With the prospect of making the playoffs looking more and more grim as each day passes, the Jets will be looking to play more of a spoiler role tonight as the red hot Calgary Flames – winners of their last eight games – roll into Winnipeg for a Saturday night contest.
Winnipeg Jets (30-32-6 : 5th in Central)
Ehlers – Scheifele – Wheeler
Perreault – Little – Laine
Copp – Lowry – Armia
Matthias – Petan – Dano
Hellebuyck (Starting) – Hutchinson (Backup)
The Jets look to salvage what has been a very disappointing six game home stand tonight as a win will finish up the run at a pedestrian 3-3-0.
Ben Chiarot was reported as sick this morning in the game day skate and will be a game-time decision. The Jets did call up Julian Melchiori on an emergency basis from Manitoba and will go into the lineup should Chiarot not be 100% Mark Stuart will “replace” the now injured (Thanks Penguins) Toby Enstrom in the lineup and was skating with Byfuglien this morning.
Also drawing back into the lineup for the Jets tonight is Nic Petan, he replaces Chris Thorburn and there was much in the streets.
Calgary Flames (37-26-4 : 4th in Pacific / 1st Wild Card)
Gaudreau – Monahan – Ferland
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Versteeg – Bennett – Brouwer
Bouma – Stajan – Chiasson
Giordano – Hamilton
Brodie – Engelland
Bartkowski – Wideman
Elliott (Starting) – Johnson (Backup)
As mentioned, the Flames are on a tear having won their last eight in a row, have gained at least a point in the standings in their last 10 and are sporting a 12-2-1 record since the start of February.
They are one point behind idle Edmonton for the last playoff spot in the Pacific division, but do hold a fairly comfortable lead in the wild card race as they are five points ahead of the Blues who hold the second wild card spot, and eight ahead of the LA Kings.
They are coming off maybe their most impressive win of their current streak having pounded the Montreal Canadiens to the tune of a 5-0 win this past Thursday. In that game, Johnny Gaudreau took over the team lead from Mikael Backlund in scoring with a four point night to get him to 48 points. Sean Monohan and rookie Matthew Tkachuk round out the top group of scoring for Calgary. Doug Hamilton is also in the nix and leads the Flames in defenceman scoring, but he is set to be a game-time decision.
In goal, Brian Elliot pitched a 24 save shutout against Montreal, his first of the season and 19th win overall. He is getting hot at just the right time as he’s been in goal for all but one of the Flames eight wins on their current streak and has won 11 of his last 14 games. He will start for the Flames again tonight.
Where you can catch the game…
Gametime is 6 PM CST and is a Hockey Night In Canada matchup on Sportsnet. You can also listen in on TSN 1290 and of course we’ll be live tweeting the game and re-tweeting your thoughts on our Twitter feed @NHLJetsNation