Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#61 Calgary Flames -125 vs.
#62 Winnipeg Jets 5.5
Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 8:05pm EST
Bell MTS Centre, Winnipeg
Written by Valdis Pans

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A Western Canada duel between Calgary and Winnipeg will spice up the new all-Canadian North Division, with both sides meeting up for the first time since last year’s Stanley Cup Playoff qualifying round, when the Flames eliminated the Jets.

Flames Sign Markstrom

The Calgary Flames reached the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, subsequently losing it for the third time in the last four years last season after eliminating the Winnipeg Jets in four games (3-1) in the qualifying round ahead of a 4-2 series defeat to the eventual finalists Dallas Stars. Calgary went 36-27-7 throughout the regular campaign, ending up 4th in the Pacific Division and 8th in the Western Conference. Matthew Tkachuk banked the most points for the team last season (61, with 23 goals), while Elias Lindholm (54 points) converted the most goals (29).

After signing a six-year, $36 million contract with Calgary in October, goalie Jacob Markstrom will immediately slot in the crease as the team’s No. 1. He was 23-16-4 with the Vancouver Canucks last season with a 2.75 GAA and a .918 save percentage, and has posted a 2-9-1 career total against the Winnipeg Jets with a 3.39 GAA and a .892 save percentage. The Flames, meanwhile, ended last year, netting the 12th lowest amount of goals per game (2.91), while conceding the 15th highest quantity in their defensive zone (3.06). The team was 12th in power play (21.2%) and 8th in penalty kill (82.1%).

Jets Set For Revenge

It is quite ironic that the Winnipeg Jets will open the new season against a team that effectively ended its previous campaign, with the Calgary Flames eliminating the side from Manitoba in four games (3-1) during the Stanley Cup qualifiers. Prior to that, the Jets finished the season 5th in the Central Division and 9th in the Western Conference (37-28-6) after triumphing in four straight games just before the coronavirus outbreak. Kyle Connor (38 goals, 73 points) and Mark Scheifele (29 goals, 73 points) were the highest-scoring Jets throughout the regular campaign, while Adam Lowry excelled during the postseason (1 goal, 3 points).

Goalie Connor Hellebuyck, who won the Vezina Trophy last year, will enter his sixth campaign with Winnipeg after notching a 31-21-5 total last season with a 2.57 GAA and a .922 save percentage. He has recorded a 5-2-0 previous tally against the Flames with a 1.97 GAA and a .932 save percentage. The Jets, meanwhile, finished the 2019-20 term, scoring the 15th lowest number of goals per game (3.00), while allowing the 10th lowest quantity on the defensive end (2.83). The team was 15th in power play with a 20.5% success rate and 22nd in penalty kill with 77.6% effectiveness.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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On paper, the Flames look great. Tying ex-Vancouver Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom to a six-year contract is an excellent move, while the additions of Josh Leivo (Canucks) and Dominik Simon (Pittsburgh Penguins) just further compliments an offensive core that has already been quite deep for Calgary. Winnipeg have already got one of the best goaltenders of the whole league in Connor Hellebuyck and have considerably strengthened their top-six forward group with the return of Paul Stastny following a trade with the Vegas Golden Knights. In fact, both sides look equally exciting ahead of the 2020-21 campaign and will undoubtedly deliver one of the most intense rivalries of the all-Canadian North Division, having already split their last 18 meetings. For their season opener, pick the Jets here, though! They have been historically strong when playing on own ice, having won six of their past eight domestic contests, while the Flames still remain quite an unpredictable proposition and have, indeed, managed to triumph in just one of their previous five contests versus sides from the West.

Prediction: Winnipeg Jets (-110)

Full-Game Total Pick

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More often than, the Flames have been involved in quite high-scoring bouts. This time around, though, bank on this one to go below the set goal-mark. This series has not delivered a lot of scoring lately, with six of the past seven encounters averaging just 4.17 strikes per fixture. Moreover, seven of the previous 10 domestic contests of the Jets have already witnessed just a minimal amount of snipes, while three of the past four regular-season outings of Calgary have all finished with less than six goals on the scoreboard, with an average of just 4.33 markers buried per game.

Prediction: Under 5.5
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Written By Valdis Pans , "Valdis Pans"

Bio Coming soon!