by OddsShark (@OddsShark)
The Calgary Flames have yet to play to their potential in the playoffs, yet they are still slightly favoured for their most pivotal game of the season.
The Flames are a narrow -115 road favourite (wager $115 to win $100) with the Colorado Avalanche a -105 home underdog on the NHL betting lines for Wednesday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, while there is a 6.0-goal total. Colorado holds a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinal series after consecutive wins, but the Flames are 8-5 this season in road games with a 100 to -130 moneyline. However, Colorado is 7-2 in their last nine home games against Pacific Division teams.
Game 4 of a series that is at 2-1 is paramount, with the winner going on to win the round 67.1 percent of the time (330 of 492 times in NHL history). Whether the Flames get back into the series by winning and creating a best-of-three might be largely pegged to shutting down Avalanche centre Nathan MacKinnon, who has four points so far in the series and has 17 shots on goal.
On Monday, the Avalanche rolled to a 6-2 win to take a 2-1 series lead. Sam Bennett and T.J. Brodie scored for Calgary. The Avalanche had 56 shots on goal – the most that Calgary has allowed all season – with MacKinnon being one of five players to record at least two points. The Avalanche’s Cale Makar, a Calgary native, also became the first NHL defenseman in league history to score while making his debut in a playoff game.
Despite the losses, the Flames are 4-2 against the Avalanche. But bettors could hardly be faulted for poring over the playoff stats of Calgary’s quintet of 70-point scorers in the regular season, centres Elias Lindholm and Sean Monahan, left wings Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk and defenseman Mark Giordano, who have combined for only seven points so far in the series.
Make no mistake, the Flames have been far below the form that propelled them to the best regular-season record in the Western Conference. They are also just 2-6 in eight road games against the Western Conference since early February. In that same timespan, the Avalanche have gone 9-2 across 11 home games against conference opponents. Based on that, backing Calgary might simply be predicated on the volatile nature of playoff outcomes.
The total has gone UNDER in eight of the Flames’ last 11 away games according to the OddsShark NHL Database.
The Flames power play has converted 29.27 percent of its chances across its last 10 games, while the team has defended 84.62 of its penalty kills. Over Colorado’s last 10 games, their power play has scored just 15.38 percent of the time – although it was the seventh-best in the 31-team NHL in the regular season – and the penalty killing has succeeded 70.73 percent of the time.
In goal, Calgary’s Mike Smith has a 2.87 goals-against average and .926 save percentage so far in the series. Colorado’s Philipp Grubauer has a 2.24 GAA and .928 save percentage.
The Flames host Game 5 at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday. Game 6, if necessary, would be in Colorado on Sunday.