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Flames will face Jets in play-in series as part of NHL’s planned restart

Winnipeg Jets' Dmitry Kulikov and Calgary Flames' Travis Hamonic fight for the puck during the NHL Heritage Classic at Mosaic Stadium in Regina on Oct. 26, 2019. Troy Fleece/Postmedia Network
Winnipeg Jets' Dmitry Kulikov and Calgary Flames' Travis Hamonic fight for the puck during the NHL Heritage Classic at Mosaic Stadium in Regina on Oct. 26, 2019. Troy Fleece/Postmedia Network

Earlier this season, they took it outside.

Whenever they’re allowed back inside, the Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets will meet again.

As part of Tuesday’s return-to-play announcement, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed that the Flames and Jets will face off in a best-of-five play-in series, with the winner advancing to the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Flames, seeded eighth in the Western Conference thanks to a .564 points percentage (36-27-7), would hold home-ice advantage against the ninth-ranked Jets (37-28-6, .563 percentage), although they’ll be clashing in an empty arena in a hub city. Under the 24-team format, the top four squads in each conference will compete in a round-robin for opening-round seeding.

Bettman revealed that training camps won’t begin any sooner than early July, so fans will still be waiting close to two months before there is any live hockey on their flat screens. The exact timeline will depend on COVID-19 conditions.

“Let me assure you that the reason we are doing this is because our fans have told us in overwhelming numbers that they want to complete the season, if at all possible,” Bettman said Tuesday. “And our players and our teams are clear that they want to play and bring the season to its rightful conclusion.”

The Flames and Jets hooked up just once this season and that was way back in October at Mosaic Stadium in Regina for the 2019 Heritage Classic. The Winnipeggers won the outdoor game 2-1 in overtime, with Bryan Little scoring the winner.

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020

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