Oct. 5 NHL Picks and Preview — Vancouver Canucks (0-1-0) at Calgary Flames (0-1-0)

(Elias Pettersson photo courtesy William Purnell/USA TODAY Sports)

This is the full preview(s) as seen on the Winners and Whiners and Stat Salt websites. The confidence rating for all picks on a scale from 1 to 5 is in parentheses.

Note: The 5/5 does NOT represent the best overall pick of the day’s games when there are multiple games, simply the best pick(s) from each individual game.

When and Where: Saturday, Oct. 5, Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, Alb., 10:05 p.m. EDT.

A pair of teams looking to bounce back from season-opening losses look to get things right Saturday night when the Calgary Flames host the Vancouver Canucks in a Pacific Division tussle.

Canucks squander third-period lead in losing opener

Vancouver’s bid to avoid a fifth consecutive season outside the playoffs began with a 3-2 loss to Alberta’s other team, the Edmonton Oilers, on Wednesday night.

Despite playing a compact road game and outshooting Edmonton 33-22 for the game, a 3:45 span midway through the third period consigned the Canucks to defeat as both Zack Kassian and Connor McDavid beat Jacob Markstrom.

“I liked it, actually, I don’t like the end result,” coach Travis Green said. “First road game of the year we did a lot of good things, it was disheartening we didn’t get anything out of it.

“I liked our game, we spent a lot of the game in their zone. Again, quite easily could have won that game and deserved a point at least.”

Defenseman Alexander Edler and winger Tanner Pearson scored the goals for Vancouver, with Pearson taking a team-high 11 shots. Calder Trophy winner Elias Pettersson, who had 28 goals and 66 points last season, was a minus-1 and finished with two shots.

Green hinted that Adam Gaudette may make his season debut after being a healthy scratch Wednesday. Gaudette, who had five goals and seven assists in 56 games, practiced with the third line with Josh Leivo and Jake Virtanen.

Markstrom figures to get a second start between the pipes after making 19 saves. He went 3-2-0 with a 2.94 goals-against average and .917 save percentage playing all five games versus Calgary last season and is 5-7-0 with a 3.42 GAA lifetime.

Flames look to tighten PK after loss to Avs

Calgary’s season began the same way last spring’s postseason ended, with a loss to the Colorado Avalanche. The Flames were on the short end of a 5-3 scoreline Thursday night, with their two power-play goals canceled out by conceding two on the penalty kill.

Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau both scored with the man advantage as Calgary played uphill for most of the game, twice erasing one-goal deficits. Mark Giordano pulled the Flames within one a third time late in the second period, but despite a 14-6 edge in shots over the final 20 minutes, they failed to a find an equalizer.

“We were happy once we got a little flow going and stayed out of the box,” coach Bill Peters said at practice Friday. “We had some chances but gave up more than we liked, so we have to tighten up. There’s work to be done.”

Despite not registering a point, veteran forward Milan Lucic made his presence felt in his Flames debut, punching Nikita Zadorov in the face in the second period after Zadorov flattened Austin Czarnik into the boards and drew a boarding penalty.

Gaudreau and Monahan each finished with a goal and an assist for Calgary, which went 2 for 4 on the power play and 4 for 6 on the penalty kill. Peters has not named a starting goaltender yet, but David Rittich turned aside 31 shots Thursday night and went 1-0-2 with a 2.24 GAA versus Vancouver lifetime.

Notable Trends

The Flames are:

  • 6-1-1 in their last eight home games vs. the Canucks.
  • 7-3 in their last 10 games when their opponents score two or fewer goals in the previous game.

The Canucks are:

  • 3-12 in their last 15 road games as underdogs between +151 to +200.
  • 8-21 in their last 29 games after allowing five or more goals in the previous game.
  • 2-10 in their last 12 Saturday games.

*****5-Star Pick*****

OVER 6 goals (-105)

The teams cleared six goals in three of the five meetings last season, including a 7-4 win by Vancouver in Calgary. The over has gone 18-6-4 in the last 28 matchups between the teams in Calgary and 7-2 in the last nine overall.

The over is also 7-2 in Vancouver’s last nine road games and 14-4 in its last 18 as an underdog. Despite Rittich’s solid goals-against average against Vancouver, his save percentage is a less-than-stellar .899.

****4-Star Pick****

OVER 1.5 goals first period (-140)

The teams scored two or more goals in the first period in three of the five matchups last season, including both games in Calgary. In fact, there have been two or more goals in the first 20 minutes of the last five matchups in the Saddledome, and the expectation is for the trend to continue.

***3-Star Picks***

Flames -1.5 goals (+135)

Despite their special teams’ struggles last time out, the Flames are the pick based on their recent home mastery of the Canucks and their strong play at home last season. Calgary was 26-10-5 at the Saddledome last season, and the trio of Gaudreau, Giordano and Monahan combined for five goals and 12 assists in the five games last season.

Canucks’ Pettersson to score goal (+185)

This line is provided by Rivers Casino, so shop around and see what is out there for player props for this contest. Pettersson was a pest to the Flames last season, totaling four goals and five assists in the five matchups while recording a point in all five games.

He scored three of his goals in the two games played in Calgary, beating Rittich to contribute to a 3-2 overtime victory Dec. 29. Despite playing just two games in the Saddledome, Pettersson launched eight of his 11 shots in the season series there.

Flames -0.5 goals first period (+125)

Calgary was one of the better offensive teams in the opening 20 minutes last season, totaling 83 goals. Vancouver lagged in this category with just 59 first-period tallies but were also a minus-16 in goal difference. The teams each held the lead once and were deadlocked after 20 minutes the other three times last season, but the hedge is the Flames get a little boost in their home opener to be on top.

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