Photo Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

FGD 38: Ah, late December in scenic Winnipeg (6pm MT, SN West)

The presents have been unwrapped and now it’s time to get back to work. The Calgary Flames (22-12-3, 47 points) are back in action tonight in what’s bound to be a heck of a hockey game as they visit the Winnipeg Jets (24-10-2, 50 points). It’s the top team in the Pacific against the top team in the Central with bragging rights and two points on the line.

The action begins at 6 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

For a view from the other side, check out JetsNation!

The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund –  Bennett
Quine – Jankowski – Neal
Frolik – Ryan – Hathaway

Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Kylington – Andersson

After his strong performance against the Lightning, David Rittich is back in net (backed up by Mike Smith). The projected healthy scratches are Dalton Prout and Austin Czarnik.

The Flames come out of the holiday break two points up on the Sharks (with a game in hand) for first place in the Pacific and with an eight point cushion on the last playoff spot. But they’ve also lost three in a row, and need to get back to banking points and chugging along towards the post-season.

The Jets are a big, big test, but they’re also an obstacle the Flames will need to overcome if they want to do anything of note past Apr. 6.

The Jets

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Ehlers – Scheifele – Wheeler
Connor – Little – Laine
Perreault – Lowry – Tanev
Copp – Roslovic – Appleton

Morrissey – Trouba
Chiarot – Byfuglien
Kulikov – Myers

Connor Hellebuyck starts for the Jets, backed up by Flames 2011 draft pick Laurent Brossoit. Nic Petan, Brendan Lemieux and Joe Morrow are the projected scratches.

The Jets are a deep, talented team, but they’ve also been prone to inconsistency. The Flames trounced them when these teams met in November, and that’s not something this group is likely to forget. Expect to see a motivated Winnipeg side this evening.

The Numbers

Wins 22 24
Points 47 50
Corsi Close 54.1% 50.7%
Power Play 22.5% 28.7%
Penalty Kill 80.0% 81.5%

Injury Report

The Flames are without Juuso Valimaki, Andrew Mangiapane and Michael Stone.

The Jets are healthy.

Season Series

This is the second of three games between these teams this season. The Flames beat the Jets 6-3 back in November. The season series closes out in Winnipeg on Mar. 16.

Know Thy Enemy

Your Jets Twitter follows for tonight:

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  • Flaming Glory

    Expect to see Frolik move up:

    When Bennett struggles next, make it
    3M (he really is the best fit imo)

    Also as a side note: that Jets PP is terrifying.


    • Brian McGrattan's Salute

      Good stuff. I agree re the reunification of the 3m line. I really like it, and Frolik is a quality player. I dare say that it might be the vase that 5v5 Backs and Chuck are more productive with Frolik than any other player on that line thus far.

      Moreover, we just simply need to get our third line going. Its just a must if we are to be a deep playoff contending team. I’m not saying we’re not a great team, but my goodness some secondary (or in this case, tertiary) scoring needs to happen. And more specifically, as you’ve laid it out here, it’s precisely Benny, Janko, and Nealers that have to get it going. I wouldn’t mind a third line of them. I know Benny and Neal had some chemistry earlier in the season.

      That being said, I would love to have a really great second line, too, and those three were tearing it up last game (plus Lindholm when he was 2rw). This game will be very interesting.

  • Score When I like Nieuwendyk

    Either reunite the 3M Line or play Frolik with Jankowski and Hathaway! This tinkering is getting a little old. Let Neal earn his minutes on the fourth line already with Ryan and Quine and let’s go!

  • Score When I like Nieuwendyk

    Benny has also looked good with Jankowski. The chemistry Jankowski has with both Hathaway and Benny might just turn into a productive third line! Why not give it a try Peters???

    • Albertabeef

      The only thing good about Hathaway is his physicality. He gets a lot of dzone face offs and can’t clear the zone and the goalie makes the save most the time. Wait I think I just replayed Derek Wills play by play in my head lol. You know you’ve heard it too many times when it gets stuck it your head. Hathaway should never play above the fourth line. I sound like WW and Backlund except Backlund drives play and is a corsi monster, big difference. I like seeing Hathaway, Bennett, and Janks ALL on different lines from each other. 25 points is secondary scoring these days and Benny and Janks are on pace so I’m okay(not great) with them. Backlund through his first 170 games was 0.36 points per game and 0.41 after 246 games. Backs got to play with better players than Benny but Benny still has a career 0.37 ppg right now. For the record Backs currently has a career 0.51 ppg average. Anything in a season north of 0.30 ppg is decent secondary scoring these days. Czarnik 0.27, Neal 0.19, Hathaway 0.16 and Dube 0.25 are currently the only forwards (with 20 games min) under that mark this season. Why does everyone give Hathaway a free pass and spit on a five year younger Benny? Boggles my mind lol.

