January 09 2017 12:00PM
(Bruce Fedyck / USA Today Sports)
We love HOME games; have Liquor Depot delivery in under an hour. Click, pick, sit back and watch the game.
The Calgary Flames beat a western Canadian rival on Saturday night, besting the Vancouver Canucks by a 3-1 score. Tonight they're back in action against another conference rival in the form of the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets have been playing pretty well lately, though they're suddenly without Patrik Laine and are a bit less of a handful for the Flames. But the Flames will need to be sharp, as they're heading into one of the NHL's toughest buildings in search of two much-needed points.
The puck drops at 6 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan. For the curious, the Jets are wearing their Heritage Classic jerseys and the Flames will be wearing their home red jerseys. Wacky!
Lines via Daily Faceoff:
After winning last time out – his first win in five starts – Chad Johnson gets the start tonight. He's 14-8-1 with a 2.28 goals against average and .922 save percentage. He was superb against Vancouver with a tired team in front of him, so who knows how he'll do tonight with a more rested group around.
No significant changes to the lineup are expected given the results from last game. Considering both Jyrki Jokipakka and Garnet Hathaway hit the scoresheet last game, they probably stay in. That leaves Freddie Hamilton and Brett Kulak on the sidelines.
Mikael Backlund saw his scoring streak snapped on Saturday but the 3M Line was still a force to be reckoned with, shutting down the Sedins while creating offensive chances all game. The Flames are still waiting for their top six to wake up, but for now they can seemingly rely on their bottom six core to keep the game moving in the right direction. Between that and their power play, they've been good enough to compete most nights.
Lines via Daily Faceoff:
Connor Hellebuyck starts for Winnipeg for the fifth straight game. He's 15-13-1 with a 2.75 goals against average and .910 save percentage. He's been the Jets' best goalie this year and has given them a chance to win most of the time, though he's been lit up (and pulled) a few times. He played against Calgary in relief back in December.
The big story for the Jets? No Patrik Laine tonight, as he suffered a concussion in their last game against Buffalo. Hopefully he recovers soon, since he seems like a fine young man who is excellent at scoring goals and probably has other nice qualities. He's on pace for 40 goals this season.
The Jets penalty kill hasn't been great this year. If the Flames can draw some penalties, they could make some noise on the power play tonight.
In 23 previous regular season games between the Flames and the Jets/Thrashers, they have a 13-9-1 record. This is the second of three games between the two former Atlanta clubs; the Flames won 6-2 back on December 10 in Calgary. They'll meet one more time at MTS Centre on March 11.
KNOW THY ENEMY
Some Jets follows for you tonight:
SUM IT UP
It's always a fun game when it's the Flames facing the Jets, doubly so in the noise machine that is the MTS Centre. Expect a loud building and a boisterous atmosphere. It's a big game for both teams.