Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. The Flames get behind early only to make a game of it with just enough time left to keep you from calling it a night. Calgary has been outscored 12-6 in first periods thus far in 2021 while outscoring the Scotia Northerners 11-4 in third periods.
It was too little too late last night. The Jets took advantage of the Flames miscues early, expertly clogged up the ice between the blue lines, and were able to hold on for the victory.
Give the Flames credit for finding unique and inventive ways to allow the first goal. Last night it was of the shorthanded variety. A poor decision by Lucic was certainly the catalyst but this one was a team effort.
Backlund and Dube nonchalantly followed Mason Appleton to the corner while the rest of the crew thought it appropriate to just chill in the slot while Trevor Lewis cruised in for a one timer.
Images that preceded unfortunate events: CGY v WPG 2021:
30 seconds later that horrible Jets goal horn assaulted our ears again. Chris Tanev and Noah Hanifin’s perfect record 5v5 came to an unceremonious conclusion as some shoddy back pressure lead to a snipe off the rush by (checks notes)… Derek Forbort. I mean when Forbort scores you know it’s an off night (Forbort’s goal was his first tally since the 2018-19 and the seventh of his career).
While the Flames exploited the Jets off the rush with another perfectly executed Zorro pass, this time finished off by Matthew Tkachuk, to get this game back within range, Nikolaj Ehlers crapped all over it with a fantastic tip in goal. All three goals were results of unforced errors and just plain bad defensive work.
The Flames certainly made a hard push as the Johnny Gaudreau revenge tour continued but their propensity to have a period per game where they forget how to play hockey sunk them again.
Jets xGF%
(5v5 Data from Natural Stat Trick)
(Even Strength Unblocked Shot Chart from Evolving Hockey)

RIP Everyone’s Favourite Stat

As mentioned the perfect 100% GF for everyone’s new favourite pairing, Noah Hanifin and Chris Tanev, has finally been tarnished. A moment of silence is needed.

Occasional Save Dave?

I don’t want to pin this one on Rittich. The team was asleep for half the game and didn’t really get much cooking in the offensive zone until the third.
Having said that the Jets didn’t massively out chance the Flames in terms of high quality shots. Let’s be honest, if Derek Forbort beats you clean you probably can’t fault anyone but yourself.
Goals Allowed
Shots Against
Fenwick Against
David Rittich
Laurent Brossoit
(All situations goalie data from Evolving Hockey)
He was fine but struggled to settle in and, when called upon, his Winnipeg counterpart was better.

Power play gone dry

0/6 over the last two games for the Flames on the man advantage. The power play just hasn’t looked as dangerous over the past few outings and they only mustered a single high danger chance up a man last night.
I did not like Ward’s decision to prematurely hand the late power play over to the second unit. You need a goal to tie the game and you take off your top unit with a full minute left on the man advantage? Head scratcher for me.

Top line struggles

Matthew Tkachuk scored both goals so it’s hard to be overly critical of him and his unit but for a second straight game the Jets were able to win the 5v5 match-up against the Lindholm and Tkachuk duo (line blender from Monday aside).
After some dominate games at even strength 19 and 28 have struggled to stay above water over the last 125 minutes of hockey.
(Data from Evolving Hockey)

Gio and Andersson looked like a top pairing

Chris Tanev and Noah Hanifin vastly outplaying Rasmus Andersson and Mark Giordano is something I certainly didn’t have on my bingo card heading into the season. It’s been a rough stretch for the captain and his new RD but they put in a solid showing last night as they were finally able to be on the good side of the shot and quality shot share. The decision making was much more sound and the two looked much more themselves.

Lucic and friends

Lucic screwed up again and boy is Twitter in a tizzy. He’s been prone to some brutal giveaways this season. However, was that not one the best outings we’ve seen from the 17-10-20 unit this season at even strength?
Ryan and Lucic had some dangerous chances and Nordstrom was slinging the biscuit on odd man rushes like Johnny Hockey himself! I’ll say I think Lucic shouldn’t be on the second power play unit (especially if 88 is on the bench) and his turnover was nasty but there was plenty of blame to go around on the shorthanded blunder and his line was strong 5v5 so let’s throw them a bone.

Goldilocks Stars

Okay, so my last name doesn’t have a pun like the other Mike (unless you can work in some volleyball motif or Castaway reference) but I liked the suggestion of the “Goldilocks” Three Stars a commenter made a while back.
Here are three players in the context of who was great, who was just right, and who was not so great.
GREAT: Johnny Gaudreau. The revenge tour continues. Gaudreau had that patented pep in his step and was dangerous all game. Great net drive to extend his point streak to nine and a 77.41 xGF%.
JUST RIGHT: Joakim Nordstrom. We have to give credit where it’s due. Nordstrom has been nothing short of terrible to start the year off but he made the most of his limited minutes setting up a few scoring chances and had some nice shifts in the offensive zone. 68.75 CF%, 74.38 xGF%.
NOT SO GREAT:  Sam Bennett. Samuel didn’t seem to take advantage of his minutes alongside 13 and 23 nor did he look all that swell with Backlund and Leivo. He wasn’t terrible by any means but sure didn’t make much of an impact 5v5. 37.44 xGF%.