Florida Panthers (17-17-8) at Calgary Flames (28-13-4)
NHL: Friday, January 11, 2019 at 9:00 PM ET (Scotiabank Saddledome)
Line & Odds: Florida Panthers +1.5/ Calgary Flames -1.5 — Over/Under: 6.5
Free ESPN NHL Picks Calgary Flames vs Florida Panthers
The Calgary Flames have had an extremely strong year and will look to continue that trend with a home game against the struggling Florida Panthers at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
The Calgary Flames have been on a tear lately, winning three games in a row while going 6-2-2 in their last 10 games. A big reason for this is the major production the Flames are getting from their point leaders. Winger Johnny Gaudreau has turned his success from last year into a breakout year this time around. He leads the team in points with 26 goals and 40 assists (both team highs) while also boasting an impressive +18 plus/minus. He is followed by Sean Monahan, Elias Lindholm and Matthew Tkachuk, who all have over 50 points so far this season and have been in the middle of career seasons as well. Another player that should be mentioned is defender Mark Giordano, who has six goals and 37 assists while also having a team-high +31 plus/minus. If you couldn’t tell already, this offense is extremely well balanced as they average 3.6 goals per game (3rd in NHL) and 32.1 shots on goal (14th in NHL) on 11.2% shooting (4th in NHL). The Flames have also been extremely efficient when it comes to faceoffs as they win 52.1% of them (5th in NHL). Defensively, the Calgary Flames are not as strong, but they are good enough. They allow 2.82 goals per game (11th in NHL) on 28.9 shots on goal (5th in NHL). Things start taking a dive with penalties as the Flames average 9.2 penalty minutes per game (21st in NHL) and they kill just 78.7% of opponent penalties (19th in NHL). Luckily, the success of goalie David Rittich has made things much easier as his 16-4-3 record along with a 2.42 GAA and .921 Sv% are all career highs for him.
This season has been extremely underwhelming for the Florida Panthers as they entered the season looking like a strong play for the playoffs. It definitely doesn’t look like that will be true this season as the team has been inconsistent on both ends of the ice. Newly acquired Mike Hoffman leads the team in goals with 20, but he also has a -14 plus/minus. Same thing goes for point leaders Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov, who have 46 and 43 points respectively, but are also at -15 or under in plus/minus. As a team the Panthers average 3.14 goals per game (11th in NHL) and 34.1 shots on goal (3rd in NHL) on 9.2% shooting (18th in NHL), plus they struggle with faceoffs winning just 48.9% of them (20th in NHL). They are however, strong when it comes to power plays as they score on 26.7% of them (4th in NHL). Now when you look at those numbers offensively, you’ll see a lot worse in this league, but when it comes to defense things turn disastrous as the Panthers allow 3.5 goals per game (28th in NHL). They are middle of the pack when it comes to penalties as they average 8.5 penalty minutes (13th in NHL) and they kill just 80.2% of penalties (T15th in NHL). Despite all this, the biggest reason for the Panthers struggles this season has to come down to the poor play of future Hall of Famer Roberto Luongo, who started the season well, but has been on the decline since coming back from injury. Luongo has an 8-9-1 record with a 3.37 GAA and .892 Sv%. Not what you’re looking for from your no.1 goalie.
Cover The Spread 365 NHL betting trends
5-1 SU in their last 6 games
9-4 ATS in their last 13 home games
The total has gone OVER in 5 of their last 6 games
1-6 ATS in their last 7 games
1-4 SU in their last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of their last 5 games
ESPN NHL Scores Florida Panthers vs Calgary Flames
These are two teams heading in opposite directions as the Florida Panthers can’t seem to win a game while the Calgary Flames are one of the best teams in the league. When you add the fact that the Flames are playing at home and this makes it even easier.
Pick: Flames -1.5