Flames vs Blues – NHL Pick for October 25th
It’s rivalry night in the NHL, which means some big-time matchups are about to take place. These aren’t always the easiest to bet on, but if you look in the right places you’ll be able to find some tantalizing betting options. When the season is this young there are plenty of opportunities to make some money. Teams are still figuring out their style of play, and even the juggernauts can fall to the underdogs, especially if there’s a rivalry on the line.
There are just two games on tap, but a very interesting matchup in the Western Conference between two teams off to different starts. The St.Louis Blues play host to the Calgary Flames with the Canadian team trying to rattle off some wins after a slow start to their season. The Blues are rolling along nicely thanks to their 6-2-1 star and sit in first place in the Central Division with a slight lead over the powerful Chicago Blackhawks. So who has an edge on Wednesday night? Let’s find out.
The Flames have to play on Tuesday night, and at the time of this writing have yet to finish their game. Regardless of the outcome, Calgary is going to put a tired team on the ice come Wednesday night after they played against the Predators on the road just the day before. Thankfully for the Flames and their fans, it’s still early in the season and everyone’s legs on the team should be acclimated to the grind of the regular season.
As for the Blues, they’ll be well rested – having not played since October 21st. They’re coming off a loss to the hands of the surprisingly good Las Vegas team in their first year of expansion and will be eager to jump back in the win column in front of their home crowd. The Blues handled the Flames well recently with a 7-2-1 record in their last ten games and will be eager to continue to that dominance on Wednesday night.
While neither team was expected to light up the scoreboard entering the season, The Blues have actually surprised a lot of people with an average of 3.22 goals a game. They managed to score just twice against the Golden Knights but had nine goals over their last two games before that contest and have proven to the rest of the league that they know how to find the back of the net.
The big name on the Blues is Vladimir Tarasenko, who when at his best is one of the top ten forwards in the NHL. He’s off to a decent start with nine points through nine games but is just third on his team in total points early on. The leader is Jaden Schwartz who already has a hat trick this season against the vaulted Blackhawks and recorded another two points in his last game against the Golden Knights. Schwartz has been able to do most of his damage with the assist but if he can find a rhythm in the goal scoring department the Blues’ offense will be a force to be reckoned with all season long.
One area the Blues can improve in is their power play, which ranks 20th in the NHL so far with a success rate of just over 17 percent. Tarasenko leads the team with two powerplay goals and he’ll need to get the rest of his teammates inspired to score with the man advantage if the Blues want to improve their play.
As for the Flames, their offense is suffering mightily to start the season. While 2.5 goals a game may not seem like an issue, it is when the rest of the NHL is scoring at an unprecedented rate. Prior to their date with the Predators, the Flames had scored just three goals over their last two games and now need to try and find their touch against the strong defensive unit of the Blues.
The problem with Calgary seems to be their lack of depth. Johnny Gaudrea and Sean Monahan are doing their part to help the team find the back of the net with a combined 19 points but with little help around them, the Flames are suffering. Calgary made big news when they signed the legendary Jaromir Jagr to a one year contract this season but the ageless wonder was recently placed on injured reserve after recording two points in his last two games. Without him to help spark the offense Calgary will need to look elsewhere.
If you’re looking for a ton of goals this may not be the game for you. Both teams rank in the top half of defenses and take pride in playing a tight, physical style in their own end. St. Louis currently ranks 11th in goals allowed per game at 2.67 and also have some blueliners chipping in offense to help the team out. Alex Pietrangelo ranks second on the team in points with 11 despite manning the blueline and his increased responsibility with Kevin Shattenkirk gone seems to be helping his game.
With Jay Bouwmeester injured and Carl Gunnarsson away from the team after the birth of his child (congratulations) the Blues’ defense has some holes that the Flames may be able to take advantage of if they can find some open space on the ice.
Calgary’s defense is no slouch either, ranking 14th in the league in goals allowed per game at 2.88 but give up over 35 shots a game. If the Blues and some of their talented players manage to get 35 or more shots on net Wednesday night it could be a long game for the Flames.
The Flames are healthy all across their blueline though and have one of the best D-men in the NHL in Mark Giordano and an up and coming star in Dougie Hamilton. If this top line can shut down the likes of Tarasenko and Schwartz then the Flames will give themselves a good chance to get into the win column.
The Flames opted for a change in net this year when they made Mike Smith their number one netminder. He may not play given the fact that he was in the cage on Tuesday night but if he does the Flames are in luck. Prior to his game against the Predators, Smith had a 3-1 record with a 1.75 goals against average away from home. If he doesn’t get the start it will be up to Eddie Lack to get the job done. Lack was a non-factor in his one appearance this season allowing a goal on six shots in relief.
Opposite the Flames net will be Jake Allen who is 4-2-1 with a 2.80 goals against average and a .912 save percentage. Those numbers are far from elite and he’s shown that he can have bad games at times. Calgary has nothing to be intimidated by with him manning the crease.
Mikael Backlund against Jake Allen. Backlund is pointless through his last three games prior to his tilt with Nashville and he needs to get going if the Flames want to be taken seriously this year. Allen has the tendency to let in some soft goals so maybe this is exactly what the Flames’ second line center needs to get going.
No matter how badly Calgary needs a win, it doesn’t look promising for them in their second night of a back to back on the road. Stack your card with the Blues on the moneyline and the point spread.