Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 3:30 PM EST odds are subject to change.
Los Angeles +155 over Calgary
8:35 PM EST. OT included. The Flames snapped their seven game losing streak against the Jets on Saturday night, but the damage may have been done. Despite playing some pretty good hockey, the Flames were not winning. When you are not winning, the fans and the media get their knives out. The guys in the locker room start looking around, too. Inevitably, all eyes end up on the head coach. That would be Darryl Sutter.
Sutter is in his second stint in Calgary. In his first run, Sutter took the Flames to the Stanley Cup Finals, however, it was his time in L.A. where he could finally cash in that championship as a coach. Twice. Sutter’s time in Los Angeles ended better than most, as he decided to retire and head back to the farm in Viking, AB. That was until the Flames came calling. Again.
Nobody would accuse Darryl Sutter of oozing charisma or machismo, but he does know hockey, and he knows how to motivate a room. Like most “old school” coaches, Sutter’s gruff, call it as I see it approach, can rub people the wrong way, and it does not take long for that sentiment to spread. Once a room starts to turn on the coach, it’s the beginning of his end. Just to give you an idea of what Sutter is like, here’s a quote about Jonathan Huberdeau, who had to leave the bench during a game against the Oilers, "I think he had to go take a shit." Sutter has had no problem benching the Flames he feels are underperforming, and he’s not afraid to call anybody on their shit, literally. Today’s players are used to being coddled, which is why a guy like Sutter’s time is always ticking down.
Situationally speaking, we hope to catch the Flames in a letdown spot. First, they finally got that win. Second, it came after a wild night against Winnipeg on Hockey Night in Canada. That’s still a big deal. The crowd on Saturday night had many Jets supporters, as the base population of Alberta is pretty much made up of imports from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Atlantic Canada (we admit that might not be 100% factual, but there are A LOT of ‘Toba transplants in AB). The atmosphere Saturday night was electric, as the Flames won 3-2 in the shootout after coming back from 2-1. The Saddledome, on its rickety old foundation, was shaking. That old barn is not going to be that electric tonight.
To put the cherry on top, the Flames are heading right back on the road after this game, which gives them no time to exhale. Moreover, the Flames head back to the East Coast with stops in Tampa Bay and Florida. If you knew how cold it’s been in Calgary lately, you’d have your bags packed and your head already in the sand and sun and we wouldn’t blame you.
We’ve nary said a word about the Kings, but we’ll save them for another day. Just know that they pass the eye test and we trust a few of the old guys on the Kings (Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar, and Jonathan Quick) will have a little something extra for their old coach. You know, for old times' sake. The Kings are good and they're dangerous.
Los Angeles +155 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.10)