Just two games into their nine-meeting regular season series, it’s become apparent the Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames are two pretty evenly matched teams.
For the second straight matchup the Jets and Flames went to overtime, except this time it was the Flames who left with the extra point.
The Flames – by fluke and force – erased a 2-0 deficit with three straight goals, and after giving up a late tying goal, their hottest player, Johnny Gaudreau, iced it in the shootout for a 4-3 win.
Calgary flipped the script on Winnipeg after the Jets had erased a two-goal Flames’ lead on opening night to steal two points in a 4-3 overtime win.
“The hardest lead to hold in hockey is two,” Mark Scheifele said. “We got to be better. We got to stick to our game and we can’t sit back. We got to keep on being aggressive, and aggressive, and aggressive. We’ll learn from tonight and we’ll get right back at it tomorrow.”
Scheifele scored the tying goal with just 1:50 left in regulation time after Kyle Connor scored both of their first two goals.
The Jets failed to score at 5-on-5 against the Flames. Their first two goals were scored on the powerplay in the first period, while the equalizer came with the goalie pulled.
“A point is a point,” forward Kyle Connor said. “We came out good. We hopped off to a 2-0 lead. We knew they were going to push back in the second period, and they did. And we were on our heals a bit. Came on, and I thought we pushed pretty strong in the start of the third, and they kinda turned it up a notch. Like you said, it was kinda a roller coaster in that third. It was obviously great to tie it up, and lots of chances both ways in overtime.”
While the shots ended up being even in the final frame at 12 apiece, the ice was heavily tilted in the Flames favour for much of the third period as they tied it up and took the lead briefly.
“We suffered a ten-minutes in there that were tough,” head coach Paul Maurice said. “They were on us real good. We had a difficult time moving the puck, and sorting some of the D-zone out, but settled after that.”
Gaudreau, Chris Tanev, and Andrew Mangiapane had the markers for the Flames in the shootout win.
The Jets began the night with a new-look top six, swapping out centres Scheifele and Paul Stastny with their usual pairs on the wings.
Connor and captain Blake Wheeler moved down to the second line, while Andrew Copp and Nikolaj Ehlers were promoted to the top line alongside Scheifele.
“I liked them for awhile,” Maurice said. “I don’t think we had all of the six going at their best. We’ll chalk that up to a couple guys had tough nights, and we’ll take a look at it again tomorrow.”
Despite the shuffling, it was the “old” top line who scored the game’s first goal at 4:31 in the first period, when Scheifele and Connor connected on a cross-seam pass and the winger scored on the first powerplay of the game.
Ten minutes later, the top unit did it again – this time, Josh Morrissey moved the puck from the blue-line to Connor’s spot on the right-wing wall, and he again found the net behind Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom.
It’s the first time Connor has scored multiple power-play goals in a game.
The offence on the man-advantage masked what was largely a defensive first period five-on-five, with shots finishing 8-4 in favour of the home side.
Morrissey would leave the Jets’ bench before the first period expired, but was back on the ice for the second period face-off.
Seven seconds after that puck drop, it was back at centre ice – the Flames scoring their first of the game when Tanev’s dump-in skittered over the pad of Hellebuyck for an unlikely goal.
It seemed to spark the visitors, who had the majority of the chances over the next several minutes.
Hellebuyck and Markstrom wouldn’t let anything else by them before the end of the second period, with just 10 whistles blown in the first 40 minutes of play.
After the Flames opened the third with a couple of chances off the rush, Scheifele rung his chance to restore the two-goal lead off the goalpost during the Jets’ fourth power-play.
After the penalty expired, Gaudreau got lost behind Stastny while driving the post and tapped in a pass from Juuso Valimaki to tie the game.
It was Gaudreau’s sixth goal amid a season-opening point streak that’s now reached eight games, the league’s longest.
Elias Lindholm looked to give the Flames their first lead of the game just minutes later –but Hellebuyck reached back with the paddle of his stick to deny a sure goal.
Rookie defenseman Logan Stanley was sent to the box as a result of the play – but the Jets were able to keep the Flames’ dangerous power-play unit from taking advantage.
However it was seemingly inevitable following the penalty that Calgary wouldn’t be denied.
After a myriad of opportunities, Mangiapane scored his first of the season to give the Flames the late lead.
The Jets began their late-game push with four minutes left in regulation –hemming the Flames in their own end.
With Hellebuyck on the bench for the extra attacker, Scheifele struck gold – tipping a Neal Pionk point shot past Markstrom to tie the game at three.
Both the Jets and Flames would earn a point in the standings, ending regulation in search of the second point as the game headed to overtime.
Both Hellebuyck and Markstrom would finish with identical stat lines — 25 saves on 28 shots for a .893 save percentage.
Sean Monahan and Connor would each score in the shootout, before Gaudreau ended the affair with a nifty move to score through the legs of Hellebuyck in the fourth round.
The Jets have dropped back-to-back games for the first time this season, and now sport a 5-3-1 record.
Calgary’s now 4-3-1, with the least amount of games played among the NHL’s North Division.
For the Jets, Monday was the first of four straight meetings across the ice with Calgary.
The Flames will play a single game against the Oilers between it’s third and fourth meetings with the Jets over the next seven days.
The two teams will be right back at it on Tuesday night at Bell MTS Place.
Kelly Moore brings you the pre-game show at 5 p.m., before Paul Edmonds and Jamie Thomas have the call of the game at 7 p.m. – all live on 680 CJOB.