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Colorado Avalanche at Calgary Flames predictions, picks and best bets

The Colorado Avalanche looks to roll through the Calgary Flames Friday and finish off its Western Conference Quarterfinal with a 4-1 first-round series win. The Flames entered the 2018-19 Stanley Cup Playoffs as the top seed in the west with the Avalanche making the postseason as only the second wild-card team in the conference. Puck drop will come shortly after 10 p.m. at Scotiabank Saddledome.

Odds provided by PointsBet; for a full-set of today’s sports betting odds, access them at USA TODAY Sports.

Colorado Avalanche at Calgary Flames: By the Numbers

  • The Flames could join the Eastern Conference’s No. 1-seeded Tampa Bay Lightning on the sidelines for the remainder of the playoffs after cruising to a 50-25-7 record in the regular season.
  • Two of Colorado’s three wins have come in overtime with the Game 3 victory being by a lopsided score of 6-2.
  • Avalanche RW Mikko Rantanen leads the series with six points, while C Sam Bennett is the Flames’ top scorer with one goal and three assists. LW James Neal doesn’t have a point in the postseason.
  • Half of Calgary’s 10 goals have come via the power play. Just three of Colorado’s 12 tallies have been with the man advantage, but it has added two short-handed markers.

Colorado Avalanche at Calgary Flames: Projected Goalie Starters

Philipp Grubauer vs. Mike Smith

Grubauer ranks third among starting goalies in the postseason with a .933 save percentage through the first four games. It’s a big jump from his .837 mark with the Washington Capitals in the first two games of last year’s first-round matchup against the Columbus Blue Jackets before he was replaced by Braden Holtby.

Smith has stopped 99 of 108 shots on goal in the past two losses. He’s faced 20 more shots than any other goalie in the playoffs and made 12 more saves; his defense needs to give him more help. He ranks fifth among starters in save percentage.

Colorado Avalanche at Calgary Flames: Key Injuries

Avalanche C Derick Brassard and D Samuel Girard are both day-to-day heading into Friday. Girard missed each of the past two games and Brassard was forced to sit out of Game 4 due to an illness.

Colorado Avalanche at Calgary Flames: NHL Best Bet

Moneyline: The Flames are heavy home favorites at -171 as they face elimination. We’ll back them for the outright win as they fight to see a Game 6.

Against the spread: Calgary won the series opener 4-0 in convincing fashion. Take them to cover -1.5 at +165 odds as a way to extract some value.

Over/under: Still just one of the four games thus far have gone over Friday’s total of 6. Take the UNDER at -105.

Follow Esten on Twitter @EstenMcLaren


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