2020 NHL Playoffs – Qualifying Round – CGY vs. WPG

Updated: July 31, 2020 at 8:42 pm by Brock Seguin

The Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets will face-off in the only all-Canadian matchup of the Qualifying Round.

After a 12-12-4 start to the season and some ugly news regarding head coach Bill Peters, the Flames parted ways and hired Geoff Ward, who guided them to a 24-15-3 record. Calgary was the ninth-best team in the NHL after hiring Ward, ranking 10th in goals for (3.26) and 20th in goals against (3.07).

Winnipeg had a new-look in 2020 and struggled at times but was carried by Vezina Trophy finalist Connor Hellebuyck, who was seventh in SV% (.922) and 14th in GAA (2.57).

The Flames and Jets season series was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They only played once, in the Heritage Classic, a 2-1 Jets overtime win.


Record

36-27-7 (18th)

37-28-6 (20th)

GF/PG

2.91 (20th)

3.00 (17th)

GA/PG

3.06 (t-16th)

2.83 (10th)

5v5 SV%

.919 (15th)

.924 (9th)

PP%

21.2% (12th)

20.5% (15th)

PK%

82.1% (t-8th)

77.6% (22nd)

CF%

50.25 (15th)

48.55 (21st)

Avg. Age

27.4 (12th)

26.9 (9th Youngest)

Playoff Experience

323 (Fewest)

515 (9th Fewest)

5v5

Projected Lineups

Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm

Tkachuk – Backlund – Mangiapane

Lucic – Ryan – Dube

Bennett – Jankowski – Rieder

Giordano – Brodie

Hanifin – Andersson

Forbort – Gustafsson

Connor – Scheifele – Wheeler

Ehlers – Eakin – Laine

Copp – Lowry – Roslovic

Appleton – Shore – Perreault

Morrissey – DeMelo

Kulikov – Pionk

Beaulieu – Poolman

On the surface, this looks like it could be an even matchup but when you dive deeper the Flames should fun all over the Jets at even-strength.

Calgary was among the top-10 when it came to generating offence at 5v5. They were ninth in ScoringChancesFor and 13th in ExpectedGoalsFor but struggled a little more on the defensive side (15th in xGA and 21st in SCA). A borderline top-10 offence should have no issues against a Jets team that was third-worst in xGA and gave up the eighth-most ScoringChancesAgainst.

Offensively, the Jets weren’t much better. They were 30th in xGF and produced the fourth-fewest ScoringChancesFor and second-fewest High-Danger Chances. I know it’s a lot of numbers but the Jets were an absolute disaster at 5v5.

Advantage: Calgary

Special Teams

Projected PP Units

PP1: Tkachuk – Monahan – Gaudreau

Lindholm – Gustafsson

PP2: Lucic – Backlund – Mangiapane

Dube – Giordano

PP1: Connor – Scheifele – Wheeler

Laine – Pionk

PP2: Copp – Eakin – Perreault

Roslovic – Morrissey

There could be very few penalties in this series with both teams ranking in the bottom-10 of times shorthanded in the regular season. Regardless, things don’t get much prettier for the Jets when it comes to special teams. The Flames had better percentages during the season and the underlying numbers support it.

Winnipeg’s top power-play unit is loaded with talent and they were among the top-10 in xGF on the PP. They should be able to find continued success in the postseason, with Calgary giving up the fourth-most scoring chances and ranking 21st in xGA on the PK.

While the Jets could find some success on PP, they’re going to have an equally difficult time slowing down the Flames on the man advantage. Calgary’s power-play is average but the Jets gave up the eighth-most Scoring Chances and seventh-most high-danger chances.

In short, both team’s penalty kills are awful and will help make some average PPs look a lot better than they actually are.

Advantage: Even

Goaltending

The Flames have yet to name a starting goalie for Game 1. They relied more heavily on David Rittich throughout the season but Cam Talbot posted better numbers. Rittich was 24-17-6 (48 starts) while tying for 33rd in SV% (.907) and 40th in GAA (2.97). Talbot was tied for 12th in SV% (.919) and tied for 17th in GAA (2.63). Regardless of who gets the nod, they are going to have a tough time standing up against Hellebuyck, who was third in GoalsSavedAboveAverage (14.33), trialling just Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin.

Advantage: Winnipeg

Prediction: Calgary in 5

This is an unpredictable series. The Flames should destroy the Jets at even-strength but a great goaltender can be the ultimate elixir and that’s what the Jets have in Hellebuyck. He should be able to steal at least a came or two but the Flames’ puck possession dominance could be too much to overcome.



Calgary Flames, Fantasy Hockey, NHL, NHL Playoffs, Winnipeg Jets