#1 Calgary Flames (50-25-7) vs #8 Colorado Avalanche (38-30-14) Mike Smith (23-16-2) vs Philipp Grubauer (18-9-5) NHL Hockey Thursday April 11 2019 10:00pm Est. (Scotiabank Saddledome) Line and Odds: Calgary -195 Over/Under — 6.0
FREE NHL Score Calgary Flames vs Colorado Avalanche
It is finally playoff time and on day 2 of the greatest post-season tournament in sports, the #1 seed in the West takes on one of the leagues hottest teams in the Colorado Avalanche. Calgary finished off the year with 107 points and have clinched home ice in every series barring a rematch of the 2004 Final against Tampa Bay. The Avalanche were the last man in the dance for the second year in a row, only this year they did not have to deal with an essential play-in game and were able to lock up there spot with a game remaining. The teams met three times during the regular season and the Flames took all three games.
It has been an excellent season for Calgary, they posted only the second 50 win season in franchise history and their first conference championship in nearly three decades. Star forward Johnny “Hockey” Gaudreau fell just short of the century mark, posting 99 points which was good for eighth in the league.
The Flames made their name on offense this year but their defense has been stout as well, taking pressure off their goalies hands by allowing the fewest shots on goal per game in the NHL, leading them to a top ten spot in goals allowed. Speaking of goaltending, it has been an enigma in Calgary as Mike Smith and David Rittich have split games throughout the season (42 starts for Rittich versus 40 for Smith). Smith will get the first nod in the post-season as he has been here before, holding 19 career starts under his belt and most notably leading the Coyotes to the Conference Final in 2012.
The Flames need to live up to their seeding for this season to be considered a success as they have won only one playoff series since their Cup run in ’04.
In a roller-coaster of a season, the Avalanche rekindled some of their early season magic late in the campaign and willed their way back into the playoffs, even missing start winger Miko Rantanen for the last eight games and going 6-1-1. It is no question the spot was earned as the Avalanche won a pivotal match-up with the Coyotes within a week of the season’s end and went 8-1-2 in their last 11 games overall including wins over the Stars Jets and Knights.
While the Flames are trying to figure out which goalie to trust in the playoffs, Colorado has no such qualms as Philipp Grubauer has been among the league’s best net protectors since taking over in the beginning of March. Grubauer has a personal record of 8-2-2 since that point and has allowed 2 or fewer goals in all but one of those contests, his save percentage never dipping under .913. His presence goes beyond the stats as multiple times in the last weeks of the season the Avalanche were massively out-shot or put in a 2-0 deficit early and each time Grubauer responded and led the team to at least a point. The three game stretch against the Blues, Oilers and Jets highlights this as each game saw Colorado down 2-0 after one period and see them come back to tie the score each time, getting 5 out of a possible six points in that stretch.
Calgary is 10-4 ATS in its last 14 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Calgary’s last 6 games at home
Calgary is 15-7 SU in its last 22 games at home
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Calgary’s last 11 games
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Colorado’s last 7 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 11 of Colorado’s last 15 games
Colorado is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games on the road
Colorado is 2-6 SU in its last 8 games on the road
Colorado is 8-3 ATS in its last 11 games
FREE NHL Prediction Colorado Avalanche vs Calgary Flames
This may be the 1 vs 8 match-up but it has potential to be one of the best series of the opening round with so much star power and the new founded success of the Flames against the wild run to the eight seed for Colorado. As I wrote about, the goalies will play pivotal roles in tonight’s game as the Flames are throwing Smith in hoping he can find the touch he has had in past post-seasons while the Avalanche have full confidence Grubauer will be on his game. The other match-up to watch is Nathan Mackinnon versus Johnny Gaurdeau, with Flames holding a deeper forward group, Mackinnon will need to be the superior player for Colorado to have a chance. I would predict the score to go under as both teams have been seeing low scores as of late and playoff hockey brings out more intensity on defense and in physicality. I think this series has good potential to go the distance but for tonight I believe the Flames are the better team and are hungry to make a statement so I am going with Calgary in a close one.