The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs begin tonight when the Vancouver Canucks take on the Calgary Flames in Game 1 of their Western Conference first round matchup. The game is scheduled for an 10:00 p.m. start time and it will be televised live on the USA Network. Currently the betting odds for the game have the Canucks favored to get the win in this first matchup.
This will be another first round matchup between a pair of franchises from Canada. Vancouver finished as the seventh overall seed in the Western Conference this season, the Flames finished as the sixth overall seed.
The Sedin brothers are another year older and their window for winning a Stanley Cup finals is quickly closing. A series win over the Calgary Flames would then put the Canucks into a series matchup with either the fourth-seeded Anaheim Ducks or the Winnipeg Jets, who finished with a wild card clinching performance this season.
One of the more impressive stats for the Calgary Flames this season is they led the league in blocked shots per game, altering 19 shots from opponents per game, which seems like a ton. The gritty Flames have played their way into the post season for the first time in six seasons, but they come in with a higher overall seed than the counterpart Canucks. Each of these teams won two games against the other this season, but that tie has to be broken at some point during this series.
Vancouver finished with over 100 points this season, Calgary was lower than that at just 97 points. Yet, with the shakeout of the NHL Playoffs the Flames are hosting the Canucks in the early part of this series. Jiri Hudler and Sean Monahan led the Flames in scoring this season with 31 goals each, leading a group of 11 Calgary players that finished with double-digit goals this season. Radim Vrbata led the Canucks with 31 goals and they had 12 players in double-digit goals.
For the season the Canucks finished with a road record of 24-14-3, the Flames finished with a road record of 23-13-5. This should be a great series, but we like the Canucks to find a way to pick up the win on the road.
Free Pick: Vancouver
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