If any team is to end the Canadian Stanley Cup-winning drought this year, it’s probably going to be the Calgary Flames as they open the playoffs as the top seed in the Western Conference and solid NHL Betting favorites to take the opener of their series on Thursday vs Colorado Avalanche.
How to Bet Avalanche vs Flames 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs Odds & Game Info
- When: Thursday, 10 PM ET
- Where: Scotiabank Saddledome
- TV: NBC Sports Network
- Live Stream: NHL.tv
- 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs Odds: Calgary Flames -190 / Colorado Avalanche +160 (Total 6)
Season SeriesThe Flames swept the Avs 3-0. They last played Jan. 9 in Calgary and the Flames won 5-3. Mikael Backlund, Mark Jankowski, Elias Lindholm, and Michael Frolik scored for Calgary, and Matthew Tkachuk added an empty-net goal.
Mark Giordano had three assists. Giordano had the primary assist on Lindholm’s power-play goal that broke a 2-all tie at 12:57 of the second period and Frolik’s deflection that made it 4-2 halfway through the third. Johnny Gaudreau added two helpers. David Rittich was in net. Nathan MacKinnon, Erik Johnson, and Mikko Rantanen scored for the Avs. Semyon Varlamov took the loss.
These two teams have never met in the playoffs.
Why Bet on Colorado?The Avs had gone 10 straight games without a regulation loss before dropping their regular-season finale 5-2 in San Jose on Saturday. The game proved meaningless for the Avalanche, who were locked into the second wild-card spot after Dallas won earlier.
Nathan MacKinnon wrapped up the season with 41 goals and 99 points, just missing out on his first-career 100-point season. He has averaged 98 points over the past two campaigns. He scored two goals with 13 shots on net in three regular-season meeting with the Flames.
Star right wing Mikko Rantanen (upper body) took part in a full-contact practice on Wednesday and is expected to Thursday in Game 1. “Great news,” coach Jared Bednar said. “[Rantanen’s] been progressing just like we hoped he would and today he gets some contact, light contact. Looks like he’s doing everything unrestricted, so we’ll see how he comes out of it today but it looks like he’s a potential player for us on Thursday.” He missed the last eight games of the regular season.
Rantanen posted career highs in 74 contests this season with 31 goals and 56 assists for 87 points and was ranked second on the Avs in points and assists. Without Rantanen in the lineup, Colorado went 5-1-2 as part of an 8-1-2 stretch to end the year, which included a 10-game point streak.
MacKinnon, Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog played 841 minutes together at even strength and dominated: 46 goals, a goals-for percentage of 61.33 and a 54.56 scoring chance percentage.
Who starts in net here? Semyon Varlamov or Philipp Grubauer? Grubauer, acquired last summer from the Capitals, who went 8-1-2 down the stretch and gave up more than two goals just once in that span. His 18 wins and 37 appearances are career highs for the goaltender, who also tied his personal best with three shutouts. Varlamov generated a 20-19-9 record through 49 starts. The netminder recorded a 2.87 goals-against average, .909 save percentage and two shutout victories during the year. It was Varlamov’s sixth 20-win season, second only to Patrick Roy (eight) in franchise history.
It will probably be Grubauer in Game 1.
- Goals: 3.17
- Shots: 32.62
- PP/PK Percentage: 22.03
- Goals: 3.00
- Shots: 31.91
- PP/PK Percentage: 21.25
Why Bet on Calgary?The Flames missed the playoffs last season for one primary reason: offense. They had a 2.63 goals per game average, ranking them 27th in the league. The team made a coaching change and some other player moves this offseason. These changes, along with career years from Johnny Gaudreau (99 points) and Matthew Tkachuk (34 goals), helped the Flames to be the league’s third-best offense, at 3.52 goals per game. The Flames are the only team in the NHL this year to boast five players with 70 or more points.
Calgary led the NHL in third period goals as well as third-period goal differential. The Flames scored 118 times in the third period as well as 54 more goals than their opposition, eight goals more than the second place Tampa Bay Lightning and 20 better than the Lightning in the differential.
Defenseman Mark Giordano is the favorite to take home his first Norris Trophy after a season that saw him score 17 goals, amass 74 points and post a plus-39 rating at 35 years old.
In net, the Flames got a great run this season from David Rittich, who posted a .911 save percentage and 7.99 goals saved above average. But 36-year-old Mike Smith has split time with him in the past month, and he appears to have the crease to start the playoffs after two months that salvaged his season. Coach Bill Peters hasn’t announced his decision as of this writing.
In his second full season with the Flames, Rittich led the team with 27 wins (27-9-5) through 45 appearances (42 starts). The Czech goaltender also posted a 2.61 goals-against average and .911 save percentage. Smith generated a 23-16-2 mark through 42 appearances this campaign, producing a 2.73 goals-against average and .898 save percentage. Smith has played in 19 career postseason games, recording a 10-8 record with a 1.88 goals-against average and .945 save percentage. Smith won his only start of the season against the Avs, but he also allowed five goals in that outing.
- Goals: 3.52
- Shots: 32.38
- PP/PK Percentage: 19.27
- Goals: 2.77
- Shots: 28.06
- PP/PK Percentage: 20.49
Avalanche vs Flames 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs Betting Trends
- Home team is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings
- Favorite is 8-1 in the last 9 meetings
- Over is 3-0-1 in the last 4 meetings in Calgary
- Colorado is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games on the road
- Colorado is 2-6 SU in its last 8 games on the road
- The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Colorado’s last 7 games on the road
- Calgary is 6-3 ATS in its last 9 games at home
- Calgary is 15-7 SU in its last 22 games at home
- The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Calgary’s last 6 games at home