- The NHL playoff structure has been set in place with 24 teams battling for the Stanley Cup
- The Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets will square off in a best-of-5 qualifying round series
- See the odds for both teams and the best bet to make
Following the National Hockey League season being put on hold in Mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, there is some good news that the league has a plan in place to host a 24-team tournament style post-season to award one team the Stanley Cup. Dates and locations have not been finalized, with the league canvassing cities that can host in two hub spots, one for the 12 Eastern Conference teams and one for the 12 in the West.
While both the Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets do not have favorable 2020 Stanley Cup odds, they’ll have a chance to change that narrative as they’ll be squaring off in a best-of-five series where the winner will move into the playoffs.
Both teams were separated by just one point in the standings, so it should come as no surprise that their series opens as a pick’em. Which team is the best bet to move forward in their pursuit of Lord Stanley?
Flames vs Jets Series Odds
Odds taken May 27th
Both Teams Very Evenly Matched
Of the eight qualifying series’, this one might be the most intriguing and features the two franchise’s that are most evenly matched. In their last ten meetings, its been an even split of five games apiece, though Winnipeg has won four of the last six dating back to the 2017-18 season (they won the only meeting this season, 2-1 in OT in October on neutral ice for the Heritage Classic in Regina, Saskatchewan).
WHO HAS THE EDGE?
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) May 25, 2020
Looking at several categories shows there aren’t many glaring weaknesses for both teams, despite the fact they were eighth and ninth in the Western Conference, respectively. The Jets were better in goals per game and goals against, but the special teams show a different story, particularly Calgary’s strong PK versus Winnipeg’s subpar unit.
Calgary Flames/Winnipeg Jets Regular Season NHL Ranks
|36-27-7 (79 pts)||Record||37-28-6 (80 pts)|
Jets Have Edge Between Pipes
In a truncated series, goaltending will be key, even moreso than it usually is in the post-season because of the potential for two fewer games. The Jets do have an edge between the pipes with Connor Hellebuyck (NHL leader with six shutouts) and his .922 save percentage, though Cam Talbot is no slouch either, posting a .919 mark.
Connor Hellebuyck 2019-20 final season stats & overall rankings (minimum 20 GP):
— Spinorama ? Hockey (@spinohockey) May 27, 2020
Hellebuyck kept the Jets in games they at times had no business winning where he played like a Vezina Trophy candidate when the team was lagging behind this season – simply put, without him the team would’ve been in a world of hurt. Can he pick up right where he left off with the stellar play?
Calgary may strangely be 20th in goals, but they do boast the likes of Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm up front so they’ll put tons of pressure on Hellebuyck.
Flames Better in One-Goal Games
The most eye popping stat that goes against the Jets’ advantage in net is both team’s records in one-goal games, something that could rear its ugly head. The Jets were exactly .500 in such contests this year, smack dab in the middle of the league. Calgary, however, was an impressive second with a sterling .613 win percentage in those close situations so they’ve got the slight edge heading into what should be a tightly contested tilt.
Pick: Calgary Flames (-110)
Additional NHL Qualifying Round Coverage:
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