NHL Hockey Betting: Calgary Flames at Anaheim Ducks

NHL Hockey Betting:  Calgary Flames at Anaheim Ducks&h=235&w=320&zc=1

The Anaheim Ducks will try to go up 2-0 on the Calgary Flames on Sunday as they host Game Two of the best of seven Western Conference Semifinal series. The Flames were trounced 6-1 in Game One and the final score doesn’t even reflect how badly they were dominated. The bigger, more physical Ducks had their way with Calgary to the point that Flames’ coach Bob Hartley benched 5’9″ Johnny Gaudreau in the third period ‘for his own safety’. Games Three and Four will be back in Canada at Calgary’s Scotiabank Saddledome.

We still don’t ‘get’ this Anaheim team. Nothing about their statistical profile suggests that they should be as good as they are but all they do is win games. Anaheim finished the regular season ranked 11th in goals for, 20th in goals against, 28th on the power play and 15th on the penalty kill. That statline suggests a mediocre team at best but guess again–the Ducks piled up 51 wins, 109 points and won the Western Conference title after turning the Pacific Division into a ‘boat race’ with an easy win. There are teams in all sports that are better than their statistical profile suggests–teams that can make the right play at the right times. Anaheim might be that sort of team though it’s much more rare to do that in hockey than sports like baseball or football. It does make this Ducks team exceedingly hard to handicap and valuate properly.

Even if the Flames get dispatched in four games by the Ducks they’ve already had a great season. They’ve gone from one of the most miserable doormats in the league over the past few seasons to a young, hard working and tenaceous team that is starting to realize that they’ve got the talent to win hockey games. They’ve also developed a cool, composed confidence based on their league leading number of third period comebacks. They’re a remarkable story and have just kept battling even after losing captain Mark Giordano late in the regular season. Most hockey scribes thought Giordano’s injury meant ‘game over’ on the Flames’ season but instead they did everything they could to make up for the considerable absence of their captain.

We still can’t figure out this Ducks team. At any rate, we don’t see them getting the sweep over Calgary like the did with Winnipeg. We’ll take another shot on the Flames in Game Two.


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