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NHL Picks: May 26

By Michael Spiegel

Two exciting games to look forward to tonight as the Rangers visit the Canes and the Oilers visit the Flames.

The Calgary Flames return to the Saddledome facing the brink of elimination after dropping both games in Edmonton. The Oilers are looking to win their fourth straight, after dropping game one.

Jacob Markstrom has not been sharp between the pipes for the Flames in this series. Markstrom wasn’t perfect in the first round of the playoffs, but he was good enough to help the Flames get to the second round. While he posted above a .900 save percentage in each of the seven games of the first round, he has yet to do so in any of the four games against the Oilers. Markstrom has simply not been good enough for the Flames in the first four games of this series. He has been below a SV% .890 in each of the four games, including two games below .850. Markstrom had a fantastic regular season for the Flames, where he sported a solid %.922 in 63 games. However, he has slid off in these playoffs, only amounting a %.906, below his career playoff save percentage of .914. Markstrom has had his fair share of problems with McDavid and the Oilers this season. Markstrom allowed 14 goals in 4 games against the Oilers this year, and since he began his tenure in Calgary, has posted below a .900 save percentage in 7 of 13 games when facing Edmonton. History may not be on Markstrom’s side, but he was a Vezina nominee this year for a reason. He definitely has the potential to turn this series on its head, and Calgary will need him to step up if they are going to have any chance tonight.

If Markstrom has been a disappointment for the Flames so far, Mike Smith has been the complete opposite. Only trailing Andrei Vasilevskiy in Goals Saved Above Expected in these playoffs with a 10.1 GSAE, he also has a .931 save percentage, improving upon his .915 from the regular season. After Smith had a very rough start to the series, where he allowed 3 goals on 10 shots, he has been amazing for the Oilers. Even through this, we have seen him slip up a few times during these playoffs. From goals early on in the game to weak shots, Smith hasn’t been perfect in these playoffs. He can be the deciding factor for the Oilers for better or for worse.

The Battle of Alberta has been a series for the ages, and I think most hockey fans want to see it go the distance. It will take quite the comeback from the Flames to do so, and that all starts tonight. With the C of Red behind them and the momentum they took from overcoming a 3-0 deficit in game 4, I’m taking the Flames to win tonight and bring this series back to Edmonton.

Pick: Flames ML -147 (Sports Interaction)

Other notable bets:

Rangers @ Hurricanes: Hurricanes ML -149 (BetRegal): Carolina is 6-0 at home these playoffs. On the other hand, they are 0-5 on the road. Carolina needs to win tonight and take a series lead back to New York.

Rangers/Hurricanes under 5.5 -134 (BetRegal): Low scoring and tight defense has been the name of the game for the Hurricanes these playoffs, when they win. With Shesterkin on the other side playing lights out, this should be a low scoring affair.

Oilers/Flames under 6.5 +110 (20 Bet): While this goes against the trend of the first four games of this series, both goalies are going to need to show up tonight to give their teams a chance, especially Markstrom. If the Flames are to force a game 6, Markstrom will need to put up a valiant effort tonight.

One of betstamp’s largest brand values is transparency. Whether you are looking to tail or fade my picks, or potentially just like reading the breakdowns, you can find my full documented betting record here. Best of luck with your bets today.

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