Home sport Airplanes know the stakes are high in a major confrontation against flames

Airplanes know the stakes are high in a major confrontation against flames

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Apr 5, 2023 9:29 AM

WINNIPEG – Rick Bowness had no intention of staying up late writing a pregame speech.

Of course, the Winnipeg Jets head coach had his eyes on an opponent on Wednesday as part of his usual preparations, but given the stakes, there was no need for the midnight oil burn on Tuesday. He ponders how to address his team during a pivotal meeting with the Calgary Fire. .

This message was already conveyed to the players and members of the media during the daily Q&A session.

“(Wednesday) is probably going to be like Game 7 for both teams,” Bowness said after putting his team to the test Tuesday afternoon. “I think this is the importance of the match for both teams.”

The schedule says it’s a 78 game for the Jets and a 79 game for the Flames, so technically the conditions aren’t as challenging as they would be in a real win-or-go-home scenario during the Stanley Cup playoffs.

But thanks to a 4-3 loss at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night, it’s going to look like Game 7 for the Flames, who go into the game Wednesday three points behind the Jets with four games remaining. He plays.

(Technically, the Flames are only two points behind, but the Jets hold the tiebreaker and also have a game in hand on Wednesday’s final game.)

“Obviously, I’m sure the NHL is very happy with how they line up, on the schedule. Two Canadian teams obviously raise the stakes a little bit. We know it’s a huge game. A big game for the playoffs picture, but we know it’s not Last game of the year so we have to worry about (Wednesday) and then we have other games to play.

“There’s nowhere you’d rather be on a Wednesday night, so we’re looking forward to that.”

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This would be the third straight game the Jets had a clear scheduling advantage, against an opponent who played the night before and had to travel.

In the first two games of this five-game home run, the Jets pounced on their opponents and put them behind the eight-ball.

The Jets will look for recent history to repeat itself against the Flames, though a third offense with six straight goals seems somewhat unlikely in this case.

“The players know. They know the importance of the game,” Bowness said. “They understand where we are. We talked (Tuesday) morning about the importance of picking up where we started and being aggressive. We will have an aggressive mentality (Wed). This is how we succeeded in the last two games and we will not change. »

The Flames aren’t the only team the Jets are paying attention to on the out-of-town scoreboard.

While an eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference looks like the most likely route to the playoffs for Winnipeg, they haven’t given up hope of catching the Seattle Kraken for their first spot.

But the Kraken extended their lead in the standings to five points with five matches remaining for both teams.

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Meanwhile, the Nashville Predators kept their slim playoff hopes alive with an overtime win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday, leaving them three points behind the Jets – with a one-on-one meeting Saturday night in Winnipeg.

Back to the current game, even though the Jets didn’t necessarily want to make a bold announcement, this third and final game of the regular season against the Flames presents a great opportunity for Winnipeg to make a knockout fist.

“(Wednesday) is as close to winning as you will get in the regular season. It’s a huge game,” Jets quarterback Adam Lowry asked him what the weekend’s winning streak did to his team’s mentality going into his last five games.

“Maybe some weight has been taken off our shoulders. It feels like some pucks are going where we thought they would go earlier. There is always pressure.

One of the biggest developments of the Jets’ weekend, in addition to an equally solid 11 goals, was the fact that those signs were spread so well across all four lines–which is crucial at a time like this.

“We’re kind of starting to find our rhythm again. It took a long time to find that little braggart. All four lines are really rolling,” Lowry said. “Our fullback is playing very well. Conor Hellbwick was pretty solid there. It’s nice to see contributions above and below the range. This will be important later.

“In these close matches, if you can get secondary goals (and) you can get players in the back, that loses a lot of weight on the top six players, and that’s usually the difference in the game.”

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Hellebuyck is expected to make his 61st league-leading start of the season.

The Jets plan to make a roster change, including winger Saku Määnalänen in place of Carson Coleman on the fourth line.

Maenalanen brings extra bulk against a heavier team like the Flames, but Bowness has made it clear that the move has more to do with his penalty kick turn than anything else.

Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey relishes the challenge that comes with facing the two teams he’s chasing in the standings, and takes a moment to remember what it was like to be essentially out of the series this past season.

“I mean, everyone handles the big games differently, but on a personal level it’s fun. It’s fun to play meaningful games this time of year,” Morrissey said.

“A year ago we were kind of counting down the days until the end of the season, so even if you want to have that protection in the playoffs and you have those games don’t mean much, those are the big games. It’s definitely an exciting time as a player. I feel we have that energy. In the dressing room now with the way we play and the kind of magic as a team that I think we’ve had for a lot of the season.So it’s an interesting time of year to play important games.”

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