Preview: Flames vs. Jets
JETS (32-28-8) at FLAMES (30-25-12)
TV: TSN-JETS, SNET-West (HD)
LAST 10: Winnipeg 6-2-2; Calgary 3-3-4
Season Series: This is the only meeting of the season between the two teams. In their only meeting in 2010-11, Calgary beat the then-Atlanta Thrashers 4-2.
Big Story: Two teams on the edge of the playoffs in their respective conferences will face off Friday at Scotiabank Saddledome. Winnipeg - even on points with eighth-place Washington but with one more game played - will look to rebound from a 3-2 loss in Vancouver on Thursday, while Calgary will look to reduce its three-point gap from eighth-place San Jose in the West.
Jets : Winnipeg kicked off March with two wins - including a 7-0 dismantling of Southeast Division-leading Florida - but began a difficult two-game swing in Western Canada with a 3-2 loss in Rogers Arena on Thursday. The Jets twice held one-goal leads on strikes from Kyle Wellwood and Blake Wheeler. With the game 2-2 late in the third period, it looked like the Jets would at least get a well-deserved point. That is, until Samuel Pahlsson blasted a high shot past Ondrej Pavelec with less than six minutes to play. Ondrej Pavelec made 42 saves -- many of them spectacular - but failed to earn his third straight win.
"We didn't deserve to … win the game," coach Claude Noel said. "You can't play a B-game against Vancouver; they are too good, too skilled. They could have beat us way more than they beat us tonight, and having said that we had a chance to win it. Our goalie was good and gave us a chance, which he does all the time."
Flames: Calgary came into Tuesday's matchup with Montreal desperate to keep pace in the Western playoff race, having won only once in the previous seven games. Against the Eastern Conference's worst team, the Flames got hot early and often, scoring four goals in the first 40 minutes and weathering a late Habs surge for a 5-4 win. Captain Jarome Iginla scored twice, and Curtis Glencross had a goal and two assists.
"Sometimes when it goes like that you just need to get that one to get over that hump," Iginla said. "It's not pretty but it's still a very important win for us and breaks a bad streak at home and something to build on."
Who's Hot : Wheeler has a goal in three straight games. … Glencross has goals in five straight.
Injury Report: Winnipeg's Zach Bogosian (wrist) will miss a week. … For Calgary, Blake Comeau (shoulder), Lance Bouma (upper body) and Tim Jackman (upper body) are all doubtful for Friday, while Mike Cammalleri (upper body) is questionable. Chris Butler (lacerated left thigh), Mikael Backlund (left arm), Blair Jones (broken left ankle) and Lee Stempniak (high ankle sprain) are all on injured reserve.
Stat Pack: Winnipeg left the friendly confines of MTS Centre - where they were coming off a 5-1-2 homestand - to head West. They continued their rough road play, falling to 11-18-4 away from home. They may fare better in Alberta, however, since the Flames have gone 1-2-3 over their past six at home.
Puck Drop: Wheeler was disappointed with his team's ability to finish on the road.
"You could say it was a one-goal game and we had a chance to win it and that's awesome. But there's a certain way that we play that makes us a good team - tonight wasn't that," Wheeler said. "We can skate way better, make teams defend harder. We don't really do that as much on the road. That's the big elephant in the room. At home we're flying around, the crowd's roaring, we're scoring goals. On the road we don't do the same things. The biggest thing to take out of tonight is we weren't doing what we've been doing the last eight games and it showed."