Avalanche vs. Flames prediction: Calgary will pack firepower

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Tuesday’s NHL slate features a potential Western Conference final preview as the Central Division’s first-place Colorado Avalanche travel to Calgary to take on the Pacific Division’s first-place Flames.

This is the third meeting between these teams, not only this season, but this month, with each taking a win in the first two matchups.

The Flames are coming off a 9-5 beatdown of the Oilers. Calgary now ranks fourth in five-on-five expected goals for per 60 minutes (xGF) and is averaging 4.5 goals scored per game over its last six contests.

Not only does Calgary possess one of the best offenses in the league, the Flames also have one of the best goaltenders in Jacob Markstrom. Markstrom excels at home, where he is 20-11 on the season with a 0.924 save percentage.

The Flames have one of the best offenses in the NHL.
USA TODAY Sports

Calgary has been especially hot at home recently, and I expect that to continue Tuesday — even against a very capable Colorado team.

Over their last 22 home games, the Flames are a remarkable 18-4 with wins over powerhouses like Florida, Toronto and Tampa Bay. I expect Calgary’s stellar defense to keep Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Nazem Kadri in check while the Flames offense should have no problem doing what it does best.

In this heavyweight fight, I like the home team to take care of business. The Western Conference is incredibly tough and these are the two best teams coming out of it. However, Calgary has the edge over Colorado thanks to a deeper forward group, a better blue line and better goaltending, which is why I believe Calgary will be lifting the Stanley Cup when all is said and done.

The play: Flames moneyline (-115)

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