Calgary Flames (1) at Winnipeg Jets (2)
Coming into the game it was pretty clear that the circumstances were pretty stacked against the Flames. Sean Monahan and Sam Bennett were both missing the game for precautionary reasons, the team was playing on the 2nd half of a back-to-back with travel and a time change, and they were facing one of the league’s better teams in Winnipeg. They were also using the rather unorthodox 11F-7D lineup with Michael Stone seeing his first action since November.
With all that being said, the Flames put forth a pretty strong performance, limiting the Jets attack for most of the night at even strength. At 5v5 the Flames outshot the Jets 22-14 and had eight high danger changes to Winnipeg’s five. Three first period posts and some great saves by Connor Hellebuyck allowed the Jets to snag victory.
After a period conservative opening period, the Jets managed to take advantage of some tired Flames off a late icing call. Ben Chiarot caught Mark Jankowski between himself and Mark Scheifele, Janko committed to Chiarot who fed Scheifele for the easy goal with only 8 seconds to play in the period.
In the second period Mikael Backlund would be given a double minor for a high stick on Brian Little that drew blood.
However it was Calgary who would first take advantage with a 3-on-2 breakout culminating in a Mark Jankowski tap in goal off a nice feed from Elias Lindholm. The assist was Lindholm’s 50th of the year which made him only the 5th Flame to do that since the 2004 lockout. Mark Giordano also got an assist on the goal.
Winnipeg would come right back though as the powerplay continued with an extended shift eventual leading to a net front scramble where Mathieu Perreault would lift a rebound over Smith to make it 2-1.
Calgary would push extremely hard in the third period, outshooting the Jets 14-3 in the frame but would be unable to find the tying marker. A couple huge saves from Hellebuyck were the difference as Calgary had their three game winning streak snapped.
2nd: Jankowski (11) (Lindholm, Giordano) SH
1st: 19:51 - Mark Scheifele (34) (Chiarot, Wheeler)
2nd: Perreault (14) (Roslovic, Myers) PP
I really don’t have a lot of qualms with tonight’s performance. The Flames came out on the second half of a back-to-back and put forth a pretty solid game. I thought Mike Smith had a really good game and couldn’t be faulted for either of those goals. While I still think David Rittich would be my starter come playoffs, my confidence in Smith has been increasing should he need to play.
Derek Ryan filled in pretty well in that top line role, replacing Sean Monahan. He obviously doesn’t draw the same attention from defenders, but he played a good game and definitely didn’t hold the line back or anything.
Johnny Gaudreau led the Flames with 23:54 of ice time tonight. He was his usual self flying around the ice and had a couple of his trademarked poor angle shots that nearly went in. Defensively Mike Stone only played 6:27 as the Flames eased him back into NHL play.
Flame of the Game
Derek Ryan (F): I was torn between him and Mike Smith but I thought Ryan fared really well and deserved some spotlight in tonight’s promotion to the top line. He had 20:39 of ice time which surpassed his previous season high by more than three minutes. His ice time included roughly three PP mins and five PK minutes. He was a monster in the faceoff circle as well.
Up Next: Flames host Columbus on Tuesday night