The Calgary Flames and the Colorado Avalanche begin their first round playoff series on Thursday night. The hockey world has buzzed in anticipation for several days, with several outlets making series predictions. We’ve collected the predictions for the Flames’ series for ease of reference.
The NHL’s rights-holders put together a panel of 22 of their personalities to make picks for every series. Every single panelist went with the Flames: one in four games, 12 in five, seven in six, and two in seven.
As a bonus, nine of their panelists picked the Flames to advance to the Stanley Cup Final – with David Amber picking them to win the Cup.
Travis Yost busts out his analytics toolbox for a breakdown of the series. He shares many of the fanbase’s concerns regarding netminding:
The one thing that keeps me from picking Calgary in a short series is the unknown goaltending variable. For whatever reason – I assume it’s financially motivated but it could be just stubbornness at this point – the Flames have been feeding goaltender starts. This despite the fact Smith’s numbers have been cratering for years, with his 89.8 save percentage this year being a career low.
That said, he picks the Flames in six games.
The Sporting News
The Sporting News put together a panel of eight writers to choose each series. Seven of them chose the Flames to win – two in five games and five in six games – while the other chose Colorado in seven games.
The Hockey News
The Hockey News has a byline-free preview, but it’s pretty slanted towards the Flames – with the only real shimmer of light being Colorado’s goaltending edge over Calgary.
There may have been no worse draw for the Colorado Avalanche, who enter the first round on somewhat of a hot streak as winners of eight of their past 11 contests, than the Western Conference best Calgary Flames. When the former Northwest Division foes have met this season, the outings have been decidedly one-sided, with the Avalanche trying but failing to slow down a Flames offense that was among the league’s best this season.
They chose the Flames in six games.
Greg Wyshynski likes the Flames in six games.
Grubauer keeps the Avalanche in it, but the Flames’ offense proves too much to handle. But fret not for the Avs: Cale Makar, the No. 1 drafted prospect in hockey, and Ottawa’s lottery pick mean they’re going to be loaded next season (and beyond).
Los Angeles Times
Hockey Hall of Fame honoree Helene Elliott is high on the Flames as well, but notes that the Flames goaltending is a concern. She takes the Flames in five games.
Behind their paywall, the Athletic broke down the first round in a couple different ways. Not to give away too much of their stuff for free, all we’ll say is that they like the Flames to varying degrees.