Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#35 Calgary Flames -115 vs.
#36 Colorado Avalanche 6
Monday, April 15, 2019 at 10:00pm EDT
Pepsi Center, Denver
Written by Nick Raffoul

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The Calgary Flames will head to the Pepsi Center on Monday evening as they get set for Game 3 of their first round playoff series versus the Colorado Avalanche.

The Avalanche managed to split the first two games of the series on the road in Calgary, effectively stealing home-ice advantage as the series moves back to Colorado. 

Flames outplayed in Game 2 loss

Calgary was unable to take care of business at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Game 2, as they were outplayed by the Avalanche from the onset of the opening period. The Flames were out-shot in a scoreless first period 15 to 10 and they gave up a short-handed goal on a power play opportunity midway through the second. The Flames got goals from Rasmus Andersson and Sean Monahan to take a 2-1 lead and goaltender Mike Smith was spectacular between the pipes once again, but it wasn’t enough to send Calgary to a 2-0 lead.

Smith stopped 36 shots and turned away several breakaway chances to keep the Flames competitive all night long. The veteran goaltender has turned things up a notch through his first two postseason starts, sporting a solid .954 save percentage and a 1.40 GAA.

The Flames have also been better on the penalty kill through their first two postseason games. After killing off only 79.7 percent of their total penalties during the regular season (21st in the NHL), they have limited the Avs (one of the NHL’s top power play units) to 0-for-8 with the man advantage through the first two games of the series.

MacKinnon, Grubauer help Avs even series at 1-1

After getting blanked in the first game of the series, the Avalanche responded with a spirited Game 2 performance, taking down the Flames 3-2 in overtime thanks to a beautiful goal by Nathan MacKinnon. Matt Nieto set the tone with a short-handed goal midway through the second period, but Calgary bounced back to score the next two goals before J.T. Compher tied the game with less than three minutes to go in regulation. Philipp Grubauer stopped 35 of the 37 shots that he faced on the night to help even up the series at 1-1.

The Avs are hoping that defensman Cal Makar can help make a difference in their playoff series with the Flames. Colorado signed the UMass defenseman on Sunday in hopes that he would be ready to join the team for Game 3 on Monday. Makar, who just completed his sophomore season, was the fourth overall pick in the 2017 draft and he made plenty of history at the collegiate level this year. He led UMass to its first No.1 ranking, first Frozen Four and was the first defenseman to lead the Hockey East in scoring with 49 points over 40 games.

Grubauer is scheduled to be back between the pipes for the Avalanche on Monday night. He finished the regular season with an 19-8-5 overall record, a 2.64 GAA and a .917 save percentage this year, but not did face the No.1-seeded Flames during the regular season.

Colorado will have to find a way to get its power play going. After ranking No.7 in the regular season in power play percentage, the Avalanche are 0-for-8 with the man advantage through their first two games of the series.

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The Flames are 9-2 in the last 11 meetings against Colorado and 4-1 in their last five trips to the Pepsi Center. However, this is the postseason and the both rosters feature plenty of youth, which is one of the things that made this series one of the most compelling first-round matchups. The Avalanche have one of the most talented top lines in hockey and Grubauer looks like he’s gaining confidence between the pipes after a shaky first game. Take Colorado to come out on top and take a 2-1 series lead on Monday night.

Prediction: Colorado Avalanche +105

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The over is 3-1-1 in the last five meetings between these two teams, however, if the first two games of this series are going to be any indication — goals could be hard to come by the rest of the way. Colorado’s power play hasn’t looked good, going 0-for-8 through the first two games and both goaltenders look to be in top form early on. The under is 5-0 in Colorado’s last five Conference Quarterfinal games and 10-1 in their last 11 games on one day of rest. Look for this Western Conference clash to stay under the projected total on Monday evening.

Prediction: Under 6

Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. He uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits.