Matthew Tkachuk is hoping to extend his nine-game point streak as the Calgary Flames visit the chilly city of Winnipeg to take on the Jets.
Tkachuk is having an outstanding rookie season, playing on the second line with the Flames leading scorer, Backlund. Calgary is hoping to have a similar performance to the last time these two teams met, when the Flames ran away with the game, winning 6-2. Dougie Hamilton put up three points in that victory, and Sam Bennett, Mikael Backlund, Lance Bouma and Sean Monahan all added to the goal total. Chad Johnson was also starting in that game, where he made 26 saves.
Another rookie having an outstanding season won’t be playing in tonight’s contest, as Jets’ leading scorer Patrik Laine has been diagnosed with a concussion, with no timetable for his return. The Jets will be looking to Nikolaj Ehlers and Mark Scheifele for the offence, but will need to get it from players like Drew Stafford and Joel Armia to win. Dustin Byfuglien will continue to play big minutes, as he is leading all NHLers with 1,146:51 minutes spent on the ice this season.
Calgary Flames at Winnipeg Jets
MTS Centre – 7:00 p.m. CST
Broadcast channels – TSN3, SN-W
2016-17 Season Series: December 10 – Calgary (6) vs Winnipeg (2)
Winnipeg Jets – 19-20-3 – 41 Points
Home Record: 10-8-1
Hot Players: Nikolaj Ehlers
Key Injuries: Tyler Myers, Marco Dano, Patrik Laine
Calgary Flames – 22-18-2 – 46 Points
Away Record: 11-8-2
Hot Players: Mikael Backlund, Matthew Tkachuk
Key Injuries: Troy Brouwer, Ladislav Smid
1) Patrik Laine has been diagnosed with a concussion, which will knock the rookie out of the lineup for at least the next few weeks. There is no timetable on his return. That leaves a large 21 goal, 16 assist hole on the top line. Right now, Drew Stafford will be sliding into that slot. If the Jets want to get back to .500, they will need Stafford to start producing immediately. He has three goals and four assists.
2) Laine wasn’t the only young guy scoring for the Jets. Nikolaj Ehlers is now on a four-game goal scoring streak. Since December 18, Ehlers leads the NHL with nine goals in nine games. Combined with Scheifele and Laine, the Winnipeg Jets lead the NHL in goals scored by players 23 and younger with 72.
The Calgary Flames are in the top five on that same list. Matthew Tkachuk has seven goals and 25 points along with a nine-game point streak, while Johnny Gaudreau has 10 goals and 27 points this season.
3) Calgary has just begun the second half of their season and have a two point lead on the first wildcard position. They are nearing the end of an 11-game stretch against Western Conference opponents. So far, they are 6-3-0 and have outscored their opponents 29-21. Chad Johnson is getting the start after a huge game against the Vancouver Canucks. He has a 2.28 goals against average to go with a .922 save percentage.