Calgary Flames (45-30-7) at Vancouver Canucks (48-29-5)
|Date & Time||Wednesday April 15, 2015, 10:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Vancouver Canucks -141 / Calgary Flames +128 --- Over/Under: 5
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The Flames and Canucks meet up in the second of two all-Canadian match ups in what many are calling the biggest toss up series of the opening round.
The Calgary Flames were left for dead by prognosticators and odds makers in the preseason as many had them battling for another lottery pick in what would be another piece to add to their rebuilding core but instead they defied the odds all season and finished off their impressive run with a playoff berth. The Flames got out of the gate quickly but were halted when it was learned that Mark Giordano would be out of the season but that has since acted as a rallying point and the Flames have played very well without him. Jonas Hiller has playoff experience from his days with the Ducks but there isn't a ton of help in front of him in terms of experience but the talent is there and they will certainly bring the energy especially on home ice. Hiller will get the call and he will likely go up against Eddie Lack who has handled the bulk of the goaltending duties this season.
The Canucks are a tough team to sort out as they have enjoyed a nice rebound season but they don't seem to have the same swagger about them we have seen in years past and I fear they are completely overrated in this spot. Vancouver does have the experience that Calgary lacks but neither team to me looks like a playoff worthy group yet one of them will be among the final eight teams thanks to an underachieving year from both San Jose and Los Angeles. Vancouver has played well at home and have won three straight coming in but their goal differential is a concern and the momentum of the Flames could end up being the difference here. However, I'll take the home side to start things off on the right foot as I think the novelty of playing in the playoffs will be a bit much for some of the Calgary youngsters and the experience of the Canucks will shine through at least for the first game.