Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Calgary Flames: Odds, Predictions and More

By Juliana Nikac
CALGARY, AB - DECEMBER 31: Jonathan Toews
CALGARY, AB - DECEMBER 31: Jonathan Toews /
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The Chicago Blackhawks face off against the Calgary Flames for the first time this season. Here is a brief look at the odds, prediction and any other information you need ahead of the game.

Predictions and Odds

The Chicago Blackhawks are 1-3-1 in their last five games. On Wednesday, they outplayed the Canucks for most of the game but couldn’t keep up with their third line. Unnecessary penalties and bad defense contributed to the loss.

Two nights ago, the Blackhawks were shut out by Mikko Koskinen and the Edmonton Oilers 4-0. Even though they put up 40 shots on goal, their poor defensive efforts continued to hinder them.

Right out of the gate, Edmonton peppered Cam Ward with quality shots. Somehow, the Blackhawks managed to outshoot the Oilers 15-8 in the first period, which continued to be a trend throughout the game. Just 18 seconds into the second, Drake Caggiula got the party started for the Oilers. Chicago was on the outside looking in from there.

The power play woes continued as the Blackhawks went 0-for-3 and have converted on only 13 percent of their opportunities on the man-advantage. Only the Carolina Hurricanes have a worse power play percentage.

The Blackhawks have not picked up any points so far on the Western Canada road trip.

More from Blackhawk Up

Their opponent tonight, the Calgary Flames, are coming off a come-from-behind 6-5 win over the Colorado Avalanche. They’ve won three games in a row after dropping their previous three and currently sit in second in the Pacific.

Calgary and Chicago have more in common than some might think. Both teams have struggled defensively, which has led to some poor goaltending. The Flames’ team save percentage is .893, thanks in large to Mike Smith sporting a .871 save percentage so far. The Blackhawks are just below the Flames with a .889, mostly because of Cam Ward’s .887.

Additionally, both teams have small, skilled Americans leading the offense. Johnny Gaudreau is tied for 8th in scoring with 17 points, while Patrick Kane is tied for 6th with 18 points. At any point in the game, these two can control momentum and make a jaw-dropping play that ends up on every highlight reel possible.

The Calgary Flames are just about a one-goal favorite, 3.2-2.5, over the Chicago Blackhawks, according to Odds Shark. With one team on a three-game winning streak and the other on a two-game losing streak, these odds make sense. But don’t count the Blackhawks out and maybe bet on them, despite their recent struggles.

As for predictions, I hope the team comes out firing on all cylinders. The offense has been lacking along with the defense in the last few games. If the scoring is there and the defense remains steady, I can see Chicago pulling off a win. That being said, I predict the Flames will defeat the Blackhawks in overtime, 3-2.

Brandon Saad has been fantastic recently and, expectedly, so has Patrick Kane. Other guys need to step up their game and create more opportunities. It wouldn’t surprise me if this game is a barn burner or a goalie duel. You can never predict what will happen with either of these teams.

Where to Watch and Who to Watch

The game will be shown on NBC Sports Chicago starting at 9 pm central. As per usual, you can tune into the game on WGN Radio.

Corey Crawford is starting in goal tonight opposite David Rittich. Here are the new Blackhawks’ lines from morning skate:

Offense

  1. DeBrincat – Toews – Saad
  2. Schmaltz – Anisimov – Kane
  3. Kunitz – Kampf – Kahun
  4. Fortin – Kruger – Martinsen

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Who should you watch? Keep an eye on Nick Schmaltz, who is back in the lineup after being scratched for the Oilers game. There’s no doubt he’s underperformed so far, but don’t be surprised if he’s all over the ice for this matchup.

The Blackhawks should watch out for Matthew Tkachuk, a well-known pest and net-front presence for the Flames. While he takes a lot of penalties, he also draws them, too. The last thing Chicago needs is to be on the penalty kill, hindering their time in the offensive zone.

Make sure to follow along on Twitter @Blackhawk_Up with live updates from the game!

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