NHL Hockey Betting:  Calgary Flames at Arizona Coyotes&h=253&w=372&zc=1

This is a meaningless game for all intents and purposes but if either team wants to tack on a couple more points before the end of the season it’s arguably their best chance to do so. The Arizona Coyotes really can’t do much to improve their position in the standings–they have 75 points putting them 5 back of Colorado for 9th place in the West. Then again, they can’t really drop too far back since the bumbling quartet of Winnipeg, Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton are 7 and 8 points behind. But without much external motivation to do so the Coyotes have been playing good hockey down the stretch.

Calgary isn’t as big of an embarrassment to the good people of Canada as are the Vancouver Canucks one point back but they’ve had a very disappointing season. They entered the year with playoff aspirations and are doing little more than playing out the string (4-4-2 L10). They haven’t been too bad at home (20-16-3) but have been horrible on the road (11-22-3–worst in the NHL). They’ll be without Johnny Gaudreau tonight (upper body injury) and the diminutive sparkplug is a huge absence. Jyrki Jokipakka and Josh Jooris will also miss tonight. One thing Calgary has done very poorly this year is compete within their own division–they’re 7-16 against the Pacific this season. It’s easy to dismiss that due to the ‘grown man teams’–Los Angeles and Anaheim, along with San Jose on a good day–at the top of the divisional table. Arizona is 16-11 against Pacific opponents.

Of course the name of the game in sports betting in general and hockey handicapping in particular is finding value and given the form and circumstances surrounding these teams the price on Arizona is very reasonable here. They’ve been playing better hockey down the stretch, they’re facing a miserable road team and even with backup Louis Domingue starting in place of Mike Smith have better goaltending. They’ll be without Shane Doan tonight (possible concussion) but that shouldn’t matter. Coyotes have won 5 of the last 7 head to head in Arizona and are 4-0 against Calgary this season winning these games by a combined margin of 12-4.