The Calgary Flames entered tonight’s game against the Winnipeg Jets coming off an emotional and hard fought 6-4 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night. The Jets meanwhile had been off for a few nights with their last game being a 4-1 win over these same Flames. The Jets were holding the season series edge, winning three of the first four meetings, but this was the first game in Calgary where the Flames have historically done well against Winnipeg. A big storyline for the Jets tonight was the debut of Pierre Luc Dubois who finally got into the lineup after the big trade over two weeks ago. Jacob Markstrom and Connor Hellebuyck got the respective starts.
1st Period: Calgary Flames 0, Winnipeg Jets 0
The opening period was a high-flying end to end game between two teams known for that style of play. However the two elite goaltenders were very impressive, holding both teams off the scoresheet with a combined 21 saves. Both teams would also have a powerplay opportunity in the period, but neither could take advantage despite some good chances.
Among players that looked good in the opening period was the new line of Milan Lucic, Mikael Backlund, and Andrew Mangiapane who again drove a lot of the play and were solid in both ends of the ice. Sam Bennett also had a few great chances to score, but just couldn’t finish them off, which seems to be the story of his career.
2nd Period: Calgary Flames 2, Winnipeg Jets 2
Early in the 2nd period the Jets would head to the powerplay thanks to a hooking call on Sean Monahan. Jacob Markstrom would make a ridiculous save on Mark Scheifele coming cross ice to kick it out with his pad. Later on that same PP though the Jets would take the 1-0 lead when Nikolaj Ehlers beat Markstrom over his shoulder with a wicked shot.
Mere minutes later though the Flames would push back with the new 3M line (we need a better name for it), with a bouncing puck in the slot swatted on net by Backlund, and Mangiapane would corral the rebound and beat Connor Hellebuyck. Milan Lucic would also get an assist on the goal, bringing his point total to six on the season.
After the goal the Jets would push back some, but it would be Calgary taking the lead with perhaps the most unexpected skater getting on the board. Byron Froese of all people would get a perfect deflection on a Juuso Valimaki point shot, deflecting it into the top corner for his first NHL goal since March 6 2018.
Again though the game would be tied just a few minutes later, this time with Ehlers scoring his second the night for the Jets on a 2-on-1 that Markstrom didn’t have a chance on.
The period ended even but the Flames were probably unlucky to be tied, with 11 high danger scoring chances to just one for the Jets.
3rd Period: Calgary Flames 3, Winnipeg Jets 2
While the teams would get a few shots in the third period and a few decent chances, both teams seemed focused on locking things down and playing structured hockey, evidenced by the icing calls and neutral zone play.
A couple of nice defensive plays on both ends of the ice would break up the better scoring chances of the period, but things would turn when Johnny Gaudreau was high-sticked by Nathan Beaulieu with 2:35 to go.
On the powerplay Calgary would make Winnipeg pay with Elias Lindholm wristing a shot through a crowd that would glance of Josh Morrissey and beat Hellebuyck. With just 1:42 the Flames had the lead and were looking to secure a regulation win over the Jets, something they couldn’t hold on to the previous week.
However this time the Flames would do a very good job keeping the Jets to the outside after they pulled their goalie and they never really got any chances to tie it up. Boom. Flames win!
- I have been extremely impressed by the Lucic-Backlund-Mangiapane line as all three were extremely good at even strength again tonight and were rewarded with the Flames 1st goal of the game.
- I thought Mark Giordano specifically had his best game of the season today as he seemed pretty dialed in aside from a couple of questionable pinches that led to rushes the other way
- Juuso Valimaki was also strong again despite a mistake on the Jets 2nd goal, his development continues to be very impressive to witness.
- I thought Matthew Tkachuk was pretty quiet again tonight, he still hasn’t seemed like himself lately
Flame of the Game
Mikael Backlund (F): There were a number of Flames who I considered choosing for this honor tonight but Backlund gets the edge with his second straight excellent performance after a slow start to the season. It remains to be seen if this is just a blip, but his line continues to impress and could provide a ton of depth to the other forwards if they can maintian this level of play. Valimaki and Hanifin were also honorable mentions while Markstrom was also very good again.