Post-Game: Jets grounded by Flames

If you’ve been traveling in hockey circles – or even listening to hockey media much since last year – you’ve probably heard that Patrik Laine is really, really good. His acquisition added some unique dimensions for the Winnipeg Jets and their tactics. But the Jets have struggled at points this season (and Laine has disappeared at points), and tonight was one of those points.

Despite playing better than their hosts for the first period (or even the first half) of tonight’s contest at the Scotiabank Saddledome, the Jets were trounced by the Calgary Flames by a 6-2 score.

THE RUNDOWN

The story of the first period was some wonky officiating – with some fairly obvious penalties uncalled (on both sides) and some weird icing calls – and Winnipeg goalie Michael Hutchinson. The Flames out-shot the Jets 16-9, but Hutchinson was rock-solid. The Flames were very smooth on a late power play, but couldn’t bury anything.

The Jets turned things around in the second period and carried play for a good chunk of the first half of the period. However, the Flames opened the scoring on one heck of a play. Matthew Tkachuk carried the puck into the Jets zone on an even-man rush. He looked over his shoulder, noticed Dougie Hamilton trailing, and drop-passed the puck to Hamilton for the between-the-legs slapper.

The game went to 2-0 a few minutes later. Dennis Wideman carried the puck into the zone and the Jets seemed to follow him into the zone. That left the high slot open for a nice pass from Johnny Gaudreau to Sam Bennett for a wrister and goal.

The Flames went to 3-0 off a nice face-off play; Mikael Backlund tied up his man, allowing Tkachuk to collect the puck and pass it to Hamilton a point shot through traffic and another goal.

They scored again before the period was over, with Bennett making a nice individual effort – taking three tries to fully gain the zone on an entry – and some nice passing allowed Tkachuk to feed Backlund for a one-timer from an odd angle deep in the zone that eluded Hutchinson for a 4-0 lead.

Shots were 13-6 Flames in the second.

Connor Hellebuyck came in for the third period, and the Flames welcomed him with a fifth goal a few minutes into the period. After an errant pass from Garnet Hathaway drifted into the Jets end, Lance Bouma out-muscled his way through two defenders and chipped the puck over Hellebuyck’s shoulder.

The Jets scored a late PP goal off the stick of Nikolaj Ehlers to break Chad Johnson’s shutout bid, but it was (way) too little, too late. Sean Monahan responded with a power play goal of his own late to make it 6-1, off a nice pass from Gaudreau. Jacob Trouba added a late goal just after Michael Frolik’s minor expired, as the teams exchanged penalties left and right. Shots were 13-6 Winnipeg in the third (score effects!), but the Flames won 6-2.

WHY THE FLAMES WON

The Flames hung in there after a sloppy first period and made adjustments. They did a lot of little things right, giving the Jets very little at even strength and taking advantage of gaffes and lapses when they presented themselves.

THE TURNING POINT

The second Flames goal, by Bennett, broke the game wide open. The Jets seemed on their heels after the first Hamilton goal, but they seemed utterly defeated after they went down a pair – especially with the way Johnson played in the first half of the game.

RED WARRIOR

On the eve of his 19th birthday, Tkachuk had three assists. He noted to reporters following the game that he has been “fighting the puck” lately. We’d all like to fight it like that.

Also notable in the “good” column tonight? Bennett, Gaudreau, Hamilton and Backlund. And Johnson was good early on as the Flames found their rhythm.

THE NUMBERS

(Percentage stats are even strength. Game score is overall.)

Player Corsi
For%
O-Zone
Start%
Game
Score
Tkachuk 70.0 60.0 2.810
Giordano 66.7 60.0 1.800
Backlund 65.2 57.2 3.080
Frolik 61.9 57.2 0.440
Hamilton 60.0 66.7 3.325
Chiasson 58.9 66.7 0.465
Bennett 50.0 62.5 1.175
Bouma 43.8 28.6 0.935
Gaudreau 42.9 55.6 1.725
Brodie 42.3 23.1 -0.250
Hathaway 41.2 28.6 1.070
Stajan 41.2 28.6 0.630
Engelland 40.7 50.0 -0.125
Ferland 37.9 35.7 -0.100
Wideman 34.6 31.3 0.300
Monahan 33.3 30.8 0.485
Jokipakka 32.4 46.2 -0.400
Brouwer 28.0 30.8 -0.410
Johnson 1.100

THIS AND THAT

Deryk Engelland went hard into the stantion at the end of the Jets bench in the third period. He left the game briefly but returned. After the game, Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan noted that he’s fine.

The Flames have now won six in a row and have points in seven consecutive games.

QUOTEABLE

“We knew we were in for a battle with these guys. We battled. We stayed tight. We stayed in packs of five and we did a good job.” – Gulutzan assessing his team’s even strength play.

“Fighting it a little bit to put it in the back of the net right now, so just trying to do like you said, the little things right and trying to make little plays and trying to gain some success by that.” – Tkachuk on his performance in Calgary’s 6-2 win.

UP NEXT

The Flames (16-13-2) are have a couple of days off. They’re back on the practice ice on Tuesday and back in action on Wednesday night when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

  • kittensandcookies

    GIH aren’t that big a deal. Teams actually have to win them.

    I remember multiple times in past seasons when the Flames would have GIH and a be a few points behind a playoff spot. It never worked out…

  • Kevin R

    From my perch at the game last night, the Jets came out better than the Flames, but that only lasted for about the first 5-8 minutes. I think at one point the Jets outshot the Flames 3-1. Johnson didn’t really have to be spectacular but he was rock solid. I like this guy, first goalie that seems to be just downright confident since Kipper. Then Calgary took over. By the later part of the first Flames were starting to get their legs & get some pretty good chances. By the 2nd, it was all Calgary & the Jets were a pretty downtrodden frustrated team by the end of the 2nd. So were the Jet fans in front of us I was guilty of razzing pretty good. :-}

    Chuck played a great game, man has the line meshed. Stay the course with these lines, I think they will pay dividends in March. Gio & Hammy are really playing well together. Let’s worry about that #4 to go with Brodie next year. Right now wish it wasn’t Wideman but money dictates right now.