Pre-Season Post-Game: Jets Sharp, Flames Fizzle

The Winnipeg Jets dressed an almost-NHL line-up this evening at MTS Centre. The Calgary Flames went the opposite way, going with an inexperienced group – ideally creating some clarity in the races for the final roster spots.

Both teams were what they were tonight: the mostly-NHL Jets were sharp and executed well en route to a 3-1 victory over the less-polished Flames in a game that didn’t really answer many questions, and actually created brand-new ones.

THE RUNDOWN

The Flames were pretty good in the first. They had jump. They had pep. They created chances and couldn’t really bury too many of ’em. A few minutes in, Micheal Ferland tried to find Joe Colborne in the slot, but Colborne over-skated the pass and it instead went to Deryk Engelland, whose shot eluded Hutchinson – I couldn’t quite tell if it went off a defender’s stick, but it definitely fooled him.

However, the Jets struck back on the power-play. With Brett Kulak in the box, the Flames defense stood around watching a really nice deke by Nic Petan: leaving Mark Scheifele alone at the side of the net for an easy tap-in to tie it. And just when it looked like we’d go into the intermission all tied up, the Jets struck again with some nice stick-handling. This time, Nic Ehlers, Scheifele and linemate Thomas Raffl caused the Flames to slip, slide and flop around their zone, leading to an Ehlers goal through the five-hole of a sliding Joni Ortio to make it 2-1. Shots were 10-9 Flames in the first.

The second period was back-and-forth, albeit with the Jets hemming the Flames into their zone quite a bit. And the Flames gave up a second straight late goal, with Ben Chiarot finding Mark Scheifele with a quick pass, with Scheifele’s quick shot beating Ortio for a 3-1 lead. Shots were 12-7 for the Jets and Ortio was sharp in the middle frame.

Neither team really seemed to want to do much in the third period. The game got chippy. Brandon Bollig fought Anthony Peluso, who was thrown out of the game because another Jet had already dropped the gloves. The Flames pressed late, but really couldn’t generate anything – and whatever they did generate, Michael Hutchinson swallowed up. The Jets won 3-1. Shots were 16-5 Flames in the third, but that includes only a handful of really strong chances.

THE BATTLES

In goal: Joni Ortio allowed 3 goals on 26 shots. The first goal was a great pass by Petan to Scheifele, who was left all alone. The second goal was a nice shot by Ehlers and found a hole in Ortio’s equipment as the netminder slid side-to-side trying to cut down the angle. The third goal was probably the “worst” one, with Ortio playing deep in the net and getting caught by surprise as Chiarot’s pass made it through Engelland’s coverage and to Scheifele. I don’t think Ortio’s chances are dead given how bad the defense was in front of him at times, but he couldn’t steal a win for them, either.

On the blueline: Tyler Wotherspoon was -1 in 19:45, Jakub Nakladal was even in 25:43 (with 5 hits), Ryan Wilson was -1 in 16:17, Patrick Sieloff was +1 in 11:30 and Brett Kulak was -1 in 21:49. Wotherspoon, Kulak and Nakladal all had two shots apiece. Nakladal and Kulak probably did the most to help themselves, with Nakladal playing really smart and physical as the game wore on. Wilson was not good tonight, and over the past two games he’s back-slid a bit – probably sliding away from an almost-assured spot.

Up-front: Joe Colborne was +1 in 6:52 (but left the game due to injury), Mason Raymond was even in 24:50 (with 6 shots), Drew Shore was -1 in 10:11 (and 1-for-5 at the dot), Markus Granlund was -1 in 13:01 (and 3-for-9 at the dot) and Garnet Hathaway was even in 10:49 (with 3 shots). Granlund’s face-offs are really going to hurt him. Hathaway probably did the most to help himself, but Raymond was probably as good as he’s been all pre-season. That’s not saying a ton, but he was good.

In short: none of the battles got clearer, especially given the unclear status of Joe Colborne.

RED WARRIOR

Let’s go with Raymond. He was trying to create offense and was buzzing around late in the game. He just couldn’t bury anything.

UP NEXT

The final game of the pre-season goes Saturday night at the Saddledome as these two teams meet up once again. After that? Expect a flurry of waiver activity on Monday morning as teams prepare to cut down their rosters for opening night.

  • Captain Ron

    Could be worse. Watched the Oilers dress their NHL lineup versus a Canucks B team at home. They are terrible. Sekera, Reinhart and Klefbom make Schultz look like an NHL defenseman.

      • Bean-counting cowboy

        I skipped that. In all fairness, he was very smart, kept his gsme simple and was a big reason for the dismantling. No top 6 Oiler back checks or plays in their zone. Canucks killed them with speed and off the cycle. I can’t believe the lack of mobility Reinhart shows.

