3 Keys: Jets vs. Flames, Game 2 of Cup Qualifiers

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No. 9 Jets vs. No. 8 Flames

2:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, NHL.TV, SN

Calgary leads best-of-5 series, 1-0

The Winnipeg Jets could be without center Mark Scheifele and right wing Patrik Laine against the Calgary Flames in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Monday.

Scheifele sustained a lower-body injury 5:39 into Game 1, a 4-1 loss on Saturday, when he attempted to avoid a hit by Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk. Laine left at 5:44 of the third period with an apparent upper-body injury after an exchange with Calgary defenseman Mark Giordano.

“So that’s our challenge today,” Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said Sunday. “But [we’ve been] getting up off the mat with some work to do seemingly every week, and we’ll get it put to the test now.”

There hasn’t been a best-of-5 series in the NHL since 1986. The League used them for the preliminary round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs from 1980-86, and the team that won Game 1 went on to win the series 87.5 percent of the time (49 of 56).

Here are 3 Keys to Game 2:

 

1. Center of attention

Scheifele, Winnipeg’s top center, tied Kyle Connor for the Jets lead in points (73) and led them in assists (44) and power-play goals (10) this season. His potential loss is compounded by the absence of center Bryan Little, who is unfit to play.

“It’s a huge loss,” forward Adam Lowry said. “He’s a huge driver for us up front. He does it all. He plays big minutes, he scores big goals, he handles the puck and usually plays against the other team’s best. It’s definitely a big hole to fill up the middle.”

 

2. Maintaining momentum

In the 2019 playoffs, the Flames took a 1-0 series lead in the Western Conference First Round against the Colorado Avalanche before losing in five games. That memory hasn’t escaped them.

“We have to learn from that,” Giordano said. “That was a good learning point for us from that last series. I thought the guys have a lot of energy but are extremely focused, whereas last year maybe we were a little bit too loose going into Game 2. We’ll be ready to play [Monday].”

 

3. Special on special teams

Calgary scored three straight special-teams goals, two on the power play and one shorthanded, in Game 1, all coming consecutively after falling behind 1-0. Winnipeg was 0-for-7 on the power play. Special teams will be a focal point for each team entering Game 2.

“I think the main takeaway from [Saturday] night is we know we expect to be a lot better,” Lowry said. “It seemed like it was a pretty even game 5-on-5, and our special teams, power play and penalty kill, weren’t terrific, and that’s the difference in the game. That being said, we look at the way we played and we look at the way we think we can play. We know and we expect to be a lot better in Game 2.”

 

Jets projected lineup

Kyle Connor — Blake WheelerNikolaj Ehlers

Mathieu PerreaultCody EakinJack Roslovic

Andrew Copp — Adam Lowry — Mason Appleton

Jansen HarkinsNicholas ShoreGabriel Bourque

Josh MorrisseyDylan DeMelo

Dmitry KulikovNeal Pionk

Nathan BeaulieuTucker Poolman

Connor Hellebuyck

Laurent Brossoit

Scratched: David Gustafsson, Mark Letestu, Logan Shaw, Anthony Bitetto, Carl Dahlstrom, Sami Niku, Luca Sbisa, Mikhail Berdin, Eric Comrie

Unfit to play: Bryan Little, Mark Scheifele, Patrik Laine

 

Flames projected lineup

Johnny GaudreauSean MonahanElias Lindholm

Andrew MangiapaneMikael Backlund — Matthew Tkachuk

Milan LucicSam BennettDillon Dube

Zac RinaldoDerek RyanTobias Rieder

Mark Giordano — TJ Brodie

Noah HanifinRasmus Andersson

Derek ForbortErik Gustafsson

Cam Talbot

David Rittich

Scratched: Austin Czarnik, Byron Froese, Mark Jankowski, Alan Quine, Buddy Robinson, Oliver Kylington, Michael Stone, Juuso Valimaki, Alexander Yelesin, Jon Gillies, Artyom Zagidulin

Unfit to play: None

 

Status report

Scheifele, Laine and Appleton did not practice Sunday.

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