The NHL season is back in action and is filled with games on Thursday night. Ten games are up on the board throughout January 14. One of these games will be between the Calgary Flames and the Winnipeg Jets. These two teams will look to get this season started out strong with a win on Thursday night. This game will drop the puck at around 8:00 PM Eastern time.
The Flames finished out last season with a record of 36-27-7, which had them sitting in third place of the Pacific Division. Calgary was able to earn a win in their qualifying round matchup with the Jets, but lost in the first round to the Dallas Stars. The Flames will look to build upon that season with a win in their opening night matchup.
Winnipeg put up a record of 37-28-6 throughout last season, which had them sitting in fourth place of the Central Division. The Jets faced off against the Flames in the qualifiers and took a tough loss in four games. Now Winnipeg will look for some revenge to open up the new season. I expect the Jets to come out strong in this one as they look for a win.
These two teams had solid finishes to last season, which should lead to a great game on Thursday night. The Flames and the Jets are both looking to earn an early season win in the North division as it will likely be very competitive. Both teams could find themselves fighting for a playoff spot late in the season, which should lead to a good matchup in this one.
The Flames and the Jets met up once in the regular season last season. Elias Lindholm opened up the scoring for Calgary on the power play in the second period. Josh Morrisey tied it up on the power play in the third to force overtime. Bryan Little had the game winner in overtime. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 29 of 30 shots as the Jets earned a 2-1 win.
These two teams met up in the qualifiers. Andrew Copp opened up the scoring in Game 1, but it was not nearly enough. Andrew Mangiapane scored a goal and an assist for the Flames. Mikael Backlund, Johhny Gaudreau and Tobias Rieder all scored for Calgary as well. Cam Talbot turned away 17 of 18 shots as the Flames earned a 4-1 win.
Elias Lindholm and Sam Bennett both scored for the Flames in Game 2 of the series, but it was not enough for the Flames though. Adam Lowry had a goal and an assist, while Jack Roslovic had two assists. The game was tied 2-2 going into the third period. Nikolaj Ehlers scored the game winner to propel Winnipeg to a 3-2 win.
Game 3 and 4 were dominant performances by the Flames. Sean Monahan had two goals and three assists through those two games. Sam Bennett, Mikael Backlund, Johnny Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm all had a goal and an assist over the two games. Cam Talbot stopped 64 of 66 shots as Calgary earned 6-2 and 4-0 wins to close out the series.
Calgary had an interesting offseason. The Flames saw T.J. Brodie, Mark Jankowski, Michael Stone, Erik Gustafsson, Cam Talbot, Travis Hamonic and Tobias Rieder all leave in free agency. Calgary was able to bring in Jacob Markstrom to fill in the starting goaltender role. The Flames also added Chris Tanev to help out the defensive end.
The Jets had a strong offseason to help them make a better playoff run this season. Winnipeg lost depth players like Cody Eakin and Nathan Beaulieu. The Jets traded to bring back Paul Stastny to help their center role. Winnipeg also added Nate Thompson and Derek Forbort to their lineup. The Jets also had a splash in the draft, getting Cole Perfetti.
These two teams had good offseasons, addressing positions of concern. The Flames added Jacob Markstrom to strengthen their goaltending position. Winnipeg was able to help out their depth as they look to move up the standings. Both teams will look for their additions to step up early in the season to help them earn a win in this one.
Jacob Markstrom will make his debut with the Flames in this one. Markstrom had a strong season last season, putting up a record of 23-16-4 with the Vancouver Canucks. He earned a save percentage of .918 and a 2.75 GAA. In the postseason, Markstrom had a .919 save percentage and a GAA of 2.85 through fourteen games.
Connor Hellebuyck will likely get the start in the crease for Winnipeg on Thursday night. Hellebuyck earned a record of 31-21-5 throughout last season. He put up a .922 save percentage and a GAA of 2.57 through those games. Hellebuyck struggled in the qualifying round, posting a save percentage of .904 and a 3.04 GAA in the four game loss.
These two goalies had strong seasons last season. Hellebuyck won the Vezina Trophy last season and will need to return to that form this season. Markstrom earned himself a big contract in Calgary and will need to come out strong in this one. The Flames will rely on him to be a good starting goalie to help propel them further in the playoffs. I like Hellebuyck to come out wanting revenge in this one though as he struggled against Calgary in the postseason last season.
The Jets will look to come out strong and get some revenge after being eliminated by the Flames in the qualifiers. Winnipeg had a better offseason in my mind, which could help them earn a win in this one. The Jets also have the reigning Vezina Trophy winner in net, which should be able to help them solidify their team. If Winnipeg’s offense can come out hot, they should be able to knock off Calgary.
BetOnline has the Flames listed as a -110 against the money line in this one. This gives a solid edge to Calgary, which I do not agree with. I think that these two teams should be even coming into this game. The Jets have the better team when healthy and I think they will show that to open up this season. I like Winnipeg to pull off the upset in this one.