The Pacific Division meets the Atlantic Division this evening as the Calgary Flames pay a visit to BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida to rumble with the Florida Panthers. The Flames will be playing on no rest as they have a game in Tampa on Thursday night, while the Panthers enter this game off a 7-4 road win over the Blues. Goalie Probables: the Flames will be sending out David Rittich and the Panthers will counter with James Reimer.
Lines: Florida -123/ Calgary +111
Flames Are Right In The Playoff Mix
The Calgary Flames have had a decent 1st half so far as they are 22-20 on the year. They have been a bit hot of late as they entered Thursday night’s game against the Lightning riding a four game win streak. They are now in the 9th spot in the Western Conference playoff standings and just two points behind Minnesota, who is in the 8th spot. They are right in the mix as they are looking to make the postseason for the 2nd year in a row and the 3rd year in their last four years. Leading the Flames in Scoring this year has been Sean Monahan with 20 goals, while 2nd is Micheal Ferland with 18 and 3rd is Johnny Gaudreau with 13. The Flames have gone 10-9 on the road and they have averaged 2.63 gpg and have allowed 2.53 gpg in those games. Mike Smith is expected to get the start for the Flames on Thursday night so for this one, it will be David Rittich and he has gone 3-2 with a 2.04 GAA and a .924 save percentage on the year overall, including 3-1 with a 1.71 GAA and a .938 save percentage on the road. This is his first year in the league. Rittich was 5-1 with a 2.17 GAA and a .931 save percentage for the Stockton Heat this year.
The Flames come into this game ranked 20th in the league in scoring at 2.76 gpg, while also ranking 10th in shots taken (32.9 spg) and 22nd in power play conversions, converting on 17.1% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been average as they enter this game ranked 15th in goals allowed, giving up 2.81 gpg, while also ranking 10th in shots allowed (31.5 spg) and 23rd in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 20.4% of their chances.
Offense Explodes On St Louis
The Florida Panthers are just 18-24 on the year overall and in the 12th spot in the Eastern Conference playoff standings and a big problem for the of late has been an offense that has just fallen off the table. Well, that offense really woke up in their 7-4 road win over the Blues in their last contest. Scoring seven goals in a game was huge for them, especially since they had averaged just 2.17 gpg over their previous 12 games. This team needs their offense to get going and they hope that the win over the Blues is a start of that happening. Scoring in the win was Aaron Ekblad, which was his 7th of the year, Aleksander Barkov, which was his 14th, Radim Vrbata, which was his 5th, Jonathan Huberdeau, which was his 16th, Vincent Trocheck, who scored twice and now has 17 on the year and Colton Sceviour, which was his 6th. Grabbing the win against the Blues was James Reimer, who stopped 26 of the 30 shots that he faced in the game to move to 12-16 with a 3.05 GAA and a .911 save percentage on the year overall, including 7-5 with a 3.20 GAA and a .907 save percentage here at home. In his career, he has gone 59-62 with a 2.72 GAA in his home games and 41-38 with a 2.74 GAA against the Western Conference, while against the Flames he has gone 1-2 with a 4.05 GAA. The Panthers have gone 10-9 here at home for the year and they have averaged 3.37 gpg and have allowed 3.37 gpg in those games.
Florida has been below average on offense so far as they come into this ranked 19th in the league in scoring at 2.81 gpg, while also ranking 4th in shots taken (34.4 spg) and 27th in power play conversions, converting on 15.6% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been poor as they come in ranked 25th in goals allowed, giving up 3.19 gpg, while also ranking 31st in shots allowed (35.3 spg) and 19th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 19.8% of their chances.
- 1-5 in their last six vs. the Eastern Conference
- 2-5 in their last seven road games vs. a team with a winning home record
- 4-0 their last four games here at home
The Florida Panthers just had a rough road trip, but they did end it on a high note as they topped the Blues by a score of 7-4. The Flames have won their last four games in a row (Prior to Thursday) and they have gone 10-9 on the road this year, but they are playing this game on no rest against a rested team that has won its last four home games. I just do not see the Flames hanging in this one, especially since they will be coming off a tough game at Tampa Bay. The Flames have played well in this series of late, but this is just not a good spot for them to keep it going.