Flames Loving Life Away from Home
One of the many differences between the 2020-21 Calgary Flames squad and the team closing in on the Pacific Division championship is their success on the road.
Calgary, playing against only Canadian-based teams a season ago due to COVID-19 protocols, finished 11-15-2 on the road. If the Flames were a .500 team away from home, they would be been in the playoffs instead of Montreal, which embarked on an improbable run to the Stanley Cup final.
When considering Calgary Flames vs Nashville Predators predictions, it should be noted that Calgary is tied for the Western Conference lead with 24 road wins. The Flames will be facing a Nashville team that is 10 games over .500 at home and a squad in need of as many points as possible to hold off the Vegas Golden Knights and Vancouver Canucks for a spot in the postseason.
Keep on reading for more information in the Flames vs Predators game preview.
Team records: Calgary 47-20-9 (first in Pacific Division); Nashville 43-28-5 (fourth in Central Division)
Date: Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET
Television/live stream: ESPN+
Location: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn.
Gaudreau, Tkachuk Dynamic Duo for Flames
There was a time when mentioning the top-scoring tandems in the NHL would start with Edmonton’s Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Boston’s Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand and Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin would also be on the short list of dynamic duos.
It would be hard to find a tandem any hotter these days than Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk. Since the beginning of March, Gaudreau leads the NHL with 42 points. Who is second on that list? Tkachuk with 39. They are also first and second in even-strength points and both have defensive ratings of +21.
It is no wonder that Calgary is comfortably in front in the Pacific Division standings. Gaudreau has at least two points in six of his last eight games while Tkachuk has six goals and six assists over the last six games. Tkachuk had never scored more than 77 points in a season. However, he needs two points to hit the 100 mark. Gaudreau is at 107 points and is two goals shy of 40. It will be a race to see which Calgary player hits 40 goals first. Tkachuk and Elias Lindholm are both at 39 and Gaudreau is at 38. The dynamic forwards and Nashville’s attempt to slow them down is a key part of the Flames vs Predators game preview.
Now or Never for Predators
The Nashville Predators have made the playoffs in each of the last seven seasons and they are in good shape to extend the streak to eight.
However, a recent run of mediocre play is making things more interesting with each passing game. Nashville is just 4-4-1 in the month of April. The Vancouver Canucks have picked up four points and the Dallas Stars three points in the standings since April 1, making the odds of Nashville returning to postseason play not as much of a sure thing as it was just a few weeks ago.
On March 19, Nashville led Dallas by seven points and Vancouver by nine.
What all of this means is that the playoffs are basically underway for the Predators and the teams trying to knock them out of playoff position. A part of the Flames vs Predators game preview that won’t show up on the stat sheet is how desperate Nashville needs to be in each game the rest of the way.
The schedule-maker did no favors for Nashville as the next five games come against teams that have already secured playoff spots, including division leaders Calgary and Colorado.
Flames vs Predators Betting Guide
This will be the first of two meetings between Calgary and Nashville in a span of a week. If the playoffs started right now, this would be a first-round matchup. Nashville is holding down the first wild card spot and would face the lower of the two division winners, which happen to be the Flames.
Nashville picked up physical defenseman Jeremy Lauzon at the trading deadline, but he is considered to be week-to-week with a leg injury.
Nashville ranks 22nd in penalty-kill percentage since the start of April. The good news for the Predators is that Calgary has scored just four power-play goals in the last nine games.
Something of note when it comes to NHL betting tips and predictions: Calgary has won its last three games playing on the second night in back-to-back games,
Nashville has won the last three games against Calgary and each of the last four meetings between the teams being decided by one goal, including a 3-2 Nashville win on Nov. 2.