Dallas Stars (+104) at Calgary Flames (-115, 5.5 o/u)
The playoff hopes of the Dallas Stars (35-28-10, 80 pts) hang by a thread. The team has won eight of its last ten games, but is still eight points back of the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. Tonight, Dallas heads north to face the Calgary Flames (40-27-6, 86 pts), who are in a playoff battle of their own (10:00 p.m. Eastern at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary).
Dallas has posted three straight home wins over Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Buffalo. The 4-3 win over the Sabres on Monday saw the Stars come back from three one-goal deficits. Captain Jamie Benn had two goals and an assist in the win, while Cody Eakin netted the game winner with just over three minutes left in the third.
Head coach Lindy Ruff realizes that, with just nine games remaining, his team needs a lot of help to advance to the second season.
“The only thing we can do is win out, try to win out,” coach Lindy Ruff said. “Take it a game at a time but try to win out.”
Calgary, meanwhile, has lost three of its last five, but is 6-2-2 over the last ten and managed to beat Colorado (3-2) on Monday.
David Jones and Lance Bouma each had a goal and a helper in the win, while Kari Ramo stopped 25 of 27 shots for his 15th win of the season.
“They always play the same way,” coach Bob Hartley said about tenacious linemates Bouma and Jones. “That’s the good thing about Lance Bouma, Jonesie. You can always count on them. They go hard; they’re not fun to play against.”
The Flames currently hold the third and final automatic playoff berth in the Pacific Division, but they are tied on points with the fourth-place Kings and would trail both Minnesota and Winnipeg in the Wild Card race should they get leapfrogged by L.A.
The Stars are sitting at +104 in the moneyline, while the Flames are -115. The over/under is at 5.5.
In the trends, Dallas has won four of the last five head-to-head; seven of the last ten have gone over the total. With Dallas boasting the second-best offense in the league (3.1 goals per game) and Calgary not far behind (2.9 goals per game), the over looks like the best play.
However, keep a close eye on the status of Benn, the Stars’ leading scorer. He sustained an undisclosed injury against Buffalo and didn’t practice on Tuesday, according to NHL.com. The over looks less enticing if he doesn’t dress or is at half-capacity.
(Photo credit: Lisa Gansky from New York, NY, USA (IMG_6077) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)