Vancouver Canucks @ Calgary Flames / NHL 2022 Predictions & Preview

Pacific division foes Vancouver and Calgary meet up to close out their respective 2022 calendar years on Saturday night at the Saddledome.

The Calgary Flames (17-13-7) have alternated wins and losses in their last five games, a trend they hope gets snapped on New Year’s Eve, considering they are coming off a 3-2 victory in Seattle on Wednesday. With a win, Calgary could get to .500 for December, as they are just 7-8 this month.

The Vancouver Canucks (16-16-3) had been playing solid offensively over the past week until a 4-2 loss at Winnipeg on Thursday tripped up their three-game win streak. Something the Canucks have going for them on Saturday night is a very good record within the division, as they’ve won 10 of their last 11 against the Pacific.

Oddsmakers are not impressed with that mark, though, making Vancouver a +175 underdog for this last game to close out 2022 (CAL -210).

Vancouver Canucks Overview

The Canucks are just 3-3 over their last six games, but that is not due to underperforming from Bo Horvat, as the center has multiple goals and multiple assists in two of the last three games. Horvat’s nine points in the last six games are the sixth most in the NHL over that span.

Horvat had to pick up some extra slack with Elias Pettersson shelved a couple of games with an upper-body injury, but Pettersson has returned to center his line with a two-goal, three-assist outing in his first contest back, a 6-5 SO win over the surprisingly good Kraken. Pettersson has added a goal and three assists in the three games since then to tie Horvat with nine points in the last two weeks.

With Horvat, Pettersson, and the rest of the Canucks’ attack producing lately, there is no concern with the offense ahead of the meeting with the Flames. The defense, on the other hand, is a different matter. Opponents have scored 4+ goals on Vancouver in four of the last six games, and that’s not just a bad stretch, as the Canucks allow the third most goals in the NHL (3.8).

Calgary Flames Overview

The Canucks have won 10 of their last 11 against opponents from the Pacific, and although the Flames lost an important 2-1 decision at home against Edmonton on Tuesday, they rebounded with a 3-2 win in Seattle on Wednesday, even on the back-to-back.

Calgary has 41 points on the season – one back from Edmonton, one ahead of the Kraken, and nine off the pace of the first-place Vegas Golden Knights. Vancouver is right in the mix with 35 points, so this is a tight race where every game within the division matters. The Canucks did pick up a W in Calgary already this year, getting a 4-3 SO win on December 14th to cash in as +165 underdogs.

Despite some individual success from Horvat and Pettersson, the Vancouver offense is still very hit or miss over their last six games – scoring 17 goals total in three of those tilts but also just four total in the other three. Calgary’s likely starting goaltender Jakob Markstrom wouldn’t mind one of those ‘miss’ nights from the Canucks as the Flames are just 3-6 in games he’s started this month.

Game Prediction

The value here seems to be on Vancouver at +175, as Calgary doesn’t seem like a team that should be priced at -210 with their W-L-W-L-W trend due for a loss. The Canucks already won at the Saddledome a little over two weeks ago and have gone 7-1 in their last eight road excursions.

We have to take the chances with the Canucks at +175 here.

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