G2 Calgary Flames vs Winnipeg Jets: Scheifele, Laine doubtful
Follow me on Twitter @ToddCordell
Five things to watch when the Calgary Flames take on the Winnipeg Jets in Game 2:
Mark Scheifele’s absence. He missed the vast majority of G1 and we saw the kind of impact that had – especially on special teams. Winnipeg’s power play was lifeless – Calgary recorded more PP chances in six fewer minutes – and he wasn’t available for the Jets to mix things up on a struggling PK. Blake Wheeler has the skillset to hold his own at center, however, the Flames very clearly have an edge down the middle and I expect they’ll be looking to exploit that.
Goaltending. The Jets are unlikely to have Scheifele *or* Patrik Laine in their lineup. It was pretty shallow to begin with – there isn’t much beyond a few stars up top – and those injuries are only going to make matters worse. Winnipeg has no shot winning in a track meet here. They’re going to have to slow the game down and rely on Connor Hellebuyck to bail them out whenever necessary. If Hellebuyck isn’t at his best, or Cam Talbot can match him with a quality showing of his own, this is going to be a very difficult game for the Jets to win.
Following up. I thought the Johnny Gaudreau line was good in G1. Not by their standards over the 2nd half of the season, or previous playoff runs. Just flat-out good. I think the fact they were rewarded for their efforts, albeit on the power play, should give them a nice boost to keep things going against this depleted Jets team. If Calgary’s top line isn’t going, their ceiling is probably winning the play-in round. If they *are* producing on a consistent basis, this Flames team has the potential to go on a bit of a run. I’m really interested to see if they build on Saturday’s performance, in which they controlled 5v5 play more than any other Flames line, or if they regress back to what we have seen for the majority of 2020.
Rasmus Andersson’s usage. I know the game was a little wonky because of special teams but Andersson needs to play more. For my money he is the 2nd best defenseman on the team and yet he finished 5th among Flames D in 5v5, and total, TOI during the opener. It’s not like he was struggling and needed to be protected. He finished with the 2nd highest Expected Goals For% on the team – behind only Elias Lindholm. Get this man on the ice.
Hiding Zac Rinaldo (or flat out scratching him). He played just over three minutes in G1. The Jets scored and recorded two scoring chances during that time. He works hard but he’s not an NHL player and, clearly, he can be exposed even playing a few shifts a game. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mark Jankowski comes in for him. At least he can play on the PK.
Puck drop is just after 2:30 eastern.
Numbers via NaturalStatTrick.com
Calgary’s top-4 is better without Hamonic in it
Travis Hamonic opts out of NHL restart
On the Flames’ rumored interest in Josh Anderson
No amnesty clause means Milan Lucic is sticking around
Most underrated player on the Flames?
Mark Giordano: long underrated, and long underpaid
Three potential platoon targets for the Flames
Ranking Calgary Flames contracts: Part 2
Ranking Calgary Flames contracts: Part 1