#1 Calgary Flamesvs.#2 Washington DC Capitals
Tuesday, March 3 2017, at 7:05pm EDT
Written by David Hess
Calgary Flames (41-27-2-2 SU, 39-33 PL, 30-34-8 O/U) vs Washington Capitals (46-17-3-5 SU, 31-40 PL, 32-25-14 O/U)
When: 7:00 PM ET, Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Where: Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
Lines: Washington -200/Calgary +170
Tonight in NHL action, the Calgary Flames will travel to the nation’s capital to rumble with the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center. The Flames come into this contest off a 5-2 home win over the Kings and they have now won 12 of their last 13 games, while the Capitals are off a 5-3 road win over Tampa Bay, but still they have lost five of their last seven games. Calgary is 5-12-2 their last 19 games in this series, but the road team has won the last five meetings between these teams.
The Calgary Flames are the hottest team in the league as they come in having won 12 of their last 13 games after taking out the Kings at home by a score of 5-2 on Sunday night. Something just clicks for this team and if they keep it up, then they will be heading to the postseason with plenty of momentum. The Flames are in the 5th slot in the Western Conference playoff standings and they have an 11 point lead over the Kings, who are in the 9th slot and with just 10 games to go, they should feel secure about getting into the postseason for just the 2nd time in the last eight years. They had their issues in the crease earlier in the year, but have really cleaned that up by allowing just 1.75 gpg over their last 12 games. The offense has also played well of late as they have averaged 4.00 gpg in their last 13 games. Scoring in the win over the Kings was Sean Monahan, which was his team-leading 23rd of the year, Michael Stone, which was his 3rd, Mark Giordano, which was his 12th, Johnny Gaudreau, which was his 16th and Kris Versteeg, which was his 13th.
Grabbing the win against the Flames was Brian Elliott and he has now gone 23-16 with a 2.46 GAA on the year, including 10-10 with a 2.82 GAA on the road, while against the Capitals in his career he has gone 6-4 with a 3.24 GAA. Calgary comes in ranked 15th in the league in scoring at 2.74 gpg, while also ranking 24th in shots taken (29.4 spg) and 14th in power play conversions, converting on 19.6% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice they have been average as they come in ranked 13th in goals allowed, giving up 2.65 gpg, while also ranking 8th in shots allowed (28.6) and 14th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 18.7% of their chances.
The Washington Capitals have been atop the Metro Division for a couple of months now and at one time they had an eight point lead in the division, but they have had some struggles recently and are now in a tie for first place in the division with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Both teams have 10-0 points on the year, which leads the league by one point over Chicago. The Caps come in off a solid 5-3 road win over the Lightning, but still they have won just two of their last seven games. This is not a time that teams want to go into a slump as the playoffs are right around the corner. The Caps have scored nine goals in their last two win, but just nine total goals in their last five losses. T.J. Oshie led the attack against the Lightning with his 3rd career hat trick and he now has 29 goals on the year, which leads the team. Also scoring in the win was Justin Williams, which was his 20th of the year and John Carlson, which was his 8th of the year. This marks their 3rd consecutive year that they reached the 100 point mark.
Coming up with the win against the Lightning was Braden Holtby, who has now gone 36-17 with a 2.05 GAA on the year, including 23-8 with a 1.78 GAA here at home, while against the Flames in his career he has gone 3-2 with a 3.07 GAA. The Capitals enter this game ranked 3rd in the league in scoring at 3.20 gpg, while also ranking 21st in shots taken (29.7 spg) and 8th in power play conversions, converting on 21.4% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice they have been very strong as they rank 1st in goals allowed, giving up 2.17 gpg, while also ranking 4th in shots allowed (27.7) and 8th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 16.3% of their chances.
The Calgary Flames are (Pardon the pun) extremely hot right now, while the Capitals are heading in the opposite direction. Still, I feel that the Capitals will rise up and grab a much-needed win over the hottest team in the league. The Capitals have gone a very strong 28-8 here at home and Holtby has gone 23-8 with a 1.78 GAA at the Verizon Center so far. The Flames have won their last five games on the road, but just one of those wins (Nashville) was against a team that would be in the postseason if it started today and they are just 5-12-2 the last 19 games in this series. Take the Capitals in this one.
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