The Flames are heading in the right direction after a couple of disappointing years and you won’t find too many punters backing against Calgary on a regular basis. Offensively, only a handful of teams have notched more goals than the Flames (41) this season although their defence has been shipping goals in recent weeks. Goals are a certainty when Calgary are in action.
Incredibly, the Avalanche have the best goals differential (+14) in the NHL – an incredible achievement to say the least. Colorado will have this one down as a winnable contest but the visitors will need to be on top form to stand any chance of victory. Watch this space, it could go right down to the wire.
Plenty Of Positives In Early Stages Of Season
Nobody expected too much from Calgary at the beginning of the year but the Flames have looked incredibly strong – and they are only going to get stronger. Led by the iconic Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary are creating offensive chances but it has been at the expense of their defensive unit in recent weeks. For the Flames, it is about finding that balance between the two sides of the ice.
Meanwhile, the Avalanche have picked up where they left off at the end of last season. Once regarded as the whipping boys of the Central Division, Colorado are now a plus .500 win team and the rest of the NHL will be wary of their progression. Reaching the playoffs for the second year in succession is an absolute must for the Avalanche this season and it would be hard to write the road team off at this moment in time.
Stanley Cup Some Way Off For Both Teams?
Despite their obvious improvements, Calgary and Colorado may be left wanting in their pursuit of Stanley Cup glory. The Flames have clear talent on offense but defensive stability is key to success in any sport; and it is imperative in ice hockey. On paper, Calgary could go far but the rest of the National Hockey League will clock onto their defensive woes and that could be the turning point for the Flames.
The Avalanche are arguably the more complete side of the two and punters will fancy the Central Division outfit to push the Nashville Predators close in the race for top spot. A fourth place finish was enough to snag a first round playoff berth last year but they fell short against the Predators and a better regular season finish has to be their top priority before they even think about winning the Stanley Cup.
This has all the makings of an open and entertaining affair – it might even go to overtime. It is difficult to split the two teams based on their efforts so far this season but Colorado may have the edge. Calgary are likely to create chances on offense, especially on home ice, but the Avalanche are more than capable of going toe-to-toe with their opponents.
Taking all this into account, it may be wise to opt for over 5.5 goals here. As previously mentioned, it could blossom into one of the games of the weekend and possibly the season so far.
- TIP: Over 5.5 goals
- CORRECT SCORE: Calgary Flames 3-4 Colorado Avalanche (AOT)