This isn’t atypical of NHL head-to-heads. The low-scoring nature of the game helps level the playing field, especially when analyzing different eras. In other sports, you can glean value from distant past matchups when looking to place a wager. Overall, though, hockey is the exception.
That’s hardly a bad thing. It just means you need to place more stock in recent results. And those give a decided edge to the Flames, who are having one heck of a season.
Only the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning, two of the primary Stanley Cup favorites, have totaled more goals than Calgary. The Flames have, quite literally, been fire on the offensive side of the ice this year. They rank in the top five of points percentage—i.e. their actual number of points divided by their possible total of points. That’s no laughing matter. Every team that hovers inside the top seven to 10 of that metric is considered elite.
Detroit, on the other hand, is having a much tougher go this season. They are one of the five least efficient teams on offense, according to their points percentage, and they’re not showing signs of improvement.
The Red Wings struggle to generate scores outside Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou, and they don’t make up the gap on defense. Their goalies rank a combined 18th in save percentage, which is not the end of the world but far from impressive. Jimmy Howard has found success when guarding between the posts—he has a save percentage north of 92—but Detroit generally hasn’t given him offensive support in his outings.
It doesn’t help that the Red Wings are playing at home, either. They have a winning record against the Flames when playing in Detroit over the last decade, but they’ve actually been outscored (38-37) through those 25 total matchups, and they haven’t tallied more than two scores versus Calgary since November 2013.