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Flames host Jets, go for five in a row

by John Kreiser

JETS (36-35-10) at FLAMES (35-38-7)


Last 10: Winnipeg 4-5-1; Calgary 7-3-0

Season series: The Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets are playing for the third and final time. The Jets beat the Flames 5-2 in their previous visit to Scotiabank Saddledome on Jan. 16 after Calgary won 5-4 in a shootout at Winnipeg on Nov. 18.

Big story: The Jets become the first team to complete its season and will try to end on a positive note with back-to-back victories. But it won't be easy; the Flames have been among the NHL's best since the break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics and want to give their fans something to enjoy by winning their final home game. Calgary has won four straight.

Team Scope:


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Jets: The Jets gave their fans a nice summer sendoff by beating the Boston Bruins 2-1 in a shootout Thursday. Evander Kane forced overtime by scoring with less than two minutes remaining in the third, and rookie goaltender Michael Hutchinson earned his first NHL victory by beating the team that drafted him. Hutchinson stopped all three Boston shooters in the tiebreaker after making 32 saves through 65 minutes.

"The players played as hard as they could to give him a chance to be great and win, and that's what happened," coach Paul Maurice said. "He was great, we win."

Hutchinson has played twice this week, but will be heading to the Jets' farm team, the St. John's IceCaps, for the American Hockey League playoffs. He was thrilled to beat the team that had drafted him; doing it with his parents in the MTS Centre crowd was a bonus.

"Getting your first game is definitely something special, but your first win kind of trumps that a little bit," Hutchinson said. "With it being against Boston, the team that kind of gave up on me, it just makes it even more sweet."

Flames: The playoffs haven't been a realistic possibility in Calgary for most of the season, but strong performances by rookie center Sean Monahan and goaltender Karri Ramo have given Flames fans something to look forward to next season.

At age 19, Monahan is the 10th rookie in Flames history to score 20 goals. He scored his 21st on Wednesday night in a 4-3 shootout win against the Los Angeles Kings, making him the first Calgary rookie to score that many since Jarome Iginla in 1996-97. He also had his fourth game-deciding goal in the shootout win against L.A.

"It's going to be a big summer," he told the Flames website Thursday. "I'm going to come back quicker, more physical and better in the faceoff circle. It's going to help my all-around game next year."

Ramo has won six of nine starts since returning from a knee injury last month, giving him the inside track on the starting job next season.

"I think that he has positioned himself very well for the No.1 job next year," coach Bob Hartley said. "He is not the normal goalie; there is no pressure [on him]."

Who's hot: Hutchinson has allowed one goal in each of his two starts. … Ramo is 3-0-0 in his past three starts, stopping 103 of 107 shots.

Injury report: Jets forwards Dustin Byfuglien (muscle tear),Mark Scheifele (sprained MCL),Chris Thorburn (foot) andJames Wright (ankle), defensemenZach Bogosian (upper body),Grant Clitsome (back) andKeaton Ellerby (lower body) and goaltenderAl Montoya (lower body) are out. ForwardAndrew Ladd (elbow) didn't play Thursday. … The Flames are without defensemenLadislav Smid (upper body),Tyler Wotherspoon (shoulder) andDennis Wideman (upper body) and forwardsDavid Jones (shoulder), Mikael Backlund (upper body) and Markus Granlund (upper body). Hartley said Backlund is the only one who might play either Friday or Saturday.

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