The Calgary Flames are dragging a two-game losing skid into one of the NHL’s tougher road environments, but a lineup shakeup and a strong record in the first leg of back-to-back games stand out as marks in their favour.
The Flames are +120 road underdogs (bet $100 to win $120) on the NHL odds for Wednesday night at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, with the Vegas Golden Knights coming back at -145 and a 6.0-goal total. The Flames, who face the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday, are 7-0 this season in the front end of back-to-back games. They are also 8-6 this season as a moneyline underdog.
This is the Pacific Division counterparts’ third game of the season. Calgary won 7-2 on home ice on November 19 but Vegas got payback four days later at home with a 2-0 shutout win. This time around, the teams are also playing twice in five days, with a rematch in Calgary.
The Flames are 2-4 all-time against the second-year Golden Knights, according to the OddsShark NHL Database. Interestingly, Vegas is 1-4 in its last five home games as a moneyline favorite of 100 to -150, which might suggest that the so-called “Vegas flu” is wearing out now that hockey in Sin City is less of a novelty.
On Monday, Calgary lost 6-2 at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs, with Derek Ryan and Matthew Tkachuk scoring their only goals. That second loss in a row has prompted a shakeup of the lines in an effort to help the Flames, who have scored just 13 goals in their last six games, generate more offense. Tkachuk skated with first-liners Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau in practice, while second-line center Mikael Backlund is now between Elias Lindholm and Andrew Mangiapane.
Although the Flames would prefer to finish first in the Pacific Division and open the playoffs against a wild-card team, facing the third-place Golden Knights constitutes a playoff preview. It could be a close-checking game and it’s worth noting that the total has gone UNDER in nine of the Flames’ last 14 games as a road underdog. The total has also gone UNDER in 14 of Vegas’ last 19 home games as a moneyline favorite of 100 to -150.
The Flames lead the Pacific Division with 89 points, three ahead of the San Jose Sharks. After wrapping up the short southwestern trip in Arizona on Thursday, the Flames get a couple days off before the rematch with Vegas. The Golden Knights have their next outing on the road against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.