Photo: Flickr Mikelynaugh Writer: Jimmy Gold
The Pittsburgh Penguins have absolutely dominated the Calgary Flames in recent history and they are on a six game winning streak going into this game. Pittsburgh is showing their depth as an organization as they continue to pile on wins even without having Evgeni Malkin, Tanner Glass, and basically all of their defense out. Rob Scuderi and Brooks Orpik are among the defenseman that are out of commission. Rookie defenseman Olli Maatta is making his name known though and he scored on a penalty shot in the third period in the Penguins most recent win. Maatta also had two helpers in that game. In Pittsburgh's latest game they destroyed the Wild and won 5-2. Matta was named the number one start in that game and Chris Kunitz had a big game, scoring two goals which gives him a total of 20 this season. Sidney Crosby was able to add two assists giving him 32 helpers on the season. The banged up Penguins need Kunitz, Crosby, and Maatta to continue to exceed expectations in order to remain successful despite numerous injuries.
Marc-Andre Fluery should start for the Penguins and he is 20-8-1 with a 2.00 goals against average. Fluery allowed three goals but got the win in his last start against the Flames.
Calgary is finishing up a five game road trip and they are on a respectable 1-1-2 run in that span. Pittsburgh is going to be a tough match-up for them but the Flames are playing decent hockey and they are 5-3-2 in their last ten games. The Flames have lost their last three games though but two of them have gone into at least overtime. They played the Red Wings tooth and nail in their most recent game but lost in overtime when they were shorthanded. Calgary has just one game after this one until their holiday break and they will be hungry to end their current road trip going 2-1-2. The Flames have shored up their defensive structure recently, giving up less than two goals on average in their last ten. Karri Ramo has been a big reason for their defensive success. Ramo is 4-1-2 with a 1.82 goals against average in his last seven starts. The Flames will need Ramo to give them a chance in this game.
The Flames are 0-5 in their last five meetings against the Penguins. Pittsburgh has the offensive talent to blow Calgary out of the water and poke holes in their defense. We will recommend taking the Penguins on the puck-line for this free hockey pick.
Penguins -1.5 +145