NHL Preview – Dallas Stars @ Calgary Flames

NHL Preview – Dallas Stars @ Calgary Flames

2:00am) Dallas Stars @ Calgary Flames

In a night which is thin of games, what is being offered is an inter-division Western conference matchup which bares crucial playoff implications for both teams. The thriving Dallas Stars make the journey from Texas to Alberta in Western Canada to take on perhaps the surprise team of the season, the Calgary Flames. You can get treble the odds on the Dallas Stars by clicking here, or the banner below!

Dallas defence doesn’t run deep enough

The Dallas Stars will look back on this regular season and will likely be disappointed with how it’s gone after last season’s strong playoff campaign. The addition of Jason Spezza to their already potent top line of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin has meant scoring has come easy this season (second most goals in the league), but their problems have been with bad goaltending and not a lot of depth at defence. Most of their success has come on the road however, going 19-14-2, fifteenth best on the road in the league. They’re place in the standings is representative of their subpar season, sitting 19th in the league, 10th in the West and 6th in the Central, the toughest division in Hockey.

The only injury woe for the Stars is captain Jamie Benn who picked up a late injury in their last game, he’s still a possibility to suit up though. Kari Lehtonen is expected to get the start between the sticks, and although he’s struggled this season with bad numbers at the start of the season, being the worst among starting goalies, he’s improved since the trade deadline which is likely because of the trade for Jonas Eneroth, resulting in added motivation to retain his place in the starting six. Lehtonen has posted a 2.82 GAA and .907 SV% this season. The Stars have had some success in inter-division tilts this season, going 10-4-1 against Pacific opposition, however what is impressive is that none of the five losses against Pacific teams have come on the road.

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Calgary – This years surprise package

The Flames, as previously mentioned, have been the surprise team of the season after consecutive seasons of competing for the title of the worst team in the league. The front office made the most smart moves in the offseason and have built a young core with bundles of potential. This has paid dividends this season, especially at home in Calgary where they’ve gone 21-13-4, the 13th best home team in the league. They’re currently sitting 15th in the league, 8th in the West, and to most people’s surprise, 3rd in the Pacific, edging ahead of the San Jose Sharks and the defending World Champions, the Los Angeles Kings, only sitting four points behind their bitter rivals, the Vancouver Canucks. The Flames have no injury problems. They’ll likely roll with Jonas Hiller in net tonight who has thrived in Calgary since his trade from Anaheim in the offseason. He’s posted solid numbers all year, currently going with a 2.44 GAA and .917 SV% which are respectable numbers by all standards, and certainly something to build on with a team that is only going to get better for the next five seasons. The Flames’s  success is attributed to some fantastic divisional play, and it’s obvious as their record against Central opposition is an average 7-7-1, but it shows they can still get points outside of divisional games. Four of those seven wins have come at home.

How it could play out

This has the makings of a great, hotly-contested game of Hockey. My general feeling however is to swing with the team who are playing better Hockey and have demonstrated success in a certain category all season long. Whilst winning eight of their last ten games, competing against top teams, and with the motivation of a return to the playoffs in their mindset, the Dallas Stars are shouting out to me as the more keen to win team in this contest, and I feel they’ll give Calgary more than they can handle tonight. Stars to win.

DG.

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