The Calgary Flames have seen a lot of the Winnipeg Jets in 2020-21. It took them five tries, but the Flames played a very strong 60 minutes and managed to ride depth scoring and a timely power play goal to their first regulation victory over the Jets this season. They beat Winnipeg at Saddledome by a 3-2 score.
There was no scoring in the first period, but Flames skated well and aside from some early clunkiness had an effective transition game. They looked good and were a bit unlucky not to score. Shots were 11-10 Flames and scoring chances 9-4 Flames in the first period.
The second period, thankfully, had a bit more goal-scoring. The Flames were a bit scrambly in their own zone, gave up some chances and took a penalty. On the ensuing Jets power play, Nikolaj Ehlers just sniped the top corner past Jacob Markstrom to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
But the Flames answered back soon after. After corralling a loose puck off a zone entry, Milan Lucic chipped a pass over Mason Appleton’s stick. Mikael Backlund put that bouncing puck on net. Connor Hellebuyck made the initial save, but Andrew Mangiapane jammed in the rebound to tie the game at 1-1.
The Flames took a lead a little later off a rare goal from the fourth line. Juuso Valimaki put a low slap-pass towards the slot. Byron Froese held off Adam Lowry and deflected the puck past Hellebuyck to give the Flames a 2-1 lead.
But a few minutes later, the Jets got it back. Mark Scheifele and Ehlers were sprung into the Flames end a two-on-one. Ehlers beat Markstrom with quick wrister to tie the game back up at 2-2.
Shots were 9-7 Jets and scoring chances 8-5 Flames in the second period.
The third period was pretty even, with both clubs getting decent looks here and there. Johnny Gaudreau drew a late high-sticking penalty and on the ensuing advantage, the Flames’ power play cashed in. Elias Lindholm put a wrist shot off Josh Morrissey’s skate and past Hellebuyck to give them a late 3-2 lead.
The Flames held on for the victory. Shots were 11-8 Flames in the third period.
Why the Flames won
Aside from some puck management foibles here and there in their own zone, generally the better team in all three zones. They were unfortunate not to cash in more often at five-on-five, but they were rewarded on the power play.
It’s a joint award to the superb Mangiapane, Backlund and Lucic trio. They were excellent at even strength and probably should’ve scored more than once.
The turning point
Lindholm’s game-winning goal with 1:42 remaining in regulation was fairly clutch, all things considered.
Data via Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5v5.
This and that
Since his last NHL goal, Froese had played eight NHL games (with Calgary and Montreal) and 92 AHL games.
The Flames (6-5-1) are off to the coast for three consecutive games at Rogers Arena against the Vancouver Canucks.