The Calgary Flames scored first on Monday night against the Winnipeg Jets. But some bad bounces and bad puck management, combined into five unanswered goals, ended their winning streak at one. The Flames couldn’t bury their chances in a 5-1 loss to the Jets to put them further behind the playoff pack in the (Scotia NHL) North Division.
The Flames drew an early penalty and scored first! A nice passing sequence ended with a tap-in goal for Elias Lindholm to give them a 1-0 lead.
The Flames had some looks as the period wore on, but couldn’t translate chances into goals. But the Jets got one back near the end of the period, as Nate Thompson redirected a Dylan DeMelo point shot with his skate and it beat Jacob Markstrom to make it 1-1. The goal was reviewed for a kicking motion, but stood.
A little bit later, the Jets grabbed the lead. Matthew Tkachuk lost his footing jostling with Mark Scheifele in the neutral zone, leaving Michael Stone alone to defend a two-on-one. Kyle Connor fed Scheifele and he beat Markstrom to make it 2-1 Jets.
Shots were 12-11 Flames and scoring chances 6-2 Flames in first period.
The Flames were dazzled by a superb Nikolaj Ehlers zone entry and he drove the net and got a shot off. Markstrom made the initial save, but Scheifele grabbed the rebound and beat Markstrom to make it 3-1 Jets.
Calgary beat Hellebuyck later on, but the goal was waved off immediately because Milan Lucic was tangled up with the Jets netminder. (He was outside of the crease and scrambling to get away, but the goalie stick was between his legs and that was probably a determining factor.)
Near the end of the period, the Jets struck again. An errant pass by Tkachuk led to Elias Lindholm toppling at the offensive blueline trying to hold it in. The Jets wooshed through into the Flames zone on a three-on-two rush as a result. Ehlers found Andrew Copp all alone for a quick pass and a redirect past Markstrom to make it 4-1 Jets.
Shots were 13-12 Flames and scoring chances 8-8 in the second period.
David Rittich came in to relieve Markstrom for the third period. He was greeted by a high stick-side goal by Pierre-Luc Dubois off a shot from the top of the circles to make it 5-1 Jets.
Shots were 6-5 Jets and scoring chances 5-5 in the third period.
Why the Flames lost
Let’s call a spade a spade here: there were some weird decisions by the officials:
- Pierre-Luc Dubois’ hit on Chris Tanev in the first period was textbook boarding
- Nate Thompson’s skate deflection really seemed like it was preceded by a kicking motion
- Milan Lucic’s contact with Connor Hellebuyck in the second seemed like it was caused by a nudge from a Jets defenseman
Yeah, some breaks didn’t go their way. But the Flames didn’t respond particularly well to those bad breaks, and they made errors that seemed to come back to bite them on each goal and the Jets managed the puck and their scoring chances better than the Flames did.
The Jets got some breaks, but their stars were simply better than Calgary’s stars. Winnipeg’s stars were stars. Calgary’s were not.
Joakim Nordstrom drew two penalties playing on the fourth line. That’s not a bad bit of work for someone better known for his penalty killing work.
The turning point
The Jets scored twice in a span of 1:54 at the end of the first period. That basically tilted the game, putting the Flames in chase mode and allowing the Jets to focus on clogging the middle of the ice.
Data via Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5v5.
This and that
After stating emphatically that he doesn’t pull his goaltenders, Darryl Sutter pulled Markstrom after two periods.
The Flames are 1-15-1 when trailing after two periods this season (and 4-13-1 when trailing after one period).
Juuso Valimaki and Dillon Dube were healthy scratches again.
Tanev only played 2:54 in the first period, leaving to get checked out after a big hit from Dubois that sent him crashing head/neck/shoulder-first into the end boards. No penalty was called on the hit.
The Flames (16-18-3) head to Vancouver next, where they play on Wednesday evening. A word of warning: it’s a late one, scheduled as an 8:30 p.m. MT start.