Folks, we’ve got good news and bad news for you after the Calgary Flames’ preseason game on Friday against the Winnipeg Jets. The good news is the Flames sent an AHL-laden roster to play the Jets big guns and they largely out-played the Jets. The bad news is that they couldn’t bury their many, many chances and lost 4-3 in overtime. Precisely zero points were on the line, so maybe focus on the good news.
The game began poorly with the Flames, with a pair of rapid-fire penalties resulting in three and a half minutes of penalty killing – and a 30 second two-man disadvantage – but the Flames killed ’em off. Afterwards, Brett Pollock scored a gorgeous goal; he walked around two Jets players and chipped the puck short-side over Connor Hellebuyck’s shoulder to make it 1-0.
Minutes later the Jets took a pair of penalties of their own, handing the Flames a two-man advantage of their own. Dillon Dube made no mistake, scoring off the rush very quickly to make it 2-0 Flames. Shots were 9-8 Flames and chances were 7-2 Flames in the opening 20 minutes.
The Jets got on the board early in the second, with Blake Wheeler driving the net and beating Tyler Parsons glove-side to make it 2-1. But Alan Quine responded soon after, tipping a point shot past Hellebuyck to make it 3-1. But the Jets responded back before the period was over, with Dustin Byfuglien cashing in with a high shot from a bad angle after a very lengthy period of Winnipeg pressure to make it 3-2. Shots were 14-3 Flames and chances were 10-2 Flames, but Hellebuyck was very sharp and the Flames only got the single goal.
Jeff Glass came in to close out the game in the third. The Jets pressed and pressed, but the Flames did a good job killing the clock. But Dube took a late penalty and Blake Wheeler scored on the power play with a minute left in regulation to force overtime. Shots were 10-7 Jets, but chances were 7-5 Flames.
Byfuglien scored quickly in overtime on a nice passing play to make the final score 4-3.
Why the Flames Lost (in Overtime)
The Flames iced a roster full of guys who needed to play well to avoid a trip to Stockton. They played that way, forechecking hard and generally generating a lot of good looks. The Jets had a mature roster of established NHL bodies, but the Flames carried play for much of the game.
They lost because they just couldn’t convert more of their good chances into goals.
We’re avoiding giving it to Dube again – he’s disqualified for the late penalty – but Glenn Gawdin was all over the place in this game, playing in all situations and creating a ton of chances.
The Turning Point
Wheeler’s power play goal, just when it looked like the Flames might eke out another penalty kill, really killed their momentum.
(Percentage stats are 5-on-5, data via Natural Stat Trick)
This and That
This was the first domestic game that the NHL coaching staff – Bill Peters, Ryan Huska and Geoff Ward – have worked since returning from China late on Wednesday. The prior games in Canada were coached by the AHL coaching staff, led by Cail MacLean.
The Flames’ power play went 1-for-2 and their penalty kill negated 4 of 5 Jets man advantages.
The Flames fly home and hit the ice again tomorrow. They host the Vancouver Canucks at 7:30 p.m. MT at the Saddledome.