With the NFL’s Super Bowl festivities now behind us, it’s time for some Winnipeg Jets hockey.
The club, winless since the All-Star break, is set to travel to Calgary to take on the Flames for the second of three meetings this season. The Flames won the first meeting back on Oct. 19 with Johnny Gaudreau scoring the game winning goal. Of course he did!
After dominating play in January, despite only going 7-6-1, the Jets enter February on a three game losing skid. The string of recent losses raises the stakes for tonight’s game, as the Jets will need to turn it around, or risk losing even more ground in the loaded Central Division.
Winnipeg (26-17-8) currently has a three point lead over Calgary for the first Wild Card spot in the Western Conference and sit fourth with 60 points in the Central Division.
Calgary (27-20-3) enters tonight’s game having won six of their past ten games, which places them fourth in the Pacific Division with 57 points, and that’s good enough for the final Wild Card spot in the West.
The Jets will have to play a full 60-minute game. Why? The Flames are a team that can have a bad first period, but then light it up in the second and win it in the third. They did it on Saturday against the Edmonton Oilers. Winnipeg will need to come out fast, score the first goal and then build on their lead. Can’t take a break at all against this Calgary team.
Line combinations provided by DailyFaceoff.com
Matthieu Perreault has been really solid for the Jets this season, especially on the second line with Scheifele and Frolik where most of his success has come from. In 48 games this season, the winger has scored 31 points.
Andrew Ladd currently leads all Jets players in points with 42 in 51 games played this season. He has 18 goals on the year, tied with Bryan Little for first in Winnipeg.
The Jets defence seems to be back at 100% with Mark Stuart back and like always, watching Dustin Byfuglien play defence is a treat and tonight should be no different.
Michael Hutchison has played 23 games for the Jets this season and there’s no denying that he has been their better goaltender this year, and that has played a big factor in their success thus far. He carries a 14-6-4 record, 2.15 GAA and .927 SV%.
The obvious player to look out for tonight is young gun Johnny Gaudreau, who is having one helluva season with the Flames, with 37 points in 49 games played.
Also keep your eye on Sean Monahan, who is currently leading the Flames in goals right now with 16.
Jiri Hudler is questionable for tonight’s game. He currently sits second in points for Calgary with 41 in 47 games played.
Look out for Mark Giordano on the blueline tonight. He leads the Flames in points with 42 and is making his case for the Norris Trophy.
Looks like Jonas Hiller will get the nod for Calgary tonight. The 32-year-old has played 33 games for the Flames, good enough for a record of 15-14-3, 2.36 GAA and .914 SV%.
Game Day Predictions: The Jets will start Feb. on a good note by winning the game, 4-2.
Obvious Predictions: Perreault will find the score sheet more than once tonight.
Not So Obvious Predictions: Chris Thorburn will score tonight.
I will update this blog when the official lineups become available. You can follow me on Twitter at @Dale_Lamontagne