The NHL has a busy night of action before they take a break on Thanksgiving Day. Fourteen games are on the schedule for Wednesday night. One of the games is between the Winnipeg Jets and the Calgary Flames. This game should be an exciting Canadian rivalry matchup.
Winnipeg has started out the season with a record of 12-5-2, which has them in second place of the Central Division. The Jets won their last game against the Vancouver Canucks. Winnipeg has won four of their last five games. The Jets have been really good as of recently and I believe they could get a road win on Wednesday night.
The Flames have gone 12-8-1, which has them in first place of the Pacific Division. Calgary has won back to back games against the Edmonton Oilers and the Vegas Golden Knights. The Flames are coming off a dominant 7-2 win on Monday night. Calgary will look to put up another solid performance against the Jets on Wednesday night.
Wednesday night’s matchup between the Jets and the Flames will be the first matchup between these teams this season. Winnipeg and Calgary will meet two more times on December 27 and March 16. I expect a close game between the two Canadian teams.
Last Season’s Matchups
Winnipeg and Calgary met three times last season. The first matchup between these two teams was held in Calgary. The Jets jumped out to a fast start, taking a 3-1 lead into the first intermission. The Flames fought back though. T.J. Brodie had two goals and two assists, while Johnny Gaudreau scored a goal and added three more assists. Calgary scored five unanswered goals to win 6-3.
The second matchup of the season stayed in Calgary. T.J. Brodie had another goal against Winnipeg in the first period. Mathieu Perreault tied it up for the Jets and it would take a shootout to decide the winner. Blake Wheeler and Bryan Little each scored in the shootout to give Winnipeg the 2-1 win. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 30 of 31 shots, while Mike Smith had 34 saves.
The final matchup of this season series shifted to Winnipeg. Blake Wheeler and Paul Stastny each scored for the Jets, while Spencer Foo scored his first career goal for Calgary. Jon Gillies had 24 saves on 26 shots. Winnipeg rode Connor Hellebuyck’s 31 save performance to a 2-1 win.
Winnipeg took the season series 2-1, but ended up getting outscored throughout the series. The Jets finished last season and moved on to the playoffs, while Calgary missed out on the playoffs. With both teams in the race early this season, it should entice an exciting game between the two.
The Jets have one of the best special teams in the entire NHL up to this point of the season. Winnipeg has been able to score on 32 percent of their power play opportunities. On the penalty kill, the Jets are able to stop their opponent’s 81 percent of the time. Winnipeg will look to use their special teams to give them an edge on the road.
Calgary’s special teams have not been great this season. The Flames has scored at a rate of 21 percent on the power play. Calgary’s penalty kill has been able to stop 76 percent of the power plays against them. The Flames are coming off a solid performance on the power play against Vegas. Calgary was able to score on three of six power play opportunities against the Golden Knights. The Flames will look to ride that momentum on the special teams into Wednesday night’s matchup.
Winnipeg has the edge on special teams with the NHL’s best power play and about league average on the penalty kill. The Flames are sitting almost right at league average on the power play, but have struggled to kill penalties consistently. This leads to a mismatch that could lead to the Jets scoring quite a few times on the power play. Calgary will need to be careful taking penalties.
I expect Connor Hellebuyck to be in net for the Jets on Wednesday night. Hellebuyck has gone 9-5-1 in his 15 starts this season. He has a save percentage of .913 and a 2.74 GAA. Hellebuyck has been really solid in net for Winnipeg this season and he will look to get it done again on the road against the Flames.
Calgary is likely to be starting Mike Smith in net for Wednesday night’s matchup. Smith has struggled throughout the season. He has posted a .876 save percentage and a GAA of 3.48 to begin the new campaign. In Smith’s 13 starts, he has a record of 5-7-1. Smith will need to turn around his play, especially with David Rittich posting elite numbers in net right behind him.
The Jets are on the road against the Flames to open up this season’s series. I believe the Jets have a chance to pull off the upset on the road. Winnipeg has the better goalie and special teams’ unit. If Calgary falls behind and starts taking penalties, the Jets are going to make them pay. Winnipeg has also allowed the least goals in the NHL this season, so if the Flames have to come from behind it will be very difficult.
BetOnline has the Flames listed at a money line of -109. This implies that the game is close to even odds, with Calgary having a slight edge. I believe that the Jets deserve the edge because they have been the better team this season. The Flames are coming into Wednesday night’s game hot, but I believe the Jets will cool them off. I am taking the road underdog.