by OddsShark (@OddsShark) – Sponsored Post
While there is no precedent for starting the Stanley Cup playoffs after a 20-week layoff due to a pandemic, those inclined to seek value in the Winnipeg Jets and star goalie Connor Hellebuyck might want to take note of a long-term UNDER trend.
The Jets are the even-money (+100) slight underdog while the Calgary Flames are a -120 favorite with a 5.5-goal total on the NHL odds for Saturday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Given the circumstances, it is anyone’s guess what bearing track records will have on the outcome of Game 1 of best-of-five qualifying series at Rogers Place in Edmonton. Calgary and Winnipeg also had only one meeting in the shortened regular season – a neutral site outdoor game in Regina on October 26. But one constant in the matchup has been low scoring games, with the total finishing UNDER in 10 of their last 13 matchups over the past five seasons.
Jets vs Flames | OddsShark Matchup Report
The Flames were on an uptick before the cancellation of the regular season. Their 36-27-7 record includes a 9-6 mark over their final 15 games with the total finishing OVER 11 times at online betting sites. Led by their Sean Monahan-Johnny Gaudreau-Elias Lindholm first line, and with a strong second anchored by left wing Matthew Tkachuk, the Flames held their own in generating quality chances, ranking 15th in the 31-team NHL in five-on-five shot-attempt percentage (50.3 percent). Making that show up on the scoreboard was tricky as they were 20th in goals scored (2.91 per game) and 16th in goals against (3.06). On special teams, Calgary’s power play ranked 12th (21.2) and the penalty killing ranked eighth (82.1).
Calgary coach Geoff Ward has opted to wait to name either David Rittich or Cam Talbot as his starting goalie for Saturday. Talbot had the hotter hand in the winter, winning four of his last five starts.
The Jets were 37-28-6 in the regular season, and like Calgary, went 9-6 in their final 15 games, but had the total finish UNDER eight times. It is no secret that the Jets give up more premium scoring chances than they generate, as they ranked 21st in five-on-five shot-attempt percentage (48.5). But center Mark Scheifele and his linemates, wings Kyle Connor and Blake Wheeler, as well as second-line right wing Patrik Laine, helped the opportunistic Jets rank 17th in goals scored (3.00) while bailout saves on the regular from Hellebuyck led to them being 10th in goals against (2.83). The Jets’ defense corps, specifically Josh Morrissey and Dylan DeMelo, will have their hands full against the likes of Tkachuk. Special teams-wise, the Jets ranked lower than the Flames in both categories – 15th on the power play (20.5) and 22nd at penalty killing (77.6).
If Winnipeg is to win a game or the series, it will be due in large part to Hellebuyck, a Vezina Trophy finalist who had a 31-21-5 regular-season record with a 2.57 goals-against average and .922 save percentage. Hellebuyck has a sterling split against the Pacific Division this season with a 1.94 GAA and .943 save percentage over 17 games.