The Calgary Flames came into Winnipeg on Saturday night without much in the way of general motivation for the final game of the pre-season. They already had a guarantee of a winning record, by virtue of Thursday’s win against the Jets in Calgary. A few veterans were getting their first taste of pre-season action, but outside of getting a few guys some reps and shaking out the cobwebs, the general hope was likely “Please God, don’t let anybody else get injured.”
The 2014-15 Calgary Flames, you see, will likely not have a lot of depth in terms of scoring, so likely they just wanted to get to October 8 against Vancouver in one piece.
They dropped a 4-1 decision to the Jets at MTS Center, and now regroup back in Calgary before unveiling their roster on Tuesday.
The Flames were generally out-played five-on-five and couldn’t generate much on two early power-plays. The Jets seemed to gain momentum during the period and had a few good chances, but the returning David Jones opened the scoring mid-way through the period when Andrej Pavelec seemed to lose track of the puck and Jones tucked it in the net. The Jets answered back later on the power-play, with Blake Wheeler tipping a shot past Jonas Hiller. The Jets out-shot Calgary 8-5 in the first.
Jacob Trouba scored on Hiller early in the second, with that marker counting as the eventual winning goal. The rest of the period was largely a carbon-copy of the first, with the Jets keeping the Flames to the outside and the Flames taking penalties to keep momentum from building up. The Jets out-shot Calgary 7-5.
The Jets scored two minutes into the third, with Evander Kane evading Hiller’s pads, and then things proceeding basically like they did in the second. The Jets kept Calgary to the outside, the Flames didn’t generate much, and both teams occasionally got into shoving matches out of restlessness and realizing they had a period to kill before real hockey begins. Mikael Backlund sent Tobias Enstrom awkwardly into the boards and got 14 penalty minutes (ending his night), a scrum ensued and somehow Calgary ended up with a power-play. And because this is how the night went in general, a six-on-four advantage (they pulled Hiller for the extra man) ended up with a Bryan Little empty-netter and a 4-1 loss. Winnipeg led in shots 10-8 in the period and 25-18 overall.
WHY THE FLAMES LOST
The Jets generated more chances, better chances, and capitalized on their chances. And after giving Calgary seven power-plays last game, they took fewer penalties (Calgary had just four PPs) and Calgary couldn’t do much with the extra-man. The Jets scored on their man-advantages (once in six chances), and that was that.
Nobody especially stood out for me in the game tape, but let’s go with Ladislav Smid. He played over 24 minutes, 3 shots and blocked 3 shots. Good for him, I guess. Lance Bouma also had 5 hits and 3 blocks, so good for him, too.
SUM IT UP
The Flames lost! But the game doesn’t really matter. Let’s just hope they put in a more energetic effort on October 8, when the 2014-15 season kicks off for realsies.