The 2022-23 NHL season has been a pretty entertaining one across the board and as we hit the three quarter mark, there is still a lot to play for. With the Flames still trying to push for a playoff position, the upcoming game against the Ottawa Senators will be a huge one. The Senators haven’t exactly been lighting the NHL on fire the last few seasons, but they aren’t far off the pace right now, either. With both teams breathing down the necks of a playoff place, this game will surely provide sparks.
So the question is, who takes this one? Who wants it more? We still have a little over a week worth of hockey to play before this game, and anything can change between now and then. Still, we’re going to take a look at the stats as well as the overall record between these two teams and put pen to paper predicting who we think will win a game that could set the pace for a run at the playoff spots or begin the descent into a relaxing postseason watching the playoffs from the beach.
The current form is the first place we need to look as we try to decide who will come out on top. At the time of writing, the Senators took a loss after 5 game win streak, which includes the following, 1 win over the Canadiens, 2 wins over the Red Wings, 1 win against the Rangers, and 1 win over the Blue Jackets, losing against the Blackhawks. Meanwhile the Flames finished a 5 game loss streak which featured losses to the Golden Knights, the Avalanche, the Bruins, the Leafs, and the Wild making a win against the Stars. The opponents for both teams here differ drastically in quality, so could this be taken with a pinch of salt? Four top opponents for the Flames while for the Senators they played one top 3 team which was the Rangers. Perhaps form won’t help decide this one?
If current form isn’t something we can currently rely on to truly determine the outcome of this one, perhaps it’s worth looking at the history of this fixture? Overall, the Senators have the upper hand with 18 wins to the Flames 16. The Flames have the upper hand when it comes to Overtime however with 2 OT wins to the Sens 1, they also have 2 Penalty Shootout wins to the Sens 1. The teams have already met once this season which saw the Senators take a 4-3 win in Overtime. Again this doesn’t particularly help so now the only place we can look is their stats for the season.
Starting where it matters most, goals. The Senators edge this one with an average of 3.2 goals per game vs the Flames 3.1, not a big deal however the Flames do average 2.4 shots per game more, 35.6 vs 33.2. The Sens have a higher shooting percentage and a higher save percentage with more saves per game. However they also give away more penalties/penalty minutes. Honestly, this game is a super close one to call but it seems to me like the Senators could edge this one, the Flames will have their work cut out for them next week!
Since we’ve taken a look at this fixture that is coming up next week it’s a good idea to take a look at some of the fixtures that are coming up in the immediate future. Starting with the Flames who travel to Dallas to take on the Stars who currently top the Central Division in the Western Conference followed by the Senators who travel to Chicago to take on the Blackhawks who currently prop up the Central Division much to the disappointment of Blackhawks fans.
Going through the top betting sites, we discovered that odds for this NHL season are available, and the best odds we could find for these forthcoming games are as follows!
For the Flames’ trip to Dallas, as you may expect the Stars are favorites for this one at -150, returning $8.33 while the Flames come in at +130, returning $11.50 from the same $5 stake. Meanwhile, for the Senators, they come in as heavy favourites against the struggling Blackhawks, -370 sees a return of $6.35 while the Blackhawks are +290 returning $19.50!
While we’re here it’s worth taking a look at the odds for the Stanley Cup! Again beginning with the Flames, making the playoffs will be a challenge for them but they’re currently +3500 to win the cup, returning $180 from a $5 stake, the Senators who are in the same position are +6600 returning $335 from $5. For reference the top 3 favourites are the Maple Leafs at +750 returning $42.50, the Avalanche at +650 returning $37.50 and finally the Bruins who are heavy favourites at +325, returning $21.25, all from the same stake of $5.
So, hockey fans, what do you think? Who do you think takes this one? With both potentially needing a miracle to end their season with a playoff run, who truly has what it takes to make that push into the postseason? With a lower average age, will the theoretical fresher legs of the Ottawa Senators prove to be a big factor moving into the closing weeks of the season or will the experience of the Flames prove to be the key to a more successful season?
Only one thing is certain, we’ve got a quarter of the season to go as well as lots of hockey in the playoffs and whether the Flames or Senators make it, we’ll still be watching every game possible. Unfortunately, there can only be one champion and honestly, I’m finding it quite hard to look past the Bruins right now. They have only lost 8 games all season and they are currently on a 10 game win streak. Will they keep that form going into the playoffs or will they crumble when it gets to the nitty gritty?