Well folks, it's been a long, heart-attack-inducing ride. And it all ends today. What a day it is, with all 30 NHL teams playing their last games to end this crazy season.
The fun part about not relying on a win is that the fans get a chance to see a bunch of call-ups play, while the main workhorses get a well-deserved rest.
Finally - the debut of Sam Bennett!
What a debut. Just 33 second into the game, Bennett had a wraparound chance that turned into a great goal for the budding Michael Ferland to put the Flames up early.
The lead didn't last long, 15 seconds to be precise, as Drew Stafford potted one that Joni Ortio probably should have had. Maybe Ortio picked up Jonas Hiller's bad habit.
Calgary's first penalty in over three games went to Brett Kulak for hooking. It wasn't a huge powerplay or penalty kill for either team, with Dustin Byfuglien swatting the puck out of mid-air to keep it in providing the most entertainment. Watching Ortio on this, he looked to be tracking the puck pretty well.
After the excitement of the first minute, the rest of the period was more settled, ending in over seven minutes without a whistle. On the plus side, fans got a chance to figure out who is who out there.
After one, the game was tied 1-1. Shots were in favour of the Jets, 10-8, but the Flames leading 15-14 in Corsi.
The Jets got another powerplay chance as David Schlemko's stick caught Stafford's face four minutes in. Until the powerplay, the Jets had not had a shot attempt, let alone a shot on net in EIGHT minutes. Aside from the one save Ortio had to make, the PK looked good on this one.
There was a moment of panic when Mikael Backlund went off on a shot block in obvious pain. Thankfully he wasn't badly hurt and resumed play.
never scare me like that ever again mikael— ari (@thirtyfourseven) April 11, 2015
A lot of good chances to be seen by the rookies, who were really trying to prove themselves as potential NHLers. Bennett was showing especially well, as he was fighting for pucks along the boards and driving to the net. He had a chance off of Kulak's rebound but shot it wide.
Making up for the three games without a penalty, Josh Jooris would pick up an interference to make it three in the game. This powerplay looked a lot better for Winnipeg, who were able to sustain pressure for most of the two minutes. Tyler Wotherspoon had a good shift on the PK, as he was even able to get control and clear the puck.
That's it for the second period. Two penalties but the score stayed tied at 1. Calgary led 8-5 in shots and 13-9 in Corsi even with the four minutes spent shorthanded.
Well, at least the Flames dominated the first two periods. But this is what happens when you dress a line up made up of 12 (!) AHL call ups against an NHL team.
The go-ahead goal was a beauty, with Mark Scheifele and Michael Frolik capitalizing on a 2-on-1 with Corey Potter.
And another penalty for Schlemko. The PK looked good but only had to do so for less than a minute before Toby Enstrom caught Markus Granlund trying to streak up the boards.
Welcome to the Flames territory, 4-on-4. Granlund continued a good game as he hustled and broke up a possible 3-on-1 chance for the Jets. Joe Colborne made a great play, carrying the puck up through the neutral zone and getting a wraparound chance but resulted in nothing.
Old friend, Lee Stempniak buried a wrist shot on a turnover. Andrew Copp collected his first NHL point in his debut with the assist.
Ortio played the puck behind the net, trying to get it to Kulak, who couldn't contain the pass. Adam Lowry took the opportunity and shot it five-hole.
With just over one minute left in the game, Matt Halischuk tipped a shot right through Ortio's foot on the short side to really finish off the Adirondack Flames.
Byfuglien would go off for slashing Ferland with 21 seconds left in the game, though it was too little too late.
The Jets won this one 5-1, even though the Flames lead 25-22 in shots and 45-40 in Corsi.
- Just a reminder that the Flames dressed 12 call ups (including guys like Jooris). Today's game was basically played by the Adirondack Flames.
- Also, this was Joni Ortio's first game since February 21st. He's just coming off a high ankle sprain. Let's not chastise him either.
- Through the game, there were many great plays in the making that just didn't connect and finish. It was just a bunch of players that got thrown together with very little time to get used to playing with eachother. But it was a promising look at the future.
Flames of the Game
Not wanting to choose just one, let's give props to a few of the guys today.
- Michael Ferland had himself yet another great game. Have to respect the kid with his story and the growth we've seen in him through the season. He's seriously gunning to be in the NHL next year.
To build off what Torie said, Ferland also had at ES: 3 scoring chances 5 iCF events (Corsi For) https://t.co/oyY6PyQlsT— Mike FAIL (@mikeFAIL) April 11, 2015
- Tyler Wotherspoon played over 20 minutes, and over half of that time was spent against the Jets' top dog, Dustin Byfuglien. Aside from his main partner, Deryk Engelland, TSpoon had the second most time on the PK, playing over four minutes shorthanded and looking great in those minutes. A glimpse at the stats shows us he was almost even in CF% despite starting most of his shifts in the defensive zone. This all makes for a great showing in his first game in four recalls.
- Finally, Sam Bennett. He collected his first NHL point just 33 seconds into the game and probably could have had a goal if the Jets weren't all over him. He played centre in the first period and was also able to step out and play wing for the rest of the game. For a smaller, younger player, he was sure fighting for the pucks against the boards and he wasn't scared to drive to the net. He's also great with the puck and stick-handling, throwing in some 'dipsy-doodles' himself.
This all makes for a very promising future. Lest we forget that the Flames are in the second year of their rebuild. Also:
not having home ice just means better draft pick so this is fine— ari (@thirtyfourseven) April 11, 2015
Smile and get ready for Wednesday.