The Calgary Flames are on an upward trajectory. Having won their previous seven National Hockey League games in a row, Calgary are now in contention to win the Pacific Division. At the time of writing, the Flames are five wins behind the Vegas Golden Knights but anything can – and so often does – happen at the business end of the campaign. Watch this space, another Calgary win will send shockwaves across the NHL.
And then we have the visitors. Winnipeg Jets are still one game back in the Central Division and it would take a brave man to back against the Canadian outfit in the playoff race. Only the Tampa Bay Lightning have scored more goals than Winnipeg so far this season and the Jets should push Calgary close if they are on top form. If nothing else, it should be a great game to watch.
Calgary Have Developed A Winning Formula
The Flames, at 28/1 with Betway to win the Stanley Cup, have qualified for the playoffs just twice in the last eight years – not the greatest record in hockey by any means. This year, Calgary appear focused on the primary objective of reaching the postseason. Nothing in sport is a given but on current form, you would find it tough to back against the Flames. As of January 19th, Calgary are a general 20/1 shot to go on and win the Stanley Cup this year. What an achievement that would be…
Since losing to the Anaheim Ducks on December 30th, the Flames have won seven on the spin and head coach Glen Gulutzan will be expecting big things from his side in the second half of the campaign. This run will come to an end at some stage but for now, Calgary fans are enjoying watching their side play at Scotiabank Saddledome and a playoff berth is well within reach.
KEY MAN: Johnny Gaudreau. Calgary’s superstar, Gaudreau is capable of turning a game on its head in the blink of an eye. With 54 points in just 45 appearances, he is averaging over a point per game and that is a key reason for Calgary’s success. He has scored 15 goals during the 2017/18 campaign but his tally of 39 assists is perhaps most impressive of all. He may be the difference maker here.
Winnipeg Jets Cannot Fall Too Far Behind
The Jets have won six of their previous 10 NHL fixtures but losing two on the spin ahead of this clash is hardly ideal. Winnipeg were in a commanding position in the Central Division race but the initiative and momentum is now well and truly with the Nashville Predators. In time, Winnipeg could get back to the top of the division – victory in this contest would give the organisation a major boost.
KEY MAN: Blake Wheeler. Like Gaudreau for Calgary, Wheeler has carried Winnipeg for the most part of the campaign. He has notched 53 points (15 more than any of his teammates) and is the man to lead the Jets to the postseason. With 14 goals and an incredible 39 assists, he can create opportunities for his peers and finish chances – making him a key component in this Jets side.
Expect plenty of goals here. Calgary are improving on a weekly basis whilst Winnipeg boast a high-powered offense and that bodes well for an entertaining contest. This one won’t come down to Wheeler vs Gaudreau but if either player performs well, neutrals are in for a real treat. Choosing a winner here is tough but Calgary have the momentum and that is why we have gone for a Flames win.
FLAMES 5-3 JETS