Calgary Flames vs. Winnipeg Jets, 01/09/17 - Prediction & Preview
Written by: Stephen Sobek
Calgary Flames (22-20 SU, 17-21-4 O/U) vs. Winnipeg Jets (19-23 SU, 17-21-4 O/U)
NHL: Monday, January 9 @ 8:00 p.m. ET
The Line: Winnipeg -120/Calgary +100 Total: 5.5
The Calgary Flames will face the Winnipeg Jets for the second time this season on Monday night in MTS Centre. The Flames have won three of their last four contests as they sit three points out of third place in the Pacific division. The Jets are back home after a successful three-game road trip, but are coming off a tight loss to the Buffalo Sabres last time out.
The Calgary Flames recently went back to the goalie who sparked their season in the first place, and the move paid off yet again. Chad Johnson got the start in net on the second half of a home-and-home in consecutive nights versus the Canucks, and he didn’t disappoint. Johnson was awarded first star of the game honors after stopping 28 shots in Calgary’s 3-1 victory on Saturday. If you remember, poor play from first-stringer Brian Elliott forced Johnson into regular action more than a month ago, and the 30-year-old was phenomenal. At a certain point, Johnson linked together six straight wins while allowing only nine goals over that span. He seemed to wear down shortly after, and hadn’t picked up a victory in nearly a month until his most recent outing.
Calgary spread their scoring around, as each line but the third tallied a goal. Michael Frolik’s tenth lamp-lighting of the year put him in a three-way tie for second in that category on the Flames. Calgary did a tremendous job on the penalty kill, stymying the visitors on all three of their extra-man opportunities. The Flames have now wasted 12 of their opponents’ last 13 power plays.
The Winnipeg Jets have been a hard team for me to figure out this year. At times, they look like one of the most elite squads in the league. During other instances, not so much. Winnipeg can lay claim to having the NHL’s third-leading goal scorer on their side in rookie winger Patrik Laine. Laine has tallied 21 through 42 games. He is tied for the team lead in points on the Jets with Mark Scheifele; both have 37. While individual scoring talent is certainly there, overall team defense is lacking tremendously. Winnipeg relinquishes approximately three goals per game, the sixth-worst average in the league.
Their 4-3 loss to Buffalo on Saturday was particularly heartbreaking, considering the fact that the visiting Jets were up 3-1 heading into the third period. It didn’t matter in the end, as the Sabres outshot Winnipeg 16-5 in the final stanza to the tune of three goals, two of them coming less than 30 seconds apart. The Jets never had an answer to Buffalo’s outburst, as bounces simply didn’t go their way. One thing they could control was puck possession; Winnipeg only turned the biscuit over once in 60 minutes. That’s something they should look to continue going forward.
The Flames are:
- 4-9 in their last 13 Monday games
- 3-7-1 in the last 11 meetings in Winnipeg
The Jets are:
- 4-0 in their last 4 when their opponent allows 2 goals or less in their previous game
The Calgary Flames can definitely hang with the Winnipeg Jets under normal circumstances, but I think they’ll find it hard to compete in their third game in four days. There are times when the Flames’ offense doesn’t show up, and this is lining up to be one of those occasions. Winnipeg will have revenge in mind after losing 6-2 to these guys earlier in the year, so I like the home team in this one.
The Pick: Winnipeg Jets
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