This will likely be a pretty boring series between the Pacific winning Calgary Flames and the #1 Wild Card Dallas Stars.
The Calgary Flames had a great season under head coach Daryl Suter, who has this team playing fantastic in every facet of the game. They won the (pretty weak) Pacific Division with a 50-21-11 record. Including their last two games of the season where they lost while resting key players, the Flames go into the playoffs with a 10-2-2 record in their last 14 games. Calgary’s offense has been very good, scoring a sixth most in the NHL average of 3.55 goals per game. They’ve averaged 35.5 shots per game, third most in the NHL with a twelfth best 10% shooting percentage. Their power play is tenth best in the NHL, scoring on 22.9% of their shots. The Flames top line is one of the best in the league with Johnny Gaudreau (115 points, 75 assists, 40 goals),Matthew Tkuchuk (104 points, 62 assists, 42 goals) and Elias Lindholm (82 points, 42 goals) all scoring over 40 goals this season with some decent depth on the lines below them. Calgary’s arguably been even better defensively. They’ve allowed the third fewest goals in the NHL, an average of just 2.51 goals per game. Jacob Markstrom has had a fantastic season in goal and should definitely be a Vezina candidate this season (which will most likely go to Igor Shesterkin of the Rangers) with a 2.22 GAA, .922 save percentage and nine shutouts. The Flames have allowed the fifth fewest shots in hockey, an average of only 29 per game. They took the eleven most penalty minutes in the NHL but their penalty kill was very good, killing off 83.2% of those penalties, sixth best in the league.
The Dallas Stars got into the playoffs with a 46-30-6 record as the first Wild Card team out of the West. They’re much better on home ice than they are on the road, with a solid 27-10-4 record in American Airlines Center. Statistically, by no means do the Stars look like a playoff team and they play boring hockey. On the season, they’ve averaged only 2.84 goals per game, twelfth fewest in the NHL. They had the 14th fewest shots in hockey, an average of 30.3 per game and only a twelfth lowest in the NHL 9.4% shooting percentage. Their power play wasn’t bad, scoring on 22.5% of their PPs. Dallas was the least penalized team in the NHL this season and had a 79% penalty kill (14th worst in the NHL). They have been slightly better defensively but nothing great, allowing an average of 2.98 goals per game, 14th fewest in the NHL and allowing a 13th fewest 31 shots per game. Jake Oettinger had a 2.53 GAA and .914 save percentage this season.
Calgary was 2-0-1 in the regular season against Dallas. The Stars won 4-3 in overtime in Calgary on November 4th, the Flames won 4-3 in Dallas on February 1st and then the Flames won at home again 4-2 on April 21st.
I’d expect the Flames to win this series pretty easily and the books think so too with them priced at -400 to knock off the Stars. I’ll take the Flames to win in six games or less for 3 units.
The Flames are my favorite to win the Western Conference and make a run at bringing the Stanley Cup back to Canada. I just think the odds on them to win the Cup at +600 isn’t worth it, especially since they’ll likely have to face Colorado in the Western Conference Finals. I’ll lay off the futures on them and just bet them game by game and series by series.
The moneyline on Calgary is a little too expensive for me at -230, but I’ll take the Flames in regulation for a unit at home in Game 1.
3u Flames in six games or less (-157)
Game 1 Bets
1u Flames in regulation (-136)
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