Calgary Flames (13-16-6) at Pittsburgh Penguins (26-10-1)
|Date & Time||Saturday December 21, 2013, 1:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Pittsburgh Penguins -215 / Calgary Flames +195 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Flames head into Pittsburgh on Saturday afternoon looking to pull off a massive upset as these two clubs sit at opposite ends of the league standings.
The Flames are a team in rebuild mode and it will likely take a season or two of a complete overhaul before they get back into the playoff picture but with all things considered they have played better than most expected this season. Calgary does have some talent and some budding prospects including Sean Monahan who is among the league’s top rookies this season but there is still a ton of work to do and Flames fans have to be patient. The Flames currently sit in second to last place in the Western Conference leading only their archrivals from Edmonton and are right in the mix for the top spot in the NHL entry draft in July but with the mid season point just a couple games away there is still plenty left to be determined. Karri Ramo is likely to get the call for the Flames here while Marc-Andre Fleury will counter for the home town Penguins.
Pittsburgh continues to be one of the league’s best teams as they have ripped off six straight victories and hold the top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Penguins success largely stems from their explosive offense and while one big piece of that arsenal in James Neal has been absent due to suspension the Penguins haven’t missed a beat. Pittsburgh can record their seventh win in a row this afternoon against an underwhelming Flames team who sits three games under .500 and have but seven wins on the road this season. The Pens have played their best hockey at home this season as they’re 16-3 at the Consol Energy Centre and while the Flames have played better of late I don’t anticipate this will be a spot where they succeed. Pittsburgh should kep their winning ways afloat here and I don’t think it’ll be close.