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NHL Picks: May 15

By Josh Goodwin

To be completely honest, I am very surprised to see this series go to a full seven games with the depth of this Calgary Flames team. Not only do they have the size and tenacity to win physical games, but they also have a number of players that can contribute offensively. With that said, this series has turned out to be a very low-scoring matchup, and the playoff experience of the Dallas Stars has made a big difference for them. But now it comes down to one last game, and I am personally investing more confidence in the Calgary Flames and Jacob Markstrom in particular. I’ve decided to take Flames Puck Line (-1.5) which can be found on the Caesars Sports Book for the best available odds of +140. 

First and foremost, I’ll admit this game could be closer than comfortable for a spread bet, but with the potential for an empty-net goal I often take my chances for the better odds. Calgary will get a chance to play in front of its energetic home crowd tonight at the SaddleDome, better known as ‘the C of Red’. This should be a nice contributing factor for a team that is searching for an offensive breakthrough and likes to play physical. Additionally, as solid as Jake Oettinger has been for Dallas, he’s far less experienced than Jacob Markstrom and does not have that same takeover ability. 

Markstrom in my opinion is fully capable of stealing a game, and if he is unable to do that, I at very least trust him to give the Flames a chance to win. He’s been an incredibly reliable goaltender, and I believe that provides Calgary a considerable edge in a winner takes all situation. Also, speaking of winner take all situations, currently no other NHL head coach has more game 7 experience than Calgary’s Daryl Sutter. Tonight will be his 11th career game 7, and he’s gone 7-3 in those matchups previously, which is enough to lead the NHL for all-time game 7 victories.

Although his team is youthful and less accomplished than him, they still have a good mix of veteran players with playoff experience such as Milan Lucic and Mikael Backlund. It would be good to see Matthew Tkachuk finally break through with a big goal, as he only has 4-assists thus far in the series. He seems due, and so does the rest of the Calgary Flames for a first round victory. It should be a very close game, but like I said earlier, the opportunity for an empty-net goal is enough for me to justify a puck line wager for better odds at +140 on the Caesars Sports Book.

My pick: Calgary Flames Puck Line (+140 @ Caesars Sports Book)

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