Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:55 AM

In the Crease - Week 11

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Rise of the Flames
The Calgary Flames have had an interesting couple of weeks. Around Thanksgiving we had the unfortunate incident involving Bill Peters, who was relieved of his duties of allegations of racism and abuse. They replaced Peters with interim head coach Geoff Ward on Nov. 29, and suddenly they're unbeaten. Ward said recently that the last couple of weeks have been 'chaotic'. It hasn't been all bad news off the ice, as the team recently hammered out an agreement for a new downtown arena to replace the Scotiabank Saddledome, keeping the team in Calgary for at least the next 35 years.

The Flames beat the Colorado Avalanche in overtime on Monday night, improving to 4-0-0 under Ward's leadership, and 6-0-1 across the past seven overall. The offense has kicked into high gear lately, too, as they're averaging 4.33 goals per game across the past three while allowing 3.4 GPG. That's good for three 'over' results in a row after a run of 10 straight unders from Nov. 9-30. It really is a new era of Calgary hockey lately.

 Looking Ahead

Tuesday, Dec. 10

Tampa Bay at Florida: The Lightning and Panthers meet for the third installment of their Sunshine State rivalry. The Panthers fell 5-2 in Sergei Bobrovsky's team debut back on Oct. 3 at Amalie Arena, while the Panthers exacted a little revenge in a 4-3 win over Andrei Vasilevskiy and company on Oct. 5 in the second end of the home-and-home situation. Both games hit the 'over', a frequent occurence in this series. The over has cashed in 38 of the past 55 meetings in this series, and each of the past five in Sunrise. The Lightning have owned the Panthers lately, going 7-1 in the past eight, with the favorite hitting in 14 of the past 17.

N.Y. Rangers at Los Angeles: The Rangers continue their west coast swing, and they hope it goes nearly as well as Sunday's game in Vegas. Alexandar Georgiev and the Blueshirts rolled the Golden Knights by a 5-0 score, now they set sights on the Kings and the shaky Jonathan Quick. New York will be playing the fourth game in six days, and they're 4-1 in the past five of a 4-in-6 situation. The Rangers appear to get stronger with more frequency. The Kings have picked up the pace at home, winning seven of the past 10, but they're still just 17-41 in the past 58 against winning teams. L.A. is 6-2 in the past eight meetings at Staples Center, however, and the Rangers are just 5-11 in the past 16 meetings overall. The over is 5-1-2 in the past eight meetings in SoCal.

Wednesday, Dec. 11

Philadelphia at Colorado: The Flyers and Avalanche tangle at Pepsi Center, and you'll want to watch the injury report closely. Philipp Grubauer is battling a hamstring injury, and he tried to skate Monday morning but was obviously not well enough to get back in there. Pavel Francouz started Monday's game against the Flames, and lost 5-4 in overtime. The Flyers are on a 6-1 roll over their past seven games, and 6-2 in the past eight on the road. Despite the loss Monday, the Avalanche are also 21-8 in the past 29 game at home. The Flyers are just 3-8 in the past 11 trips to Colorado, while the over is 4-1 in the past five meetings.

Thursday, Dec. 12

Boston at Tampa Bay: The Bruins are going to be awfully angry after getting embarrassed in Ottawa by a 5-2 score on Monday night. The B's are on a rare 0-2-1 skid, and it's just the second time all season they have lost back-to-back games in regulation. They have yet to lose three in a row in regulation since March 10-14 of last season. This will be the second meeting of the season, with the Lightning winning the first installment by a 4-3 score in a shootout at TD Garden back on Oct. 17. Vasilevskiy outdueled Tuukka Rask in that battle, and those are your likely starting netminders for this one.

Vegas at St. Louis: The Blues enter the new week on a rare two-game skid, falling 3-0 at Pittsburgh last Wednesday and 5-2 at home on Saturday night to Toronto. In that last game, Jordan Binnington was pulled from his first-ever NHL start. The Golden Knights are coming off a 5-0 beating from the Rangers on Sunday, as Malcolm Subban was again in the crease with Marc-Andre Fleury still away from the team mourning the loss of his father. These teams last met on March 25 in St. Louis last season, with the Blues winning 3-1 behind Binnington against Subban. The Blues also won in Vegas 4-1 behind Jake Allen against Fleury on Nov. 16 of last season, while also winning the first meeting 5-3 on Nov. 1 behind Allen. That's a clean sweep, something the Knights will be looking to change.

Friday, Dec. 13

New Jersey at Colorado: Things haven't been going according to play for the Devils this season. They used the No. 1 overall pick on Jack Hughes, and while he hasn't been a huge disappointment, he hasn't exactly been the second coming of Connor McDavid, either. He has been closer to Nail Yakopov. The tradewinds are also swirling around Taylor Hall, and Colorado has been mentioned as a potential landing spot. Will the Devils end up leaving Denver with Hall on the plane, or will they leave him behind?

The Avalanche entered Wednesday's game on a 6-0-1 run, including a 3-0 run against Eastern Conference teams. Colorado won 3-0 last season on St. Patrick's Day in Denver, and they earned a 5-3 win in Newark on Oct. 18, 2018. They fell 2-1 to the Devils on Dec. 1, 2017 in the meeting at home before that, however, and they were swept during the 2017-18 season. The under is 5-0-1 in the past six meetings at Pepsi Center, and 9-1-3 in the previous 13 meetings overall. In fact, the last over in Denver between these teams came on Nov. 30, 2011 in a game where Martin Brodeur was in net for New Jersey. Yeah, it's been a while.

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