NHL Hockey Betting: Calgary Flames at Minnesota Wild

NHL Hockey Betting:  Calgary Flames at Minnesota Wild

The NHL regular season is coming to an end with fifteen games today and two games on Sunday. With only one playoff spot still to be determined these games have little meaning in the overall scheme of things and that definitely makes handicapping more difficult. This Western Conference matchup is a perfect example. The Minnesota Wild have clinched the second wild card position and will be heading to the playoffs. They’ve lost four straight games but before that they won six straight. Obviously they need to regain that momentum that has eluded them over the past few contests.

The Calgary Flames are going nowhere and are one of the most disappointing teams in the league this season. The Flames were expected to contend for a playoff spot but they sank like a stone to the bottom of the division and have never really set things right. The defense has been porous, the goaltending miserable and the overall intensity of the team hit and miss. Injuries were part of the problem but can’t be blamed for everything. The Flames are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games and coming off an impressive win last time out beating the lowly Vancouver Canucks 7-3.

If the Wild are going to be ‘phoning this one in’ and looking forward to the playoffs you couldn’t tell from the goaltending assignment–the Wild will start their franchise goalie Devan Dubnyk. After being the ‘hero’ of last season’s playoff run Dubnyk has been quietly solid this year–and that’s exactly what you want a goaltender to be. He’ll be opposed here by Niklas Backstrom making only his fourth start of the season for Calgary. His numbers are abysmal–1-2-0 with a 4.17 goals against average and 0.836 save percentage.

The fact that the Wild already have a playoff berth does complicate this handicap somewhat but that looming four game losing streak should counteract that. No team wants to go into the playoffs on this kind of a run which brings the focus back to where it should be. We’ll look for Minnesota to take care of business and handle the underachieving Flames with relative ease.