There’s a little bit on the line in this afternoon’s Game 82 between the Calgary Flames and the Winnipeg Jets, but not very much in the grand scheme of things.
The Winnipeg Jets are locked in as the Western Conference’s second wild-card team. Depending on the results of today’s games, they’ll face either Anaheim or St. Louis. The Calgary Flames are locked in as a Pacific Division seed, and will definitely face the Vancouver Canucks beginning mid-week, though they can get home-ice advantage with a win and a Canucks regulation loss.
But ultimately, this is a meeting of two teams happy to be returning to the playoffs and hoping not to incur any additional injuries. The Flames are dressing many kids. The Jets are just trying to get themselves into form for what’ll be a big test for them regardless of who they play.
A win this afternoon would be Bob Hartley’s 100th as Calgary Flames head coach.
Puck drop is at 1pm MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!
Completely guess-work lines based on my estimations of who would logically come out based on who they recalled:
Gaudreau – Bennett – Poirier
Raymond – Backlund – Colborne
Ferland – Shore – Wolf
Bollig – Granlund – Jooris
Wotherspoon – Ramage
Kulak – Engelland
Schlemko – Potter
There’s not much known about the line-up specifically, given that the Flames made their recalls well after their practice (and after travel, I believe). I would guess that Ortio starts, presuming he’s at 100%, but there’s also a shot that Jonas Hiller starts as a tune-up for the post-season.
I’m reasonably confident on the defenders – Wotherspoon and Ramage played together in Adirondack – but completely pulling guesses out of my backside on the forward lines. I think Gaudreau probably plays so he can cement his stranglehold on the rookie scoring title. But a lot of guys have missed time with bumps and bruises (Jooris has had a recurring malady apparently), so I have no idea who sits.
Definitely out with injuries: Karri Ramo, Raphael Diaz, Ladislav Smid, Mark Giordano, Lance Bouma and Paul Byron. So most likely the Flames will be without 13 regulars when they take the ice this afternoon.
And yes, this means that most likely, we get the NHL debuts of Sam Bennett, John Ramage and Brett Kulak. Kulak would be the first pick from the Flames 2012 draft class to make his NHL debut.
Lines from Thursday’s game via Daily Faceoff:
Michael Hutchinson is expected to start for the Jets. Connor Hellebuyck will dress as back-up. Tobias Enstrom will play, but several regular Jets will sit, notably Bryan Little and Mathieu Perreault, who is injured. The Jets are carrying a bunch of extra bodies right now, so it should be pretty easy for them to rotate bodies in.
I would venture to guess that Dustin Byfuglien, fresh off his suspension, rolls back in, but beyond that your guess is as good as mine.
|Power Play||19.0% (12th)||18.1% (17th)|
|Penalty Kill||80.2% (22nd)||81.7% (13th)|
|Corsi||44.3% (28th)||52.7% (7th)|
|Corsi Close||45.0% (27th)||53.5% (4th)|
|Faceoffs||47.5% (26th)||48.8% (22nd)|
|PDO||101.4 (3rd)||100.4 (10th)|
IF PLAYOFFS BEGAN TODAY…
SUM IT UP
It’s one last game with a young, inexperienced roster full of pep and vinegar looking to make their mark. It’s a nice diversion with little at stake before things get real on Wednesday night when the Stanley Cup playoffs begin.