We always knew that these best-of-5 qualifying series would be intense sprints to get into the traditional post-season. It still doesn’t take away from the fact that Game 3 in a heated Calgary vs. Winnipeg series is already upon us, just four days into the competition.
Though this will be both teams third game in four days, without travel that schedule isn’t nearly as onerous. With the series split at one game apiece, already you can sense how important Game 3 will be, as either the Flames or Jets will look to push each other to the brink of elimination.
In Game 1, Calgary asserted themselves well in using a four-line approach to generate consistent offense and chances. They looked overwhelming to the Jets, who lost key talents Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine.
But in Game 2, it was all about a gutsy win from a resilient Winnipeg club. Without Laine and Scheifele, Winnipeg played Calgary brilliantly. They didn’t allow their skill players much time and space and room through the neutral zone. Paul Maurice’s lineup changes worked, and though it is a quick turnaround into Game 3, there is some belief that Scheifele and Laine could potentially suit up.
This was always going to be a heated series, but the early incidents and injuries have heightened the anticipation for its conclusion. The Flames seem to be the better side and certainly the healthier one, but can they get enough goaltending to progress? Meanwhile for the Jets, will they get their stars back to go toe-to-toe with Calgary’s heralded attack? We’ll find out a lot about those questions over the next few days. But for now, keep reading on beneath the posted odds for our betting preview and analysis on Calgary vs. Winnipeg in Game 3 action.
Flames vs. Jets Betting Odds:
Calgary Flames (-144)
Winnipeg Jets (+130)
Over 5.5 (+123)
Under 5.5 (-135)
*Betting odds provided by BetOnline.ag
Flames vs. Jets Pick:
For so much of the Game 3 analysis, it really does come down to which type of lineup the Jets will be able to ice. Of course, intel surrounding the availability of both Patrik Laine and Mark Scheifele has been very buttoned up. That duo is excellent for the Jets, and much of Winnipeg’s offense comes from them.
My take is that if they couldn’t play 24 hours earlier, I am guessing not too much has changed. This isn’t an elimination game for Winnipeg, and while a loss stings – we aren’t truly yet in ‘must-win’ territory.
As a result, expect the Flames to flip the script from yesterday’s mediocre showing. Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan are both better than they’ve shown so far in this series, and expect head coach Geoff Ward to put them in favourable matchups.
One mismatch in particular that the Flames can definitely exploit is their offensive forwards from their top-two lines against the bottom-four of Winnipeg’s defense. Winnipeg has Josh Morrisey on the blue-line, but not much else. They’re thin in that area, and it forces their goaltender Connor Hellebuyck to routinely need to stand on his head.
The Jets are a gritty and resilient group, but statistics haven’t suited them all season. They’re a dismal 5v5 team, in fact the lowest in terms of shot generation and scoring chances of all 24 clubs within the playoffs. They are also overly reliant on Connor Hellebuyck, and eventually that bubble will burst.
My betting advice for this matchup would be to wait on lineups in the lead-up to this 6:45 PM EST puck drop, monitoring the status of the Jets’ stars in Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine. If both are out as expected, a bet on the Flames is great value up to -150. If both are in, the Flames are still a solid option, though you’d want a more generous price of around -130. Value is key, and the Flames still represent that heading into a crucial Game 3 from Edmonton.
Pick: Calgary 4-2