After three days without a game, the Calgary Flames welcomed the travel-weary Winnipeg Jets to town on Saturday night. The Flames worked themselves to an early lead, but the Jets had a strong second-half push and skated to a 4-2 victory over the Flames.

The rundown

The Flames had their feet moving early and they opened the scoring just 26 seconds into this hockey game. The Jets won a defensive zone draw, but they couldn’t corral the puck and it was chased down by Johnny Gaudreau. Gaudreau found Matthew Tkachuk around the blue paint for a quick redirect past Connor Hellebuyck to make it 1-0 Flames.
The home side doubled their lead on the power play midway through the period. Oliver Kylington drew a boarding penalty. On the ensuing face-off, the Flames made a couple nice passes and Sean Monahan tipped a Gaudreau shot. The puck was mostly stopped by Hellebuyck, but Elias Lindholm jammed in the loose puck to give the Flames a 2-0 lead.
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But the Flames’ puck management got sloppy for awhile after they went up 2-0, and the Jets pounced on them. An errant pass coming out of their zone led to the Jets hemming Calgary in for awhile. Eventually, Kyle Connor chipped the puck past Jacob Markström to cut the Flames’ lead to 2-1.
Shots were 14-13 Flames (12-7 Flames at five-on-five) and scoring chances 11-6 Flames in the first period.
The Flames began the second period on the power play, but spent most of the time defending and couldn’t generate much of anything with the man advantage. Shortly after, they were hemmed in again by the Jets and Evgeny Svechnikov fed Peter Stastny at the side of the crease. He got a couple whacks at it and tied the game up at 2-2.
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Milan Lucic was ejected from the game late in the second period for boarding Dylan DeMelo – DeMelo left the game for evaluation, but was back in time for the third period. The Flames managed to kill off the penalty and make it to the intermission tied 2-2.
Shots were 7-6 Jets (5-4 Flames at five-on-five) and scoring chances 7-4 Flames in the second period.
Both teams had their chances in the third period, but the Jets took the lead in the waning moments of the period off a nice three-on-two passing sequence, ending with Connor one-timing a Blake Wheeler feed past Markström to make it 3-2 Jets.
Andrew Copp added an empty netter to make it 4-2 Jets and cement the result.
Shots were 16-8 Flames (9-7 Flames at five-on-five) and scoring chances 5-3 Flames in the third period.
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Why the Flames lost

The Flames got off to a nice start, but uncharacteristically they lost the plot in the midway part of this game. Their puck management went sideways and they ended up giving the Jets way too much zone time and it came back to haunt them.
But give it up to Hellebuyck, too. Winnipeg’s goaltender was the best player on either side in this game. With a lesser player in his spot, this game looks a lot different.

Red Warrior

It’s a three-way tie: Gaudreau had two points, but both Andrew Mangiapane and Mikael Backlund generated tons of good offensive looks and made Hellebuyck make several big saves.

The turning point

The Flames’ penalty kill faced a big test after Lucic’s major penalty at the end of the second period. They passed with flying colours. Unfortunately, they were unable to follow that up with enough chances to beat Hellebuyck, but the PK came up huge for the team.
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The numbers

Percentage stats are 5v5 and via Natural Stat Trick. Game score via Hockey Stat Cards.
Expected
Goals For%
O-Zone
Face-Off%
Game
Score
Lindholm
82.2
66.7
1.64
Tkachuk
79.3
66.7
1.51
Gaudreau
78.3
66.7
2.28
Hanifin
76.1
75.0
1.07
Andersson
74.8
75.0
1.34
Backlund
73.4
80.0
0.63
Pitlick
68.5
80.0
0.11
Coleman
67.4
80.0
-0.15
Mangiapane
62.5
80.0
0.00
Tanev
61.9
57.1
0.08
Zadorov
59.1
87.5
-0.01
Dube
53.5
80.0
0.10
Gudbranson
47.7
87.5
-0.65
Richardson
40.5
66.7
-0.32
Monahan
39.4
80.0
0.09
Lewis
38.8
66.7
-0.51
Kylington
36.9
57.1
-0.27
Lucic
22.2
66.7
-0.98
Markström
-0.49
Vladar

This and that

This was the 17th time this season that the Flames scored the first goal. It’s the second time that’s been followed by a regulation loss. (They have a 12-2-3 record.)

Up next

The Flames (12-4-5) are back in action on Monday night when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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