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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Playoff FGD: Killer instinct (8:30pm MT, SN)

After a superb performance in Game 3, the Calgary Flames can punch their ticket into the Western Conference’s quarterfinal round on Thursday night when they play the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets looked like a team missing its heart, soul, and several regulars in Game 3 – and the Flames took advantage. Can the Flames close out the reeling Jets, or will Winnipeg’s desperation keep them alive for another game?

The puck drops for Game 4 at 8:30 p.m. MT on Sportsnet’s national feed (with Chris Cuthbert and Louie DeBrusk) and Sportsnet 960 The Fan (with Derek Wills and Peter Loubardias).

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The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Mangiapane – Backlund – Tkachuk
Lucic – Bennett – Dube
Jankowski – Ryan – Rieder

Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Andersson
Forbort – Gustafsson

Cam Talbot starts again in Game 4 and is backed up by David Rittich. The projected extras are Zac Rinaldo, Austin Czarnik, Byron Froese, Alan Quine, Buddy Robinson, Oliver Kylington, Michael Stone, Juuso Valimaki, Alexander Yelesin, Jon Gillies and Artyom Zagidulin. No lineup changes are anticipated from Game 3.

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Mark Jankowski slotted in for Game 3 and combined with the entire team looking more vibrant, that helped make the fourth line more of a going concern for the Jets. After playing 2:01 and 3:49 in the first two games, the fourth trio spent 7:07 together at five-on-five on Tuesday. (Yes, they were scored on, too.) Playing their fourth game in six days, being able to roll four lines will be big for the Flames if they want to advance.

Let’s be honest here: if the 3M Line is good again, this series may be over.

The Jets

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Connor – Copp – Wheeler
Ehlers -Eakin – Perreault
Roslovic – Lowry – Harkins
Bourque – Shore – Shaw

Morrissey – DeMelo
Kulikov – Pionk
Beaulieu – Poolman

Connor Hellebuyck starts for the Jets, backed up by Laurent Brossoit. The Game 3 healthy extras were David Gustafsson, Mark Letestu, Anthony Bitetto, Carl Dahlstrom, Sami Niku, Luca Sbisa, Mikhail Berdin and Eric Comrie, while Mark Scheifele, Patrik Laine and Mason Appleton were un-healthy extras. It’s anticipated that ether Gustafsson or Letestu could dress for Game 4, unless one of the injured bodies subs back in.

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So, uh, the Jets are in trouble. Though three games Hellebucyk has been scored on 10 times. The Jets entered the series down Bryan Little, arguably their best center, and have so far lost the services of Scheifele, Laine, Appleton and Mathieu Perreault for unspecified periods of time.

The Jets will have tons of pluck and desperation in their game, but they’ll need a lot of breaks to keep this series alive.

The Numbers

Flames Jets
Wins 2 1
Adjusted Corsi 50.0% 48.1%
Power Play 35.7% 13.3%
Penalty Kill 86.7% 64.3%

Unfit to Play Report

The Flames are without D Travis Hamonic (opted out).

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The Jets are without F Bryan Little (head). F Mason Appleton (undisclosed), F Mark Scheifele (lower body) and F Patrik Laine (upper body) are doubtful and all missed Game 3. F Mathieu Perreault (lower body) left Game 3.

When Last We Met

The Flames lead this series 2-1. The Flames won Game 1 by a 4-1 score. The Jets won Game 2 by a 3-2 score. The Flames won Game 3 by a 6-2 score.

Know Thy Enemy

Here are some key Twitter peeps to follow for tonight: