The Calgary Flames begin a crucial week with a chance to get some cushion at the top of the standings, but they will be facing a desperate opponent on Tuesday.
The Flames are -140 home favorites (bet $140 to win $100) on the NHL betting lines for Tuesday night at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com with the Columbus Blue Jackets coming back at +115 (bet $100 to win $115) and a 6.0-goal total. Calgary, which has clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup playoffs, is 12-4 in its last 16 home games at the Scotiabank Saddledome, while the Blue Jackets are 3-6 in their last nine away games as the underdog.
If there’s such a thing as a safe assumption, it might be that both teams will look to avoid a repeat of the offensive outburst in their last matchup on December 4, when the Flames surmounted a three-goal deficit to defeat the Blue Jackets 9-6 in Columbus. Seven Flames had multiple-point games that night, with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan notching two goals and two assists.
Both first-line center Monahan (illness) and winger Sam Bennett (upper body) missed the Flames’ most recent game, a 2-1 road loss against the Central Division-leading Winnipeg Jets last Saturday. Mark Jankowski scored the Flames’ only goal. But despite missing two key attackers, the Flames outshot one of the best teams in the Western Conference in its own arena. It’s also possible that Bennett and Monahan could return for this game after getting on the ice with a skills coach on Monday.
The total has gone OVER in 11 of the Flames’ last 16 home games at online betting sites. However, six of Columbus’ last seven games have finished with a total of 5.0 or fewer, so that more recent trend might rule the day, especially with Columbus compromised up front with captain Nick Foligno (personal) questionable to play.
The Flames are fourth in the NHL in offense with 3.6 goals per game, while the Blue Jackets are tied for 12th, averaging an even 3.0. The Flames have the NHL’s 10th-ranked power play (21.3 percent) and 20th-ranked penalty kill (79.9 percent), while the Blue Jackets are 28th on the power play (15.0 percent) and third on the penalty kill (84.6 percent).
The Flames, who have 95 points, are one point ahead of the San Jose Sharks, with one game in hand, for first place in the Pacific Division. Calgary’s next three games are all against teams outside of playoff contention, including a home game against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday and an away game against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.
The Blue Jackets, who sit in the second wild-card position in the Eastern Conference, conclude their four-game road trip with away games against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday and the Canucks on Sunday.