Per NHL betting odds, we have ourselves a game between evenly matched Canadian squads. The Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets will meet in Winnipeg to continue their growing rivalry. Let’s get straight to our Flames vs Jets betting preview.
The Flames took out the Jets in the Stanley Cup Playoffs play-in round last season and it came with some bad blood as Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk injured Jets star player Mark Scheifele. It drew both the ire of the team and Winnipeg fans.
Both teams made improvements in the offseason, particularly on defense, and this will be a tight matchup with potentially low scoring. Whether you’re picking the Flames or Jets for your NHL betting, it will be a doozy as the preview goes.
Flames vs Jets
Flames: Make it or break it season
The Flames will be living up to their nickname as the coaching staff’s seat couldn’t be any hotter. Yes, Geoff Ward took over recently, but the Flames still had the same result as they quickly got bounced by the Dallas Stars.
It’s difficult to point out exactly what Calgary needs to improve on, other than goalie, which it addressed by adding G Jakob Markstrom from the Canucks. Markstrom will have his work cut out for him as he hopes to not become another gravestone in Calgary’s long list of failed goalies.
Joining Markstrom is Canucks teammate Christopher Tanev, a lauded defenseman who will help improve a Flames defense that allowed 32.46 shots a game (23rd).
Calgary also needs bounce-back performances from its offense namely star winger Johnny Gaudreau whose points-per-game dropped from 1.20 in 2018-19 to 0.82 last season. Center Sean Monahan also needs to pick up the slack.
Jets: Treading water
Like the Flames, the Jets also view themselves as contenders and although they didn’t make too many headlines, they made solid improvements. They reacquired C Paul Stastny and bolstered the defense with Dylan DeMelo and Derek Forbort.
Winnipeg should have more help in front of G Connor Hellebuyck, who lived up to his promise by winning the Vezina. He posted a career season with a 92.2 save percent and 2.57 goals-against average plus six shutouts.
Hellebuyck gassed in the playoffs, however. Playing in 58 of Winnipeg’s 71 games caught up with him. The Flames lit him up with 10 goals in their last two games. Winnipeg allowed the seventh-most shots against them and was also the fifth-worst on the penalty kill. If the Jets tighten up on this department, they will improve significantly.
On offense, the Jets are a middle-of-the-pack team but expect a big season from F Patrik Laine as he is entering free agency. The return of Scheifele helps and the continued developments of wingers Nikolaj Ehlers and Kyle Connor is a boon.
The Jets Exact Revenge
Checking the odds from the BetUS online sportsbook, we have ourselves a “pick ‘em” but I think the odds should be favoring the Jets here. Yes, the Flames thoroughly outplayed Winnipeg in the bubble last season. But this is a different matchup.
The Jets will have Scheifele and Stastny back and are improved on defense. A rested Hellebuyck will be on his A-game and a hungry Laine will be looking to assert himself.
Calgary’s edge here comes via two ways: Markstrom outplaying Hellebuyck or on special teams. In their last ten meetings, the Flames have both a better power play (18.18%) and PK (86.84%). However, Winnipeg is more disciplined and outdraws Calgary in penalties.
This should be a tight game with more defense than offense, as strange as it sounds. The totals have gone under in eight of their last ten meetings for a reason. You have two great goaltenders and improved defense on both fronts.
With this in mind, I favor Winnipeg to edge the Flames as they will be just a bit more focused and take fewer penalties.
Pick: Winnipeg Jets to win (-110)