      • Brian McGrattan's Salute

        Good points. I really love Hathaway, but definitely as a 4th line role guy and PK player. He’s the kinda guy that will show up big in the playoffs (think Yelle, but not as good), but definitely shouldn’t be on the third line. We tried that last season folks.

  • Girouxalem

    Just got back from a couple leafs games back east over the holidays. Truly think the leafs might of put their eggs in the wrong basket with Nylander. Kapanen significantly outplayed him in both games. Love his speed and tenacity on top of his skill. If I’m BT i’m desperately trying to find a way to take advantage of the leafs cap crunch.

    He would look great in our top 6. Tkachuk Backlund Kapanen would be a great 2nd Line. Probably won’t happen before the off season but leafs are going to have to sell Kapanen before next season. Considering the league wide boycott of offer sheets, what do the flames need to offer up to get him in a trade? Keeping in mind keeping him won’t be an option for the leafs.

    The flames cap situation will also be a challenge, but a trade of frolik or stone (or him staying on LTIR) frees up enough cap space to give kapane $4-5MM. Something that is impossible for the leafs. Do we give up one of our young cost controlled Dmen?? Kylington plus a third? Anderson would be a slam dunk for leafs as they are desperate for RHD but so are we, so I wouldn’t go there.

    • Brian McGrattan's Salute

      Also, with how weak and ridiculously thin Edmonton is, does trading McDavid make sense for the club? He leaves, but they get a bunch of good hockey players in return? Old school hockey trade? Not sure if this would ever happen, but it seems like the way to go for me.

      I’m also definitely not an oilers fan (loathe them), but Charellis incompetence actually drives me mad, and I feel bad for McDavid.

      • Flaming moe

        The oilers are in a playoff spot and you feel bad for Mcdavid? When Matthews, Marner, Brayden Point, Kucherov, Rantanon all sign for more than Mcdavid and Draisaitl it will be Chiarelli who will then look smart having those two locked up for a decade and prices only rising. He even said it when he signed them that in 3 years it will turn into a bargain. I thought he was a clueless idiot at the time but after hearing the SN panel discuss this it all makes sense. Imagine what Johnny will command next contract or even Chucky next year. Going to be interesting to watch these teams, who have to sign there big stars when moron to the north set the bar at 8.5 million and 12.5 million per.

          • buts

            It’s been the coilers that have moved up the prices. It’s been the coilers that have all but eliminated the bridge contract, just look at the Hall, Eberle and Hopkins deals. I’m sure GM’s and owners hate the coil as much as I do.

          • Brian Burkee

            In my opinion only time will tell. However if players such as Matthews get paid more than Mcdavid then Chiarelli will somehow look the wiser because he will still have the best player in the world and other players will be making more or as much as him. With the cap rising every year it will be an easy case for players and agents to command the correct percentage of the team cap. Show me the money! Its the same as BT looking like a genius right now having Johnny and Mony locked in at 6 mill for a few more years.

      • Avalain

        Uh. Um. No. There’s just no way that they will trade McDavid. No way. Plus, they’re currently sitting in a playoff spot so I don’t think this is the time for panic trades.

    • Joeyhere

      Good to speculate that these two teams might make a trade
      Leafs were rumoured to be looking at Brodie early in the year (when he had yet to find his form)
      Kapenan would look so good here – would
      One of our young d plus Czarnik do it ?

    • Sir ryosus

      It will take one of our young d plus. That said with Mathews and marner coming up I figure nylander will be the one that moves on. Makes hockey sense and will be a strong message to rfa who hold out for Max dollars.
      If it is nylander on the block I’d probably pass at the price tag(players/$). What I want is another Lindy so BT, go find us another Lindy plz

  • Flamesforever

    Buff is a sore F$&@ING loser, what a garbage play.. he gets walked and pulls that crap. That play does not belong in the NHL. Hopefully Johnny is ok..

  • Spider you muda&@#ker

    Used to like Buff but that guy is a sore loser man drop the mits with Hathaway if your pissed but hack a guy thats half your hight when the games over weak

  • canadian1967

    Sorry I swore.
    This is where I wish we had signed Reaves instead of Neal.
    I can just imagine him standing at the Defence gate waiting for Byfuglen to step on the ice while telling the whole bench that they’re next.
    Oh Man, would that be great!
    Sigh…. be well Johnnie.

    • Spider you muda&@#ker

      Your right would love to see Reaves chuck the knuckles with that guy but hindsights 20/20 BT didnt know Lindholm would be this good if he did would never of shelled out the dough for Neal

  • BendingCorners

    Great game by Rittich.
    Could be a preview of the West final.
    Hope Gaudreau is okay but if he misses some time the Flames have the depth and the character to win without him.

    • Redleader

      Buff is a total loser !!!! You mean that at the end of every loss a Flames player can lumber jack there star player and only get a penalty? That better be a suspension for intent to injure !!!