The Calgary Flames went into Winnipeg with three NHL regulars in their lineup. They left following 60 minutes of pretty smart hockey with a 4-1 loss to the Jets, victims of a few nice offensive plays and a few bad bounces.
50 seconds into the game, the Jets got their first lead. The Jets won a face-off and Tucker Poolman chucked the puck at the Flames net. Cam Talbot reflexively made the first save, but Jack Roslovic was all alone out front to jam in the rebound to make it 1-0 Jets.
Shots were 11-10 Jets in the opening frame.
Neither team scored in the second period. The Flames led in shots 10-7 and had a few nice scoring opportunities, but couldn’t pull the trigger.
The Flames finally answered back in the third period. Glenn Gawdin went into the boards awkwardly during a collision with Dmitry Kulikov. Kulikov went to the box, and the Flames scored. Alan Quine fed the puck from behind the net into the net-front for Adam Ruzicka, who waited out Laurent Brossoit and tucked the puck into the net to make it 1-1.
But the Jets got a couple goals in succession to put this out of reach. A point shot was blocked by Oliver Kylington, but ricocheted right to Blake Wheeler at the side of the net for an easy tap-in to make it 2-1 Jets. A little bit later, Joona Luoto tipped a Logan Stanley shot past Talbot to go up 3-1. Nikolaj Ehlers added an empty-netter to make this a 4-1 final score.
Shots were 11-4 Jets in the final period.
Why the Flames lost
Well, they couldn’t get enough quality chances. And when they did, the guys who had them were, uh, not quite as good as the Flames usually would be dressing. The Flames dressed a Stockton Heat roster, plus Talbot, TJ Brodie and Andrew Mangiapane. The skill level just wasn’t there on this occasion, even though the Flames did a fine job skating with the Jets’ more mature players.
Let’s go with Gawdin. He was strong in the face-off circle, drew a key penalty, and generally was hustling left and right.
Honourable mention to Jakob Pelletier, who looked very poised in what’s probably going to be his last pre-season game of this year.
The turning point
The bad bounce 2-1 goal, coming right after the Flames tied things up, was a back-breaker.
This and that
After looking really uncomfortable against San Jose last week, Talbot looked much more calm in net for the Flames. He faced several strong scoring chances and stood tall, and he really didn’t have much of a chance on any of the three goals he allowed.
Andrew MacDonald played 21:29 on the top pairing with Brodie. He’s been first or second in ice time in each of the four exhibition games he’s played in.
The Tobias Rieder experience: led the Flames in shots (four), had the worst plus/minus on the team (minus-two).
The Flames have a day off tomorrow and will likely swing the axe to get down to a single on-ice group. They’re back in action on Tuesday night when they host the Jets at the Saddledome.