Jets Look To Put Out The Flames in Season Opener (Game 1)

Winnipeg Jets Starter Connor Hellebuyck Make's Glove Save in Warm-up

It’s game day, Jets fans!

The Winnipeg Jets take flight tonight to face the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome in their season opener.

See how your Winnipeg Jets shape up tonight against the Flames.

Previous Game Recap & Statistics

The Jets played their final game back in the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, where the Stanley Cup-winning Vegas Golden Knights eliminated them.

Season Statistics Up Until Now

As of right now, the Jets sit with a season record of 0-0-0 and are unranked in the standings.

Preview of Winnipeg Jets vs Calgary Flames

Tonight’s Projected Lineup

Kyle Connor – Mark Scheifele – Gabriel Vilardi
Nikolaj Ehlers – Cole Perfetti – Nino Niederreiter
Alex Iafallo – Adam Lowry – Mason Appleton
Morgan Barron – Rasmus Kupari – Vladislav Namestnikov
Josh Morrissey – Dylan DeMelo
Brendan Dillon – Neal Pionk
Dylan Samberg – Nate Schmidt
Connor HellebuyckLaurent Brossoit

Lineup Changes From Last Game & AHL Callups

There have been no lineup changes or AHL call-ups ahead of the Jets’ season opener.

Key Things To Look For In Tonight’s Game

I have three players that I want to keep an eye on for the first few games: Dylan Samberg, Cole Perfetti, and Gabriel Vilardi. While I have Perfetti projected as the second-line center, I don’t see him keeping this role for the entire year. I think that Perfetti may rotate the second-line center job with Vilardi for the first few games of the season.

Perfetti is also an interesting case to watch. He’s been injured twice by the Calgary Flames and blatantly cheap-shotted by the team once in the 2023 preseason. With Perfetti being a player that the Flames have blatantly targeted, it will be interesting to see how much he plays in the top six for this season’s opener.

Vilardi is also a candidate to win the second-line center position. I want to watch him closely as I believe he will fight hard for Bowness to grant him the full-time role for the second-line center position. I don’t know how many games it will take, but it will certainly be ten games before Bowness decides. I also am wondering how well Vilardi sticks on the first line. Maybe that will be the reason Perfetti takes the second-line center job. That remains to be seen for now.

Samberg is a unique example of giving your prospects the proper time to develop and bring them in when ready. At the time that the Jets were eliminated, they were desperately in need of a number two defenseman to fill in for when Josh Morrissey was injured. Now, Samberg has shown promise that he could become the number two defensemen called upon when needed. This is an up-and-coming trend in the right direction for the Jets’ defense prospects. Now, they need to let their prospects shine and free up a depth roster spot for the other prospects showing the same promising trends as Dylan Samberg.

Which Winnipeg Jet Is Close To Career Milestones?

There are a few career milestones that Winnipeg Jets players are getting close to. See the list below.

  • Nikolaj Ehlers is four points away from 400 career points. He could achieve this tonight versus Calgary if he records a four-point game.
  • Mark Scheifele is five points away from 650 career points. He could achieve this tonight versus Calgary if he records a five-point game.
  • Rasmus Kupari, Gabriel Vilardi, and Alex Iafallo can record their first points as a Winnipeg Jet if they score a goal or an assist in tonight’s game versus Calgary.
  • Mason Appleton is three assists away from 50 career assists. He could achieve this tonight versus Calgary if he records three assists tonight.
  • Vladislav Namestnikov is four assists away from 150 career assists. He could achieve this tonight versus Calgary if he records four assists tonight.
  • Brendan Dillon is three assists away from 150 career assists. He could achieve this tonight versus Calgary if he records three assists tonight.
  • Dylan DeMelo is one assist away from 100 career assists. He could achieve this tonight versus Calgary if he records one assist tonight.
  • Declan Chisholm can record his first career NHL point if he scores a goal or records an assist in tonight’s game versus Calgary.
  • After the Calgary Flames take two even-strength shots on Connor Hellebuyck, Hellebuyck will have faced 11,000 shots at even strength in the NHL.

Final Thoughts Heading Into Game 1/82

I think the Jets can set a tone for the entire season they showed they had at the beginning of last year. The Winnipeg Jets are not too far removed from their contention years, and they still have some core pieces from those playoff runs. However, as I’ve said multiple times before, the season is a marathon, not a sprint. The Jets need to adopt that mindset now so they don’t run out of steam again ahead of the 2024 leg of the season.

For a short postgame analysis, it will be included in the next pregame article.

The Connor Bedard Tour Begins (20) Jacko Media

Thank you for listening to today's episode of the Jacko Media podcast presented by the Inside The Rink Podcast Network!In this episode, host Conrad Jack talks about:- How about those Jets? (2:29)- The NHL goes down under for the Global Series. (15:00)- Atlantic division standing predictions. (18:18)- Metropolitan division standing predictions. (26:14)- Central division standing predictions. (31:01)- Pacific division standing predictions. (34:58)- Season predictions. (36:40)- Various news pieces. (47:43)This episode includes music from The Janzen Boys and their song called "One For The Road." Show them support on streaming any available streaming platforms.If you want to submit a question to the show, you can follow me on X/Twitter and reply to a post.
  1. The Connor Bedard Tour Begins (20)
  2. The NHL Has International Competition Return Plans (19)
  3. The Leafs New Identity & Lack Of Teeth (18)
  4. Rempart My Heart (17)
  5. Coun-Treliving (16)

Conrad Jack

Conrad Jack is a lifelong hockey fan who is now actively writing for Inside The Rink covering primarily the Winnipeg Jets and the entire NHL second. He also covers the latest NHL News & Rumors, the NHL Entry Draft, and so much more for Inside The Rink.

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