NHL Playoff Betting – Flames at Ducks (Game 1)

Calgary Flames (+188) at Anaheim Ducks (-210, 5.5 o/u)

After getting rid of the Vancouver Canucks in the first round, the Calgary Flames (4-2, 1-2 away) will face a much different test in the second round of the NHL playoffs as they take on the Anaheim Ducks (4-0, 2-0 home), the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. Game 1 of the best-of-seven series goes tonight at the Honda Center in Anaheim (10:00 PM Eastern).

Despite finishing just below the Canucks in the standings and ceding home-ice advantage to their neighbours to the west, the Flames needed just six games to dispatch of Vancouver. The series looked poised to head to a Game 7 in Vancouver as the Canucks shot out to a 3-0 lead in Game 6. But Calgary, as it’s done all year, battled back from behind and wound up winning 7-4.

 

Calgary’s top line of Jiri Hudler, Johnny Gaudreau, and Sean Monahan was quiet for much of the series, but erupted in Game 6 for a combined ten points. Hudler and Gaudreau are currently tied for the team scoring lead with six points each.

Calgary goalie Jonas Hiller was, by and large, excellent in the series, posting a .931 SV% and respectable 2.20 GAA. The former Duck is eager to show his ex-team that it never should have let him go in the offseason.

“I can’t deny that it’s something special,” Hiller told reporters in Calgary this week. “Knowing a team you used to play seven years for, I think that makes it a little more special than playing against another team.”

“He knows what we’re like, and we know what he’s like,” said Ducks forward Corey Perry. “We know his tendencies, and he knows our tendencies. We’ve been shooting at him for years. So there’s no real advantage either way.”

Though the team trailed heading into the third period of the first three games, the Ducks were able to sweep the Jets (4-0) in round one. Anaheim’s top two lines dominated all series long. Perry had a team-high seven points, while second-lines Jakob Silfverberg and Ryan Kesler had six and five, respectively.

In the trends, Anaheim won the regular season series 3-2. The teams erupted offensively in the last three head-to-head, with all three ending 6-3 and hitting the over.

Calgary was above average on the road, going 22-17-2, but the Ducks posted one of the best home marks in the league at 26-12-3. There isn’t a great payout on the Ducks (-210), but they’re the top seed for a reason and are playing some of their best hockey of the year.

Pick: Ducks.

(Photo credit: Michael Miller (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)

Frank Lorenzo

MTS co-founder Frank “Let It Ride” Lorenzo has been betting on sports since he was legally allowed to do so. (Did he do so before then, too? No comment.) He enjoys very strong coffee, neon lights, and passing on his wealth of betting knowledge to anyone who will listen.