Calgary Flames @ Winnipeg Jets, 6 PM MT, Bell MTS Place, Winnipeg MB
TV: ESPN+, SNW - Radio: Sportsnet 960
Calgary Flames (3-3-1, 7 pts) - Winnipeg Jets (5-3-0, 10 pts)
The Flames will look to gain some ground in the North Division as they have back to back games against the Winnipeg Jets this week. Calgary was finally able to end their losing streak on Saturday night with a 2-0 blanking of the Montreal Canadiens and the PP was the key to their success. The Flames have now scored a PPG in every game this season, which is great, but it would be nice to see a few more even strength goals out of their big guns as well.
Calgary did what it needed to do on Saturday and that was to score in the first period. Johnny Gaudreau’s 6th goal of the season was their first opening salvo since Sean Monahan scored against the Vancouver Canucks back on January 16th. So that’s a definite step in the right direction and more of that needs to be happening. Calgary could also use to shoot the puck more often as well. The Flames are 18th overall in the NHL in shots per game at an even 30.0, but only eclipsing that mark in two of their last four games.
The Jets have been playing solid hockey as of late, winning four out of their last six, but three of those four wins have come at the expense of the lowly Ottawa Senators. So it’s tough to really know how good the Jets are based on those victories. They did defeat the Flames in OT on opening night, but have also dropped games to the Oilers and the Canucks, but do have a victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. See where I’m going with this: who the heck knows who the Winnipeg Jets really are?
What the Flames hopefully remember about their opening night loss is that they can get to Connor Hellebuyck early. Calgary hung three on the Jets in the first period and looked well on their way to a victory, which never happened. The Flames sat back a bit, the Jets pushed back and scored three unanswered goals (including the OT winner) and stole two points. Lesson learned? Keep your foot on the pedal and don’t let up. The Flames do seem to have Hellebuyck’s number lately as they put 12 past him in the four game qualifying series last season and another three already this year.
The Flames will catch Winnipeg at a slight disadvantage on Monday night. The Jets will be without Patrik Laine and Pierre-Luc Dubois. One because he was traded and the other because he has yet to join Winnipeg due to COVID border issues between the US and Canada. With that type of player missing from the Winnipeg lineup, Calgary should have a leg up as they are playing with their full roster.
Finally, here’s to hoping what’s been dubbed the “Matthew Tkachuk Friendship Tour” takes a break in Winnipeg. With every new opponent this season there has been some sort of drama with Tkachuk and the opponent of the night. As much as we love Chucky doing Chucky things, it’s gotten him off his game lately. It’s time to get back to basics and just play hockey and take a hard pass on the shenanigans.
Starting Goalies (E=Expected, C=Confirmed)
Flames: Markstrom (E): 3-2-1, 2.18 GAA, .929 SV%
Jets: Hellebuyck (E): 4-2-0, 2.67 GAA, .910 SV%
Flames: Goals- Gaudreau (5), Points- Gaudreau (9), PIM- Lucic (8), Save%- Markstrom (.929)
Jets: Goals- Ehlers (5), Points- Ehlers (11), PIM: Beaulieu (12). Save%- Hellebuyck (.910)
What’s Happening With The Opposition?
Winnipeg Jets Coverage: Arctic Ice Hockey
Speculating On Future Captains 2020/21 Part 3: Ottawa Senators https://t.co/qZUy9MsIPv— Arctic Ice Hockey (@arcticicehockey) January 26, 2021
Last Time Out
Calgary Flames 2 - Montreal Canadiens 0
Winnipeg Jets 1 - Vancouver Canucks 4
Players To Watch
Elias Lindholm (C): 5 points in last 5 games
Mark Scheifele (C): 7 points in last 5 games