        • Brent G.

          I can’t believe the lack of mobility Reinhart shows.

          I’ve been saying it since about half-way through his draft year: Reinhart is too slow and too [not smart] to make an impact in the NHL.

      • Brent G.

        Just an assist.

        Don’t worry though. It IS the Oilers we are talking about here. McSuck&Luck will be making that roster as a top 6 forward regardless of his effort/performance this preseason.

        When they strip Ference of the C they will probably give it to him as well. He is generational after all, right?

        • The GREAT Walter White

          Of course he’ll make it! HE has a Art Ross and Calder and Hart and Richard and Norris and Vezina and Adams to win.

          I can’t wait for the humiliating strip of the C from Ference. Wonder how the Oilers will foul that up

    • Burnward

      Klefbom didn’t play. Also, you iced your NHL team against our B team in Calgary and we won, outplayed your team. It’s pre season. First loss. Not a big deal.

      • Captain Ron

        Dominated? No not really. They scored on defensive lapses by our AHL D men. We outplayed them in the 3rd and out shot them in the game overall. Hardly a dominating performance by the Jets. Hutchison was very good by the way with a .970 save percentage in the game. He made beauty saves on a couple of occasions to keep the score 3-1 for them. This was against a team that is far from our final roster.

        On the other hand the Canucks group of Horvat, Virtanen, and Baertschi one of our castoffs had their way with the Oil last night.

        Talbot sporting an .828 save percentage is the next goalie on the list to have his confidence shattered playing behind that group of D men.

  • Burnward

    Randoms.

    Kulak looks good. Skating and poise were noticeable.

    Bennett was the best forward for me on the night. Played a ton, always driving the play.

    Hathaway played hard again. Kid will be a pro one day.

    Ortio was meh.

  • beloch

    Raymond was pretty weak early in the game. The play died on his stick several times and he looked like one of the weaker players on a team, which is bad when it’s mostly AHL’ers. He improved greatly by the third period though. He seemed to find a new gear once the reality of being sent down to the AHL again settled in. In the third he was dangling like a star and actually looked like he cared. Why the heck can’t he play like this consistently?

    Raymond is terribly frustrating to watch. Every now and then he’ll do a few things that show off his talent, but then he’ll disappear for periods or games at a time. With his skill set, he should be a lock on this team. However, his lack of consistency makes spending a roster spot on him a very tough call.

    Raymond should play Saturday to see if he can build on the great half game or so he played today. I’m not sure if 4-5 good periods in a row would be enough to save him from the waiver wire, but it would probably help.

    • Dan the Drunk

      Raymond is terribly frustrating to watch. Every now and then he’ll do a few things that show off his talent, but then he’ll disappear for periods or games at a time. With his skill set, he should be a lock on this team. However, his lack of consistency makes spending a roster spot on him a very tough call.

      So basically he’s Joe Colborne.

  • Dan the Drunk

    That was a brutal game.

    Very few Flames commited themselves to a role. It was like watching a bunch of students playing jazz. Even Backlund couldn’t make that puck stick.

    I hope that was Hartley’s point; the guys dressed tonight have to learn their role.

    • Burnward

      It wasn’t pretty, but when Engellend is your veteran D it would signal a rough night offensively.

      So much of what this team does starts with the transition game from the back end. That wasn’t there and there wasn’t a tonne of skill in the lineup up front.

      Not a reason to be too concerned methinks.

  • Burnward

    If you want to attract sharks, you probably end up chumming the water. Same thing with Oilers’ (and Canucks) fans. So if you don’t want them showing up, don’t talk about their team here – go to ON or CA and make your observations there. Frankly, talking about them at all on a Flames/Jets post-game thread suggests an element of insecurity. Which is stupid – #bestdefenceinthewest.

    I like that Hartley wouldn’t talk about who was good and who was not post game. Shows some class not to “cut players in the media”.

  • Cfan in Vic

    Raymond may have picked up the pace in the third, but he completely lost me by the end of the first. Everything he does is so predictable it negates any speed advantages he has. His third was better, but I almost think that his flashes of competency work against him by showing what he’s capable of, and doesn’t provide consistently.

    Colbourne was also horrible, before being injured. He looks sooooo slow out there, it’s as if he spent all the offseason bulking up without the fitness aspect. I guess that works itself out, if he begins the season on the IR and someone else gets the spot.

    I thought Granlund looked good outside of the faceoff dot. Hathaway was looking good for most of the game, he plays kind of like a Jooris.

    I guess it was a nice consolation prize to tune into Van/Edm after the Flames and watch the Oilers get stomped. From what I watched, the score could have been even worse for the “A” grade Oilers. Horvat and Virtanan look really nice, dare I say it. Baertchi was good, but not nearly as good as his line mates.