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The Calgary Flames are 3-1-1 in their last five games.
The Winnipeg Jets have lost three of their last five games.
The Flames beat the Jets 3-2 when they first faced each other.
Odds Taken from FanDuel Sportsbook.
18-13-7 (3rd in Pacific Division)
23-13-1 (2nd in Central Division)
Elia Lindholm (34)
Kyle Connor (43)
Tyler Toffoli (15)
Mark Scheifele (23)
Elias Lindholm (22)
Josh Morrissey (36)
Nikita Zadorov (10)
Josh Morrissey (13)
Nazem Kadri (3.24)
Shots (Per Game)
Kyle Connor (3.46)
The Calgary Flames will travel east to face the Winnipeg Jets for the second time this season. Calgary won 4-3 in their first matchup. The Flames jumped out to a 2-1 lead in the first period, but Pierre-Luc Dubois tied it up at two in the second. However, with under two minutes left in the same period, Trevor Lewis scored the game-winning goal.
The Flames are in third place in the Pacific Division with 41 points. However, they could fall into a Wild Card spot with a loss. On the other side, the Jets are in second place in the Central Division with 47 points. They would maintain control of the spot with a win, loss, or overtime loss.
The Flames will likely make the Playoffs, but it is unlikely they will make a deep run. Their offense is decent (but could use some improvement), and defensively, they are just above mediocre. To put it simply, this is not Calgary’s year.
The Flames are without any stars, but they have some solid players in Elias Lindholm, Tyler Toffoli, and Nazem Kadri. All three players are reliable on the ice and have at least 29 points and 15 assists.
The Flames have a difficult goaltending situation. Jacob Markstrom gets the majority of the starts, even though he has not been performing that well. Markstrom has a high ceiling, but he has been inconsistent this year and may be a liability later on in the season.
The Jets missed the Playoffs last year but have turned it around this season. Offensively, they are not elite but are, at times, dangerous. Defensively, they are in the top five and allow less than 2.6 goals per game. It is also worth mentioning that the Jets arguably have a top-five goaltender in Connor Hellebuyck.
The Jets, like the Flames, do not have any stars, but they have some talented players in Kyle Connor, Josh Morrissey, and Pierre-Luc Dubois. All three of these players are having excellent seasons and have at least 40 points and 23 assists.
Winnipeg has one of the best goaltenders in the NHL in Connor Helleybuyck. Helleybuyck’s 18 wins are the second-most in the league, and his .928 save percentage is tied for the second-highest. It would be an exaggeration for me to say that Helleybuyck is largely responsible for Winnipeg’s success this year.
This game will be close, but I have to give it to the Jets. They have a stronger team and home-ice advantage. Bet on Winnipeg.
The Flames are the favorites but will only win if they avoid committing penalties and have strong goaltending.
The Flames have one of the worst power play units in the NHL, but more importantly, they are facing a Jets squad with a solid power play unit. The Jets are not dominant on the power play, but they convert almost 24% of their opportunities. Calgary cannot let that unit get on the ice. They need to play smart hockey and only commit penalties if absolutely necessary.
As I mentioned above, the Flames do not have great goaltenders. However, whoever does get the start for Calgary will need to bring their A-game. The Jets average nearly 3.2 goals per game, so the Flames must have dominant goaltending.
The Jets are the favorites but will only emerge victorious if they involve Josh Morrissey and limit the Flames’ shots.
Josh Morrissey is currently listed as day-to-day, but I expect him to play tonight. He did not miss the Jets’ last game, so his day-to-day status is likely precautionary. Assuming he does play, his teammates need to give him the puck and involve him as much as possible. Morrissey leads this team in assists, so it is safe to say good things happen when the puck is in his hands.
The Jets are facing a Flames squad averaging 35 shots a game. That is an absurd amount of shots for any team to face, which is why the Jets’ defensemen need to slow down the Flames and limit their shots.
MacKenzie Weegar is not a highly-touted player on the Flames but is coming off a great game against the Vancouver Canucks. The defenseman scored his first goal of the season and had an assist.
For the first time this season, Weegar has momentum. He must take advantage of that and not be afraid to shoot this game. The Jets will not expect him to shoot much, so he may have some opportunities to take good shots.
This is not a surprising choice. Kyle Connor leads the Jets in points and is a fairly efficient shooter. However, the main reason I chose Connor is because he scored the game-winning goal in Winnipeg’s previous game against the Edmonton Oilers.
Connor is not the Jets' leading scorer but converts one in eight shots. That is not the most efficient statline, but it is solid. Connor must continue looking for his shot in this game.
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What - Calgary Flames vs Winnipeg Jets
Where - Canada Life Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba
When- Tuesday, January 3, 8:00 PM EST
How to Watch - NHLPP, ESPN+
Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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