January 09 2017 09:08PM
(Bruce Fedyck / USA Today Sports)
Heading into tonight's game between the Calgary Flames and the Winnipeg Jets, the hope was that the visitors – heading into a key game against a team missing their most explosive player – would be able to play with emotion and get two key points in the playoff race.
Instead, the Flames played 60 minutes of wholly uninspired hockey en route to a 2-0 loss to the Jets. If this was intended to be a statement game for Calgary then the statement coming out of it surely is "What the heck was that?!"
The Flames were disjointed in the first, frequently missing passes and making really sub-par decisions with the puck. The Jets opened the scoring midway through the period, as Dustin Byfuglien walked right around Mark Giordano and beat Chad Johnson with a really nice top-corner shot to make it 1-0. The Flames couldn't generate much of anything in the first. Shots were 9-6 Calgary.
Neither team scored in the second period. Considering the Flames were down a goal, there was no real push from them to even up the game. The Jets out-shot them 12-6.
Calgary came out early in the third period with a bit of desperation, which was nice to see. However, their execution still wasn't great and that ended up costing them a few minutes in. An errant pass from T.J. Brodie to Dennis Wideman never found its mark, as Blake Wheeler snatched the puck away and beat Johnson to make it 2-0. The Flames had some chances late but couldn't make any of them count. Shots were 13-9 Flames.
WHY THE FLAMES LOST
For the vast majority of the game the Flames weren't awful, but they really weren't all that good. Their decision-making seemed to take a holiday and what we saw tonight was a series of miscues, gaffes, errant passes, missed shots and an overall lack of execution for the majority of the proceedings.
The Jets played a solid defensive game, but the Flames really didn't make life tough for them.
THE TURNING POINT
The Flames were fortunate to be down just one goal after two sub-par periods. However, they began the third with some energy. Wheeler's goal, taking advantage of some sloppy puck movement by Brodie, was a killer.
Johnson was the better of the two goaltenders tonight, making several big stops and giving the Flames a shot.
Gaudreau was energetic but frequently seemed to over-handle the puck, perhaps attempting to make up for the lack of energy from his teammates. The fourth line collectively were also pretty decent in spurts.
(Percentage stats are even strength. Game score is overall. Data from Natural Stat Trick.)
THIS AND THAT
Brock Lesnar is here. In-game host just interviewed him on the jumbotron. He is a very large man.— Kristen Odland (@Kristen_Odland) January 10, 2017
Matthew Tkachuk's points streak ended after nine games.
The Flames (22-19-2) are off tomorrow, then are back in action on Wednesday night in a crucial Pacific Division battle with the San Jose Sharks.
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