspiring.
Friday night’s game is obviously huge for both teams – a loss by either team would be an enormous blow to morale. Colorado still has a game in hand over the Flames and just might need it as the season dwindles down. I like the hotter of the two teams in this one – Calgary has been playing “must win games” for a few weeks now and will not be intimidated by the daunting task ahead.
Colorado is in a tail spin and facing adversity that they have not become accustomed to this year. The Western Conference playoff race becomes a whole lot more interesting after Friday night.
NHL Betting Trends:
Calgary is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games on the road
Calgary is 3-9 SU in its last 12 games when playing on the road against Colorado
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Colorado’s last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Colorado’s last 5 games when playing Calgary
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Calgary’s last 5 games when playing Colorado
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Calgary’s last 6 games when playing on the road against Colorado
Colorado is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games when playing Calgary
Colorado is 9-3 SU in its last 12 games when playing at home against Calgary
Flames vs. Avalanche Free Pick: Calgary Flames