April 11 2014 10:14PM
The Flames entered tonight's game poised to finish off their home schedule in style. Unfortunately, the Winnipeg Jets spoiled the party, taking a 5-3 decision to push the Flames to "just" a .500 record at home. The difference-maker was a fairly uninspired first period and a few lapses in the defensive zone.
Here's how it shook down.
The Flames had a so-so first period. They did have some jump in the offensive zone, but couldn't quite execute. That lack of execution crept into their defensive zone play, which was poor. The first Winnipeg goal was a bit flukey; a Michael Frolik floater from the high slot bonked in off of T.J. Brodie's chest. The second goal was arguably worse: off a line change, the team stood around as Evander Kane entered the zone, drove to the slot and put a wrister past Karri Ramo.
#Flames were not great in the first; Jets lead in shots (14-8), attempts (26-14), face-offs (13-11) and goals (2-0).— Ryan Pike (@RyanNPike) April 12, 2014
The Flames were much, much better in the second period. Just 64 seconds in, they got on the board: Paul Byron made a heads-up play to keep a loose puck from leaving the zone. He fed it to Brodie at the point, whose shot pinballed off Jiri Hudler for Hudler's 17th goal. Jets rookie Carl Klingberg made it 3-1 when he won a puck battle behind the net, then walked out front and put it past Ramo – on the Jets first shot of the period. However, the Flames generated two successive penalties and made them count.
Some nice passing teed up Sean Monahan for a tap-in at the side of the net (on a 5-on-3) to make it 3-2. And as that goal was announced, Kris Russell skated into zone and wristed home his 7th to tie things up at 3-apiece.
The third period started evenly, but once the Jets scored, the Flames stepped on the gas pedal. The Jets fourth goal was a fairly simple one; the Flames couldn't corral the puck off a defensive-zone face-off. The Jets won the board battle and Paul Postma's point shot eluded Ramo. The Flames pressed late, but Blake Wheeler's empty-netter cinched it.
Third period: shots 18-8 CGY, attempts 34-13 CGY, face-offs, 14-7 WPG. Jets win it, though.— Ryan Pike (@RyanNPike) April 12, 2014
WHY THE FLAMES LOST
The Flames had a few adventures in their own zone, losing a few key board battles (especially on Winnipeg's third and fourth goals), and it cost them the game.
Their third period was excellent, though.
(courtesy TurnedTheCorner over at the CalgaryPuck forums)
He was over 50% at the dot. He had 4 shots on net, tied for the team lead (with Mark Cundari). He scored his 22nd goal, besting Jarome Iginla's rookie year. Considering that he and Matt Stajan took the lion's share of the draws, the rookie pivot had an excellent game.
SUM IT UP
Flames lose! Their draft position is going to be 4th or 5th (pre-lottery), so it'll be decided by Sunday's finale against the Vancouver Canucks.
Oh yeah, and the club is expected to get some reinforcements from the collegiate ranks in the form of Johnny Gaudreau and Bill Arnold.
There may yet be some excitement to come.