Ahead of the game: Flames vs. Blue Jackets

Oct 4, 2021; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames defensemen Chris Tanev (8) skates against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 4, 2021; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames defensemen Chris Tanev (8) skates against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports /

After opening the offensive floodgates against St. Louis, the Calgary Flames roll into Columbus to try and keep things going against the Blue Jackets. Here’s what I’ll be looking at on Wednesday, betting odds included.

You could see it starting in Edmonton, when they put 17 shots on net. Two nights later, St. Louis came to town and the Calgary Flames’ offence absolutely exploded. Chris Tanev scored.  Nikita Zadorov scored.  Adam Ruzicka scored and then, minutes later, almost scored again!  They got points from everyone but the Zamboni driver in their 7-1 plastering of the Blues.

The team plays four of their next five games on the road.  And it begins in Columbus against the Blue Jackets. Here’s what I’m thinking about ahead of Wednesday’s matchup, complete with betting odds.

113. 5:00 PM MT. 37-19-2. 18-20-1. SportsNet West. Wednesday, January 26th. Flames 1.54. 112

The Flames Need to Win the Winnable Games

The Jackets are not exactly lighting the league on fire. They’ve won only three of their last 10 games.  Sitting 5th in the Metropolitan Division, the playoffs seem out of reach.

So the Calgary Flames should take this one with relative ease, right?  The truth is, I ain’t so sure.

In their last 4 games, the Flames were 0-2 against teams with a sub-.500 Win Percentage.  In plain English, Calgary isn’t beating bad teams.  It paralyzes the mind that the team can send the St. Louis Blues (8th place in the league) and the Florida Panthers (1st in the league) home with no points.  But they come up short against the Ottawa Senators (30th in the league) and Edmonton Oilers (19th).

Columbus has allowed 3.54 Goals/Game and their Powerplay Percentage is a non-threatening 15%.  These are bottom-5 numbers.  This is the type of team the Calgary Flames needs to beat to return to prominence in the Western Conference.

Sean Monahan

So far, Monahan has been the feelgood story of 2022.

Between the start of the season and January 1st, Monahan produced only 4 goals in his relegated role on the bottom six and top powerplay line.  Since January 1st, Monahan’s spot in the lineup hasn’t substantively changed but, with 3 goals, his production has.  Plus, his predictive analytics are trending in the right direction.

All of that is significant.  But, to me, it is his play away from the puck, the work he does that may not show up on stat sheet, that has drawn my attention.  Just look at his powerplay goal on Monday versus St. Louis (video below).  Monahan essentially generates his own opportunity by diving for the puck to get it away from Blues defenceman Colton Parayko.  The play stays alive in the offensive zone, allowing Monahan to get to the slot, receive a pass from Matthew Tkachuk and find the net.  Whether Monahan scores that goal or not, he kept the play alive.

And that’s the Sean Monahan the Calgary Flames need to see in Columbus on Wednesday.

Betting Odds

According WynnBET, the Calgary Flames are the moneyline favourites at home at 1.54. The Jackets are home ‘dogs at 2.65.   Interestingly, the Flames are 2.35 to beat Columbus by more than 1.5 goals, but the Blue Jackets are 1.64 to come within the goal and a half.

The total for the game is set at an over/under of 6.  The odds are slightly in favour of the over at 1.86.

Next. Sutter's Controversial Monahan Decision. dark