National Hockey League
Flames-Jets Preview
National Hockey League

Flames-Jets Preview

Published Oct. 15, 2015 10:40 p.m. ET

The high-scoring Winnipeg Jets look like they've learned from last year's slow start, completing an impressive road trip to open this season.

The Calgary Flames will be looking to generate more opportunities when they come to town Friday night.

Winnipeg (3-1-0) has scored 15 goals, with Blake Wheeler totaling two goals and three assists, while Mark Scheifele has found the back of the net three times.

The Jets don't look like the team that scored only 13 times during a 2-5-0 start in 2014-15, especially considering they've enjoyed this success on the road and now return for a season high-tying six-game homestand. The loss was 4-2 on Monday against the Islanders.


"We obviously didn't play the way we wanted to against the Islanders but I think a lot of guys learned a lot of things on this road trip about ourselves," said Scheifele, who scored three times in his first 29 contests last season. "I think we just have to continue with that growing process."

Bryan Little scored on the penalty kill and power play in Tuesday's 4-1 win against the Rangers, one of two power-play goals in five chances, improving the Jets to 4 for 12 on the season.

Winnipeg was mediocre on the advantage last year, scoring on 17.8 percent of opportunities.

"Special teams is a big part of the game now," said Little, whose nine power-play goals tied Andrew Ladd for the club lead. "We really focus on that in practice and it's nice when it comes together."

Calgary (1-2-0) could be vulnerable after giving up 11 thus far. The Flames recorded 38 shots in their 3-2 victory at Vancouver on Saturday, but have combined for 48 in the other two, including 18 in Tuesday's 4-3 loss to St. Louis.

That was a problem last season, too, when their 27.5 shots per game were the league's third-fewest.

They led 2-1 after the first period but were outscored 3-0 in the second.

"We started how we wanted, got off to a good start, but I think we had three shots in the second so you're not going to get a lot of wins with only three shots, so that was disappointing," said Mason Raymond, who scored his first goal of the season.

The Jets have been conceding too many shots, allowing 34.3 per game compared to 28.7 last season. They recorded only 29 of their own against the Rangers, but got 40 saves from Michael Hutchinson a night after Ondrej Pavelec made 40 stops against the Islanders.

As impressive as Winnipeg's goaltending has been, it also appears to be unsustainable. Montreal's .926 save percentage led the league last season, while the Jets currently own a .942 mark, which would blow away the Jets/Thrashers franchise record of .913 set in 2014-15.

Pavelec figures to get the nod Friday, looking to improve upon his 1-3-0 record and 3.55 goals-against average in four starts against the Flames.

Karri Ramo, who made 39 stops in the 5-1 season-opening loss to Vancouver, is scheduled to be in net for Calgary.

Wheeler has four goals and six assists in eight career meetings with the Flames, who have won six of the last nine matchups.

The Jets are the NHL's final team to play their first home game. They were 14-4-2 over their final 20 there last season, but have lost three of their last four home openers.


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