Spilko's Friday NHL Playoffs Pick: Flames vs Stars – goals and open ice will again be hard to come by
The Calgary Flames will look to finish off its series against the Dallas Stars on Friday night after capturing back-to-back wins in Game 4 and Game 5.
Let’s examine an over/under bet ahead of this pivotal game in the first round of the NHL postseason.
Game 6: Calgary Flames at Dallas Stars, 9:30 pm EDT (Flames lead 3-2)
The Flames are the next-best bet to make it out of the Western Conference behind the Colorado Avalanche, but you wouldn’t be able to tell because of their low-scoring affairs with Dallas in the first round. Calgary averaged 3.55 goals per game over the course of the regular season, which was the sixth-best mark in the league, but it has only managed 10 goals over five games so far in the series.
Dallas is somehow scoring even less than Calgary through five games. The Stars have registered an abysmal 1.6 goals per game average and only have eight goals in total. That number is even less than the Nashville Predators’ nine goals that they produced in getting swept against the second-round bound Avalanche.
Goaltending has been a huge part of each team’s defensive success and I would expect that to continue in Game 6. Out of goalies that have played more than 100+ minutes in this year’s postseason, the Stars’ Jake Oettinger ranks first in save percentage (.956), tied-second in goals against average (1.63) and third in total saves (172), while the Flames’ Jacob Markstrom boasts the best goals against average (1.21) and the second-best save percentage (.952).
The over/under mark for Game 6 has been set at 5.5 goals. That under has hit four out of five times this series and Dallas has combined for just two goals over the last two games, both of which resulted in Calgary wins.
The lowest-scoring series in the first round of the playoffs should remain that way in an elimination game for the hosts. I expect a very tight game from both sides, especially from the Stars. It’s been a series where open space on the ice has been hard to find and it wouldn’t be surprising to see another low-scoring outing.
The pick: Under 5.5 goals (-130)
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