On Wednesday evening, the Winnipeg Jets came into Calgary needing a win over the Flames to punch their ticket to the post-season. The Flames needed a regulation win to maintain any flicker of playoff hope. The Jets were poised, structured and opportunistic and the Flames were, well, not, in a 4-0 Jets win at the Saddledome.
The Jets scored four times, each coming as a direct result of some challenges and miscues from the Flames.
- They went up 1-0 in the first period after the Flames were caught up ice just over a minute into the game, leading to a three-on-one rust that saw Adam Lowry put a shot over a sliding Michael Stone and past Jacob Markstrom’s glove.
- They went up 2-0 in the second period on a shorthanded two-on-none rush where Lowry scored again. That was caused by Nikita Nesterov putting a pass into Andrew Mangiapane’s skates, leading to a turnover and the odd-man rush.
- They went up 3-0 late in the second period, as the Flames pressed but hit a post. The puck bounced past Juuso Valimaki at the offensive blueline and Blake Wheeler scored on a breakaway the other way.
- They went up 4-0 early in the third period on a power play. Mark Giordano collided with Chris Tanev, who lost an edge. That allowed Mark Scheifele to find Wheeler with a nice pass for a tap-in.
Markstrom stopped Andrew Copp on a late third period penalty shot.
Why the Flames lost
The Flames weren’t awful, but they never really had enough sustained pressure to put the Jets on the ropes. The Jets, on the other hand, were completely content to feast on the Flames’ miscues. They played a patient, calm game, and were able to coast to victory.
Don’t put this loss on Markstrom. He didn’t make any big saves to save the Flames’ bacon, but he didn’t get very much help from the guys in front of him.
Let’s go with Giordano. The Flames’ captain played a ton, put pucks on net, and was generally quite good aside from Tanev accidentally wiping him out on the fourth Jets goal.
The turning point
It’s a cheat, but let’s go with the entire second period. The Flames pressed, had good looks, but found ways to (a) not score and (b) give the Jets enough daylight to bury them completely.
Data via Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5v5.
This and that
This was Johnny Gaudreau’s 515th career game, passing Guy Chouinard for sole possession of 19th all-time on the Flames franchise leaderboard.
This was the second time this season the Flames have failed to score a goal.
Calgary’s tragic number is down to 0.5. They cannot catch Toronto, Edmonton or Winnipeg. If Montreal gains a point in any way, or the Flames fail to win all their remaining games, the Flames will be eliminated from playoff contention.
The Flames (22-26-3) are back in game action on Sunday when they host the Ottawa Senators.