Scott Kosmachuk had a goal and two assists while Ondrej Pavelec stopped all 31 shots that came his way, as the Winnipeg Jets defeated the Calgary Flames 4-0. While the Flames outplayed the Jets throughout the course of the game, the Jets scored on 4 of their first 7 shots, with Chad Johnson’s first start in Calgary not going to plan, allowing 3 goals on 6 shots.
The Jets opened the scoring a few minutes into the game with Scott Kosmachuk taking a nice pass from Chase De Leo and burying it past Chad Johnson. The first period was very quiet, with not much action of consequence until Ben Chiarot of the Jets scored a goal after an unfortunate cascade of bounces in and around the Flames’ net. It was 2-0 Jets after 1, with the shot total being only 5-3, in favour of the Flames.
The Flames had 3 powerplays in quick succession early in the second period, moving the puck very well and creating many quality chances, but were unable to convert. The best chance was when Mikael Backlund, in return from the World Cup and his concussion, fired a shot that went off the post.
After failing to score on the powerplays, Mark Stuart scored with a nice shot off a Jets rush to make it 3-0. Chad Johnson ended up leaving the game with 3 goals on 6 shots, a terrible stat line although you can barely fault him for any of the goals. In came Jon Gillies, who promptly allowed a powerplay goal to former Calgary Hitmen defender, Paul Postma, on his first shot faced. That would make it 4 goals on 7 shots between the 2 goalies, a feat that brought back memories of a season not too long ago. However, Gillies settled in after that and had a very strong game.
Before the period was up, Garnet Hathaway threw some heavy punches in a scrap with J.C. Lipon. Shortly after, Jets grit/leadership/4-goals-maybe-a-season forward Chris Thorburn went knee-on-knee with T.J. Brodie, never a sight you want to see but fortunately Brodie was okay. Brandon Bollig later responded with some grit of his own against Thorburn with a fight, throwing a lot of big punches and then giving Thorburn a friendly pat on the helmet after. 4-0 Jets after 2, shots 17-16 Flames.
The third period was fairly sleepy with the outcome of the meaningless game looking decided. The Flames still created some solid scoring chances, but Backlund hit the post again and Pavelec robbed Bennett. Final score was 4-0 for the Jets, with the Flames leading the shot clock 31-24.
Flames Three Stars
1. Jon Gillies: Goalies do not usually get first star in games where their team loses 4-0, but Gillies bounced back very well after giving up a goal on the first shot he saw. He stopped 17 of 18 shots, making a lot of good saves and looking very composed in net.
2. Mikael Backlund: Backlund has obviously recovered very well from that hit he took at the World Cup. He recorded 5 shots on goal, hit the post a couple of times and played in all situations.
3. Sam Bennett: Once again looking very confident, had 3 shots on goal, almost scored a goal, made some good plays.
- It was a rough game to watch, with the Flames carrying the play and having pucks constantly end up in their net. While they did not give up a ton of shots, they did seem to surrender a fair amount of quality rushes to the Jets, who had a lot of young speedy forwards in their line up tonight, while the Flames were missing some of their better defensemen.
- Matthew Tkachuk was around the net all night and almost was sent in alone with stretch passes a couple of times that just did not quite connect. He did not have a terrific game but he did not do anything to hurt his chances of sticking around through the next set of cuts.
- 25 year-old Mikhail Grigorev, a 5’9” defenseman on a PTO who has been playing in the KHL the last several seasons, skates quite well and had a nice rush up the ice considering he is billed as a stay-at-home defenseman. He was playing with Nicklas Grossman who did not have a very great looking game tonight, it would be interesting to see how he would fare with a different defense partner.
- A lot of depth forwards were making the presence known, Hathaway and Bollig fought while Bouma was throwing around the body.
- I thought Dennis Wideman looked pretty solid paired with T.J. Brodie tonight, he distributed the puck well and his booming shot was hitting the net. It looks like he is sticking with the Flames for the time being, so his game tonight was promising to see.
The Flames now have a 2-3 record this preseason. Next game is Wednesday night at home against the Arizona Coyotes, a lot of cuts are allegedly on their way tomorrow, it will be interesting to see who is still in main camp by the time Wednesday rolls around.