The NHL is set up with a strong five games on Thursday. To finish off the action on August 6, the Calgary Flames and the Winnipeg Jets will meet in a potential elimination game. These two teams have fought back and forth in the series, which should lead to another good one on Thursday night. Puck drop for this matchup will be at around 10:30 PM Eastern time on CNBC.
The Flames earned a record of 36-27-7 throughout the regular season, which earned them the eighth seed in the Western Conference. Calgary had won three of their last four before the break, and now own a 2-1 series lead over the Jets. Calgary will look to finish out the series with a nice win on Thursday night.
Winnipeg posted a record of 37-28-6 in the regular season to help them earn the ninth seed in the West. The Jets have fallen down 2-1 in the series and will look to tie it up to force a winner takes all Game 5. Winnipeg has been without Patrik Laine and Mark Scheifele for most of the series, but could make a return for Game 4 as the Jets face elimination.
These two teams have battled it out in a competitive series so far. The intensity in this matchup has been turned up with Winnipeg missing some key players. The Flames have the Jets backs up against a wall, but I would not count Winnipeg out just yet. The Jets have fought adversity in this series, and I expect an exciting Game 4 on August 6.
The Flames and the Jets met for the first game of the series back on August 1. Andrew Copp opened up the scoring for Winnipeg in the first period. Johnny Gaudreau, Tobias Rieder and Mikael Backlund all bounced back with goals in the second to give Calgary a nice 3-1 lead. Cam Talbot stopped 17 of the 18 shots he faced as the Flames earned a 1-0 series lead with a 4-1 win.
The second game of this series was on August 3. Elias Lindholm and Sam Bennett both had goals in the second period for Calgary, but it would not be enough. Adam Lowry scored a goal and an assist, while Jack Roslovic earned two assists. Nikolaj Ehlers scored the eventual game winner in the third. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 28 of the 30 shots against him in a 3-2 win for the Jets.
The third game of the series was the next day on August 4. Nikolaj Ehlers and Andrew Copp both earned a goal for Winnipeg, but it would not be nearly enough. Sean Monahan had a goal and two assists as the Flames ran away with it. Mikael Backlund, Johnny Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm all had a goal and an assist as well. Cam Talbot had 33 saves on 35 shots to give Calgary a strong 6-2 win.
Calgary has had two solid wins in this series, while the Jets earned a close win in Game 3. Connor Hellebuyck has struggled a bit throughout this series, but the Vezina Finalist still has the chance to steal any game. He will play a key role in Game 4, especially if Laine or Scheifele remain out for the contest. The Flames will look to break through early again to knock off Winnipeg and move on.
The Flames had a solid regular season power play. Calgary was able to tally up 41 goals on 193 opportunities, which is a 21.2 percent success rate. The Flames penalty kill held their opponents to 35 goals on 196 attempts, which is an 82.1 percent kill rate.
Winnipeg’s power play played well throughout the regular season. The Jets were able to score 42 goals on 205 chances, which was good for a 20.5 percent power play. Winnipeg’s penalty kill was not as good though. Opposing teams scored 39 goals on 174 opportunities against the Jets, which led to a 77.6 percent penalty kill.
Calgary had the better special teams in the regular season and have done much better on special teams in this series. The Flames have posted a 35.7 percent success rate on the power play in the series, while earning a penalty kill percentage of 86.7. The Jets could use Scheifele and Laine back for special teams play, but if they are not in the lineup, Winnipeg will need someone to step up.
Cam Talbot will likely get the nod in the crease on Thursday night. He finished out the regular season with a record of 12-10-1 through his appearances. He earned a save percentage of .919 and a 2.63 GAA. Talbot has stepped up his game in this series though. Talbot has posted a .924 save percentage and a GAA of 2.02 to help give the Flames a strong 2-1 series lead.
Connor Hellebuyck has struggled in this series, but will get a redeeming chance on Thursday. Hellebuyck earned a Vezina Trophy nomination this season by posting a save percentage of .922 and a GAA of 2.57 in the regular season. He has struggled in the series, putting up a .892 save percentage and a 3.38 GAA. Hellebuyck will look to bounce back on Thursday night with a big win for his team.
Talbot has outplayed Hellebuyck so far in this series, but I expect Hellebuyck to bounce back on August 6. The Jets goaltender had a phenomenal season, getting them in a position to battle for in the Qualifying round. I expect him to play his best with his teams backs against the wall. If Hellebuyck can come out hot like he did in Game 2, it will give Winnipeg a good chance to even up the series.
The Jets looked very poor in Game 3, getting blown out 6-2. In an intense series like this one though, a blowout is just going to encourage Winnipeg to come out hot. I expect the Jets to look to get a lead early against Calgary in some revenge for Game 3’s embarrassment. If Scheifele and Laine can make the return to the lineup as well, it could give the Jets some serious momentum.
BetOnline has the Flames listed as a -157 against the money line. This implies that Calgary will win this game around 61.1 percent of the time. I believe that this line is too big. The Flames dominated in Game 2, but this series still has a lot of time left. Winnipeg is not going to go away so easily. As huge underdogs in this one, I really like the value on the Jets.