Maybe the subtitle is a bit of a pun, but the title hopes for the Calgary Flames certainly are not. They have gotten off to a very surprising start to the season, and as such, their title odds have increased. To start the year, Calgary was +4000 to win the Stanley Cup.
Early in the year, the Flames are 9-3-5 and sit one point behind the first-place Edmonton Oilers in the Pacific Division. That has taken a real toll on the odds at most sportsbooks, and kudos to you if you took the Flames when they were massive underdogs. The odds for them now sit at just +2300, which is still good value for Calgary with where they sit.
Perhaps the biggest reason that the flames are in the position they are is the red hot play of their goaltender, Jacob Markstrom. In his second season with the Flames, he's been phenomenal, posting a 1.68 GAA and .942 save %, ranking behind only Jack Campbell of the Toronto Maple Leafs in each category. Calgary has also posted a ridiculous six shutouts already, which through 17 games is the most that have been recorded by a team since 1938. That is thanks in large part to Markstrom.
Andrew Mangiapane leads the team with 12 goals, and trails only Leon Draisaitl for the NHL lead.
Overall, the Flames have been great and a surprise to be sure. However, every team has a weakness, and the Flames biggest one may be on offense. They have been inconsistent this season, sometimes scoring five goals a game, and then laying an egg in their next game out. In November, the Flames have started to regress a bit.
They have had a pretty soft schedule in the month of November, but have posted just a 3-2-4 record over that time. It is great to get that point even when you lose in overtime, but you can't rely on that when you get to the playoffs. If you add up their combined wins and losses, Calgary is actually just 9-8 straight up on the year.
That is not all that impressive when it comes down to it, but nevertheless, this is certainly a team that is worth keeping an eye on. I would not make a bet on them right now, because I don't see this defensive dominance continuing throughout the year, and the offense is what it is. I think you would be better served to grab the odds on a team like the Vegas Golden Knights who are struggling right now, at the best number possible.
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