Four things the Flames learned from the Jets’ win over the Canucks


The Calgary Flames didn’t need Connor Hellebuyck making 37 saves Wednesday night to know they’ll be having a rough start on Saturday.

But seeing the 27-year-old finalist Vezina flaunt his mid-season form in his first comeback has certainly heightened the height of the task the Flames face.

Six feet, four inches tall, to be exact.

It has been well documented that Hellebuyck represents the biggest obstacle between the Flames in being able to redeem themselves after the fall of the playoffs last year.

Efficient, calm and positioned on point, Hellebuyck has won more games than any other NHL goalie except Andrei Vasilevskiy in the past three years.

Even with a rebuilt blue line in front of him, he’s managed to shine this season – and again on Wednesday in a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks – causing what will inevitably be one of the most important clashes in series.

Hellebuyck vs. Tkachuk

No, not Hellebuyck against the one going to Calgary.

Hellebuyck vs. Tkachuk, as in Matthew.

That sounds good.

We’ll probably see soon after the puck drops if the former is as furious with the latter as all the keepers in the Pacific Division.

“I’m sure it frustrates goalkeepers to have it in their face,” smiled Tkachuk’s teammate Mikael Backlund.

“If he can get a bit of frustration on Hellebuyck’s mind, that will help us for sure.

Hellebuyck has certainly shown in the past that he can show signs of frustration when pushed around regularly.

Consider the fold disruption mandatory if the Flames are to succeed, which means you can expect plenty of scrum after the whistle blows, not to mention the referee’s aural instructions for Tkachuk (and Milan Lucic) to “stay away.” the paint gap ”.

A final note on Hellebuyck – his ability to keep Jets in games includes creating a lot of offense from his constant supply of saves. The Jets have led the league in even-matched goals out of the run, which is a stat the Flames are on the wrong side of dropping more even-matched goals than anyone else.

Big saves on the Jets side can quickly end up in the opposing net.

A few other observations of the Jets’ victory over the Canucks in terms of what the Flames may have learned:

Pressure on the jets imperative

It didn’t take long for newcomer Neal Pionk to demonstrate why the Flames are touted as having a much better blue line.

Pionk gave the puck several times against the Canucks while trying to get out of his zone, highlighting a trend throughout the night that saw some very questionable puck management among the Jets.

It’s the kind of scenario in which stubborn avant-garde forwards like Andrew Mangiapane and Sam Bennett could flourish, creating chaos and plenty of opportunity for themselves and line mates after the Winnipeg mistakes.

Of course, that was the first game in over four months for the Jets, so we’re going to cut them off a bit.

You don’t need fancy stats to demonstrate the top six at the back… but we’ll remind everyone that the Jets finished last in the NHL this season on defenseman attack.

They can be exploited.

High level battle

Many believe this series will come down to which top line can be the most successful.

That’s a scary proposition for the Flames given the recent history of both teams’ performance in the playoffs.

Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan hope to bounce back from back-to-back playoff no-shows, while Mark Scheifele is just two years away from one of the most prolific playoffs in recent NHL history with 14 goals in 17 games. It included a record 11 road goals in the NHL.

In total, the 27-year-old star has 26 points in 27 playoff games.

Scheifele, Wheeler and Kyle Connor appeared stable against the Canucks and will be receiving healthy feeds from Tkachuk, Mangiapane and Backlund, in an effort to disrupt and limit the size stars.

Gaudreau, Monahan and Elias Lindholm – the only scorer in the Flames’ 4-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday – are expected to see plenty of Andrew Copp, Adam Lowry and the super talented Jack Roslovic.

Giant jets no more

These aren’t the same big, beefy Jets that made it to the conference finals two years ago, or gave the St. Louis Blues a good six-game battle last year.

Losing blues Dustin Byfuglien, Jacob Trouba and Tyler Myers last summer turned the Jets into a hybrid team of skill, speed and size – just like the Flames.

Don’t expect the Jets to bowling to the Flames like they would in the past.

The third liner Lowry is the Jets’ response to Lucic in a much more even physical battle than most Flames fans probably think.

Considering how hot the Flames have experienced in recent years for their lack of physique, there’s a good chance they can beat the Jets every night.


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