NHL FREE PICKS

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NHL Picks: May 24

By Ryan Nadrajan

The battle of Alberta is gearing up and tonight the teams are back in action for game 4. The Edmonton Oilers took the series lead on Saturday and defended their home ice, where the game looked like a one-sided affair. Expect tonight’s game to bring more intensity, especially after the Milan Lucic hit on goaltender Mike Smith.

The Oilers goaltender has outplayed Jacob Markstrom so far this series which comes as a shock to many. As if Conor McDavid and Leon Draisatl already weren’t enough to handle, it seems that some other Oilers are heating up. Zach Hyman now has four goals through the first three games in the series and Evander Kane who has had a remarkable post-season, scored a natural hat-trick in just over six minutes in the second period of game 3. You could wonder whether the Oilers have snuck into the head of Markstrom who has only a .853 save percentage throughout the series.

After netting nine goals in the first game, the Flames have only scored a total of four in games 2 and 3. The Flames do have some positives to take away from the last game. According to Natural Stat Trick, the Flames and Oilers were almost identical in expected goals (2.09 - 2.05) and high danger chances (11-10) with Calgary falling short in each category.

The Oilers have and will continue to cause trouble for the Flames using their speed. Calgary must go back to playing their possession game, and will need a strong outing from Markstrom to get the series back to even. I don’t think it will be a defensive showcase by any means. With the talent on both sides, we could be in for another roller-coaster of goals. Out of the seven games played between the two this year the over has gone 5-2. I think we’re going to see a much better outing from the line of Matthew Tkachuk, Johnny Gaudreau, and Elias Lindholm who have been the backbone of the Flames offense. I like the Calgary Flames to square things up.

Pick: Calgary Flames to win +103 (Royal Panda)

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