Calgary are in an ideal position to push on and challenge for Stanley Cup glory this year. The Flames are three points behind the second-placed San Jose Sharks in the Pacific Division and a postseason berth looks likely. The Canadian outfit had lost three in a row before securing a huge victory over the Colorado Avalanche last time out.
The Flames have won five of their last 10 National Hockey League fixtures; a solid record for this stage of the campaign. As the pressure grows, Calgary – priced at 30/1 with Bet365 to lift the Stanley Cup this year – are likely to crumble, they have been prone to major errors in previous years and the hosts may find it tough going. They should have no issues against Colorado though.
Meanwhile, the Avalanche’s road struggles continue. Colorado did manage to sneak a win at the Buffalo Sabres earlier this month but that was a one-off. The visitors will struggle to fend Calgary off if the Flames perform at their brilliant best. They are blessed with quality at both ends of the ice and they are the more complete organisation by some distance.
Calgary In Pole Position To Compete?
It is difficult to back against the Flames on current form, even whilst recognising their recent blip. These are the kind of games that Calgary simply must win – a straightforward victory looks likely in this fixture. Colorado have potential but they just cannot cope with the Flames on a player by player basis.
With 177 goals scored and 184 conceded, Calgary are struggling to inspire confidence in the Pacific Division race. When the Flames are bad, they are really bad – Calgary have suffered their fair share of heavy defeats this year. However, the Flames seem to have turned over a new leaf and this should be relatively straightforward.
KEY MAN: Johnny Gaudreau. Whenever Calgary take to the ice, one name is on everybody’s lips: Johnny Gaudreau. The Flames star has notched 73 points in 62 games; that is the kind of form that puts you in contention for the Most Valuable Player award.
Gaudreau is a supreme talent and he leads the National Hockey League in assists (53). The Calgary man could be the difference maker here – Flames fans will be praying that he shines in this fixture.
Avalanche Away Form Hindering Chances
Road form is key to success in the National Hockey League. The Colorado Avalanche are in desperate need of a change in fortune; having won just once in 14 away games. Placing too much faith in Colorado at this moment in time would be unwise; especially on the road. This could be their time to shine though if they manage to find their best form.
KEY MAN: Nathan MacKinnon. Nathan MacKinnon is a phenomenal player; he is Colorado’s Johnny Gaudreau. Every team has a standout character but viewers should feel blessed to see these two men going up against each other in this contest – it could be the match of the weekend.
Leading the team in both goals (25) and assists (40), MacKinnon is central to almost all of Colorado’s positive moments. He has the talent to lead the Avalanche out of their current predicament and another huge performance may be on the cards.
Backing an exciting contest would be foolish here – Calgary should be strong enough to win but it is important for the Flames to stay tight in defense. Glen Gulutzan’s side have the class to go far this year and the 1989 Stanley Cup winners could be set for a huge end to the current campaign. A comfortable contest could be on the cards.
FLAMES 3-1 AVALANCHE