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The Calgary Flames will be trying to extend their winning streak to four games when they visit the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre on Saturday. Calgary had lost four in a row–all in regulation–before reeling off consecutive victories over Vegas, New Jersey, and the Rangers. The Jets halted a two-game skid by beating Boston on Thursday.
Gaudreau especially good vs. Jets
The Flames have become a streaky bunch as Friday’s 5-1 victory over Rangers was their third straight and moved them back into first place in the Pacific Division, one point ahead of San Jose. Calgary has scored 20 goals during its winning streak, which has come on the heels of four straight losses, seven consecutive victories and a four-game slide (0-2-2). The Flames have won the first two of three meetings with Winnipeg this season by a combined 10-4, as Johnny Gaudreau has scored four goals–including a hat-trick in a 4-1 victory at Winnipeg on Dec. 27 that has given him nine goals and 18 points in 13 career games at the Jets’ expense.
Matthew Tkachuk has recorded six of his 32 goals and 10 of his 73 points in the last three games after scoring twice as part of a career-high five-point performance versus New York that included his 100th NHL assist. Gaudreau (team highs of 34 goals, 91 points) scored his fourth goal in two games on Friday after being held without a point in his previous three contests.
Slowly moving along
The Jets own a one-point lead over Nashville in the Central Division with two games in hand but are not necessarily playing like a first-place juggernaut heading into Saturday’s home contest against the Flames. Winnipeg defeated Boston 4-3 on Thursday for its second victory in five games, but head coach Paul Maurice–whose team is 7-9-2 since winning 34 of its first 52 contests–doesn’t appear to be worried.
“It’s just slowly moving your team to get really comfortable with the kind of hockey that’s played at this time of year,” Maurice commented.
Depth on the blue line helping #NHLJets handle key injuries.
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) March 15, 2019
Captain Blake Wheeler leads the club with 86 points–18 (eight goals) in his last 11 games–and his 66 assists are tied for second in the league with Edmonton’s Connor McDavid. Mark Scheifele (team-high 33 goals, 78 points) recorded a goal and two assists on Thursday after enduring a five-game point drought. Patrik Laine (29 goals, 48 points) hasn’t scored a goal in seven contests but has delivered six assists in as many games.
The Winnipeg Jets are:
- 20-8 in their last 28 games that are the fourth of a four games in six days situation
- 66-26 in their last 92 home games
- 53-23 in their last 76 games as a home favorite
The Calgary Flames are:
- 4-12 in their last 16 on the road against teams with home winning percentages over .600
- 20-9-2 in their last 31 overall
- 9-3-1 in their last 13 games against the Western Conference
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
“I’m not just a shooter, I guess; I’m a pretty decent passer, as well,” Laine said of his recent assist binge. Even when he’s not scoring, he is doing what it takes to help Winnipeg win. Calgary’s Sean Monahan (31 goals, 76 points) left with an undisclosed injury after the first period and is expected to miss Saturday’s game. The home team is 20-8-1 in the last 29 head-to-head matchups and the favorite is 9-3 in the last 12.
Prediction: Winnipeg Jets
Full-Game Total Pick
Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck is saddled with the highest goals-against average among No. 1 goaltenders on a team currently occupying a playoff spot (3.01). Calgary goalie Mike Smith (illness) participated in Friday’s morning skate and is expected to start on Saturday after David Rittich made 24 saves against the Rangers to win his third straight start. Winnipeg is not the team you want to be facing if you aren’t 100 percent. The over is 20-9-2 in the Flames’ last 31 overall, 7-2-1 in their last 10 against winning opponents, and 9-3-1 in their last 13 against the Western Conference. It is also 5-1-1 in the Jets’ last seven overall, 4-1 in their last five at home, and 3-1-1 in their last five playing on one day of rest. Look for this one to go over the total.