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Jets, Flames Look To Capitalize In Order Move One Step Closer To Playoff Spot

Posted by Don Melrose on 1/30/2015 8:21:13 PM

The Western Conference playoff picture is an intriguing one with just over two months left to play in the regular season as there are four teams currently on the outside looking in at five points or less back of the eighth and final postseason position. The Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames are currently holding down the two Wild Card spots and it’s no surprise that both teams are among the best NHL bets to win for this Saturday night. Here is a quick look at three Western Conference clashes and where they smart money will be.

Dallas Stars @ Winnipeg Jets

Saturday, 7:00 PM ET

After being heavily criticized over the past couple of years for the way they developed the roster internally it seems as though the Jets are finally reaching their potential and General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff’s team is on pace for a return to the playoffs. Winnipeg is still in contention for a top-three spot in the Central division and they have a chance to clinch an important two points against one of the team’s that is chasing them for a Wild Card spot this weekend. Dallas is nine points back but with two games in hand and Saturday’s game could represent a four-point swing either way. The Stars have been a very inconsistent team all year and after earning an important win over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday they will be in tough to make it consecutive victories on the road against a much more complete team in Winnipeg.

Pick: Winnipeg

Edmonton Oilers @ Calgary Flames

Saturday, 10:00 PM ET

Calgary is still five points back of the Jets and much more susceptible to being caught by the Stars, Avalanche, Wild, or perhaps most likely the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings which are right there with them in the Pacific division. Los Angeles plays Boston earlier in the day and a win would temporarily move them past the Flames by a single point. Calgary should be able to respond against an Oilers team that has actually played pretty well of late with a .500 record over its last 10 games. The Flames are the better team though and certainly can’t afford to lose to the worst team in the NHL at home while in the thick of a playoff race.

Pick: Calgary

Chicago Blackhawks @ San Jose Sharks

Saturday, 10:30 PM ET

The Sharks aren’t likely to catch Anaheim for top spot in the Pacific division even though they hammered them for a 6-3 win on Thursday night. The more likely scenario has them fending off the other teams below them in the Pacific division in order to get back to the postseason and try to finally get it done when it counts the most. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks would like to make up some ground in the Central division as they continue to chase both Nashville and St. Louis. San Jose has been very inconsistent all year and that could make Chicago the smart play in this spot.

Pick: Chicago

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