Photo Credit: Jeff Vinnick/USA Today Sports

Post-Game Wrap-Up: Flames grab control with Game 3 win over Jets

The Calgary Flames looked fairly flat and frequently out-worked by Winnipeg on Monday in a 3-2 loss. On Tuesday, they looked every bit the better team as they out-hit, out-hustled and out-scored the Jets en route to a 6-2 victory in Game 3 of their Qualifying Round series.

The Flames now lead the series 2-1.

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The Rundown

The opening period was pretty even, with both teams playing at a fast pace and generating good looks in the offensive zone. The Jets caught the Flames napping midway through the period, though, and managed to open the scoring. Dmitry Kulikov found Nikolaj Ehlers all alone and sent him in on Cam Talbot with a gorgeous 170-foot bounce pass. Ehlers made it count, beating Talbot with a wrister to give the Jets a 1-0 edge.

But that lead didn’t last very long. Dillon Dube was hauled down on the ensuing face-off. Nine seconds into the resultant power play, Elias Lindholm redirected an Erik Gustafsson slap-pass past Connor Hellebuyck to tie the game at 1-1.

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Shots were 18-13 Flames and scoring chances 9-6 Flames in the first period.

The Flames were really good, if a tad imperfect in the second period. Five minutes into the period, a smart forecheck by Andrew Mangiapane caused Neal Pionk to turn over the puck behind the Jets net (just after Hellebuyck had played the puck). Mangiapane fed Mikael Backlund with a nice pass and Backlund tapped it in as Hellebuyck scrambled into his crease to give the Flames a 2-1 lead.

Milan Lucic almost made it 3-1, as a slapper from just inside the blueline knuckled past Hellebuyck after Ehlers only partially blocked the shot. But the goal was washed out after a coach’s challenge after Dube was ruled to be obstructing Hellebuyck.

But a little bit later Jansen Harkins was sent to the penalty box for hauling down Sean Monahan off a rush. On the resultant PP, Monahan batted a Johnny Gaudreau pass past Hellebuyck to give the Flames a 3-1 lead. But for real this time.

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The Jets got one back with Lucic in the box. Off a Jets face-off win, Andrew Copp received a pass, realized nobody was guarding him, and walked out front and roofed a shot over Talbot to cut the Flames lead to 3-2.

But some nice puck management off the rush by the 3M Line gave the Flames a two goal lead once more. Backlund played dump-and-chase and was aided behind the net by Mangiapane. He fed Matthew Tkachuk out front for a quick shot that beat Hellebuyck to make it 4-2 Flames.

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Shots were 11-10 Jets and scoring chances 9-5 in the second period.

The Jets pushed back early in the third period, but the Flames defended fairly well. Tkachuk drew a penalty and Lucic scored on a rebound off a Dube initial shot on the PP to give the Flames a 5-2 edge.

The Flames rode things out from there. The Jets pulled Hellebuyck with 4:30 remaining and Gaudreau added an empty-netter to cement the 6-2 victory.

Shots were 10-4 Jet and scoring chances 8-1 Jets, largely due to score effects (if we’re being honest).

Why the Flames Won

The Flames were the better team in almost every game situation. They played physical, they played smart, and their play with the puck in all three zones was massively improved from Game 2.

It also helps that the Game 2 push from the Jets wasn’t quite there in Game 3, and Winnipeg looked like a depleted and over-matched team for most of this game.

Red Warrior

It’s gotta be Mangiapane, who was a fore-checking best and had two primary assists at five-on-five to help drive Calgary’s offense.

But this was a team effort for the Flames and nobody was really bad, which allowed interim coach Geoff Ward to roll his lines and keep everybody fresh.

The Turning Point

How many times has a disallowed goal in a one-goal game swung things against a team? Well, the Flames seemed hell-bent on scoring after Lucic’s second period goal got waved off. It didn’t take them long, and it gave them a good amount of breathing room for the rest of the game.

The Numbers

Data via Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5v5.

Tkachuk 65.7 46.2 2.600
Backlund 61.5 46.2 2.235
Mangiapane 61.0 50.0 2.450
Hanifin 51.4 75.0 0.375
Andersson 46.0 60.0 0.000
Gustafsson 42.9 57.1 0.725
Brodie 41.7 42.1 -0.050
Ryan 40.0 50.0 -0.240
Jankowski 40.0 100 -0.190
Rieder 40.0 100 -0.135
Forbort 39.3 44.4 0.025
Giordano 39.1 42.1 0.650
Dube 33.3 50.0 0.655
Lucic 31.3 50.0 0.525
Bennett 31.3 60.0 -0.180
Gaudreau 26.9 46.7 1.225
Lindholm 26.1 46.7 0.230
Monahan 25.0 46.7 1.730
Talbot 1.800

This and That

This was the third time in three games that Winnipeg scored first.

Winnipeg’s Tucker Poolman and Calgary’s Derek Forbort both briefly left the game after taking pucks to their respective faces. Winnipeg’s Mathieu Perreault left after the second period after suffering a lower body injury off a hit from Sam Bennett.

Up Next

The Flames now lead this series 2-1. Game 4 of this best-of-five series is scheduled for Thursday night, 8:30 p.m. MT, on Sportsnet. The Flames can advance to the proverbial Sweet 16 with a win.