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Vancouver vs. Calgary Prediction,
and Odds - 12-29-2018

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Game Snapshot with Current Line

#59 Vancouver
Canucks 6
#60 Calgary
Flames -205

Saturday, December 29, 2018 at 10:05pm

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

Game Stats

Vancouver Canucks

18 - 22


Calgary Flames

23 - 15


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Vancouver Canucks at Calgary Flames

When and Where: Saturday, Dec. 29, Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta, 10:05 p.m. EST.

A pair of Pacific Division rivals playing some solid hockey of late look to continue their runs at the expense of the other Saturday night when the Calgary Flames host the Vancouver Canucks.

Canucks hope to have Baertschi and Stecher available

Vancouver (18-18-4) is playing some of its best hockey of the season and improved to 7-2-1 in its last 10 games overall after disposing of Edmonton 4-2 on the road Thursday night.

Elias Pettersson and Antoine Roussel each had a goal and an assist in a four-goal first period for the Canucks, and Jacob Markstrom made that lead stand by making 20 of his 30 saves over the final two periods. Pettersson, whose 18 goals lead all NHL rookies by a wide margin, has five goals and 10 assists during Vancouver’s 10-game surge.

The Canucks could also be getting some key personnel back as they try to climb the Pacific Division standings. Sven Baertschi, who has missed the last 30 games due to a concussion, was practicing on the third line Friday and Vancouver’s top power-play unit. Defenseman Troy Stecher could return after missing the previous three games for the same reason.

Markstrom is expected to be between the pipes once more for Vancouver as he looks for an eighth win in nine starts. He has posted a 1.63 goals-against average and .943 save percentage during his stellar run and has not yielded more than two goals in any of his last seven appearances.

Markstrom split two decisions against Calgary earlier this season when the teams began play with a home-and-home series, allowing five goals on 35 shots in a 7-4 road loss. He is 3-6-0 with a 3.72 GAA lifetime versus the Flames and 1-4-0 with a 3.85 GAA in five starts at the Saddledome.

Flames look to crack 50-point mark

Calgary (23-12-3) continues to lead the Pacific Division and is coming off a 4-1 victory at Winnipeg on Thursday night. Johnny Gaudreau continued his torrid offensive run with a hat trick, and David Rittich extended his stretch of solid goaltending with a 35-save effort.

Gaudreau, who is second on the team with 19 goals and has a team-best 51 points, has recorded eight multipoint games in his last 12 contests. He has totaled nine goals and 13 assists in helping the Flames go 8-3-1 in that stretch.

“It’s a good stepping stone for us,” said Gaudreau to the Flames’ official website. “That’s a real good team. Ritter played out of his mind tonight. He made some big saves and kept us in that game. It could have easily have been 2-2, 3-2 there going into the third. He played unbelievable and got us that win.”

Sean Monahan, who assisted on all three of Gaudreau’s goals, notched two goals and an assist in the first two games against Vancouver this season. Gaudreau has a goal and three assists.

Rittich, who is expected to get the nod in this game, has held opponents to two or fewer goals in six of his last seven appearances. During that run, he is 4-2-1 with a 1.89 GAA and .939 save percentage, and two of those losses came with Calgary getting shut out.

He did not face Vancouver in the home-and-home earlier this season but beat the Canucks in his only career outing against them, turning aside 16 shots in a 6-1 road win last season.

The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet

The Canucks are the better team at the moment as Calgary’s win Thursday night snapped a three-game winless streak, but stealing a road victory like the Flames did at Winnipeg can prove to be a jump-starter to strengthen their hold on the Pacific Division.

Prediction: Pick: Flames -200

Full-Game Total Pick

Every game between the teams since the start of last season has featured six or more goals, and only once has there been six. Both power-play units have been effective, combining for 13 goals in 57 chances, and there were five goals coming on the man advantage in the most recent matchup in Calgary in early October.

Prediction: Pick: OVER 6 goals

Full-Game Prop Bet

Though the pattern of Calgary’s game is to follow up a performance of four or more goals with two or less in the last five such occasions, the momentum from stealing a win at Winnipeg coupled with Gaudreau’s recent play makes the Flames a good play to light the lamp at least four times at home.

Prediction: Pick: Flames OVER 3.5 goals

Half-Time Side Pick

Prediction: Pick:

Half-Time Total Bet

The teams have scored two or more goals in the opening period of seven of the last eight games played at Calgary, and were 2-2 after 20 minutes in the October matchup at the Saddledome. The Flames have also scored six goals in the first period of their last four games, adding to the possibility of a wide-open affair in this one.

Prediction: Pick: OVER 1.5 goals

Half-Time Prop Prediction

With no option for a draw in North America, the pick is the home team to have a lead after 20 minutes. Rittich did well to steal a win Thursday night in Winnipeg, and if he is able to carry that early into this contest, Calgary should have a lead after 20 minutes.

Prediction: Pick: Flames -0.5 goals (+140)

Chris Altruda (@AlTruda73)

A 1994 graduate of Marquette University when they were known as the Warriors and Brooklyn native, Chris Altruda is a freelance sportswriter based in Chicago. He has worked at three major U.S. wire services and also has prior experience in sports handicapping and daily fantasy roster building. Now that the Cubs have won a World Series, he holds out hope the Jets will win a Super Bowl before he dies. Can be followed on Twitter at @AlTruda73.


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