The Calgary Flames got off to a good start on Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets. Unfortunately, they couldn’t keep that momentum going. The Flames faded as the game wore on, allowed four unanswered goals, and lost by a 4-1 score to the Jets in the finale of a three game set at Bell MTS Place.
The first period was fairly low event, with each team getting some offensive zone time in, but not really turning that into solid chances. The Flames changed that late in the period, as Mikael Backlund got into the offensive zone, created a turnover, and then waited patiently for backup. His patience turned into a couple nice scoring chances. Eventually, Juuso Valimaki caught a loose puck inside the blueline and put a nice low pass towards the net for an Andrew Mangiapane redirect to make it 1-0 Flames.
Shots were 11-10 Flames and scoring chances 9-6 Flames in the opening period.
The second period featured more action! Unfortunately, most of it was in the Calgary zone…
The Jets tied things up a few minutes into the period. Mason Appleton started the rush and headed into the Jets zone. Adam Lowry made an initial shot that Jacob Markstrom couldn’t fully snag, and Appleton jumped all over the loose puck and put it behind the Flames goalie to make it 1-1.
Midway through the period, Backlund turned over the puck in the offensive zone and Kyle Connor made the Flames pay. Connor grabbed the puck, turned on his jets (sorry) and beat Markstrom top shelf on a breakaway to make it 2-1 Jets.
And late in the period, the Flames got hemmed into their own end. The Jets cycled and had a couple good looks. Eventually, Mark Scheifele chipped the puck past Markstrom to give Winnipeg a 3-1 lead.
Shots were 11-7 Jets and scoring chances 9-1 Jets in the second period.
The Jets were content to clog up the ice for the third period. Appleton added an empty net goal to ice this one by a 4-1 score.
Shots were 6-6 and scoring chances 3-1 in the third period.
Why the Flames lost
The second period sag saw the Flames give up three goals and not muster much opposition in the process.
Markstrom stood on his head for big stretches of the game, but couldn’t do it on his own.
Mangiapane and Valimaki had flashes of strong play, too.
The turning point
Connor’s breakaway goal was the big swing point in the game, as the Flames couldn’t generate much of a push-back after giving up the lead fully.
Data via Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5v5.
This and that
Derek Ryan missed the last two periods after suffering an injury in the first period.
This was Backlund’s 700th NHL game.
The Flames (4-5-1) host the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night in the first of 10 instalments of the Battle of Alberta for 2020-21.