After the Flames dominated the Jets to win the first game of the series, the Jets were back with a vengeance in Game 2.
Jets coach Paul Maurice was quick to throw Matthew Tkachuk under the bus for attempting to injury Scheifele, even though almost every human being on the planet can easily tell that Scheifele was injured on an unfortunate accidental play that Tkachuk just happened to be near to. Regardless, the Jets were flying high to start the game, and one of the players who entered the lineup due to the injuries opened the scoring. Dillon Dube lost his check at the Flames blueline which sprung Jansen Harkins on a partial break who beat Talbot upstairs.
It was an important goal for the Jets, as they seized momentum and really didn’t give it away the rest of the night. For some reason, these playoffs aren’t being reffed like a normal playoff series. Every little jab, slash, bump, and crosscheck is being called, which really didn’t help the Flames in yesterday’s game. Early in the second period, both T.J. Brodie and Zac Rinaldo were whistled for penalties at the same time, giving the Jets a full two minute 5-on-3 powerplay.
Fortunately, the Flames killed it off, but failed to turn the tides of the game and surrendered the game’s next goal to Adam Lowry just after the expiration of the penalties. Down two, the Flames got chippy which only resulted in more trips to the box. In total, the Flames took seven minor penalties in the game (one was a coincidental minor).
It wasn’t over though. Elias Lindholm and Sam Bennett scored back to back goals, the first was a beautiful shot in tight and the second a bounce in off Nathan Beaulieu’s skate. The Flames were in a tie game despite being outplayed and outworked by the Jets all day.
However, after not scoring on seven powerplays in Game 1, the Jets finally scored on the man advantage off a Nikolaj Ehlers tip in to take the lead again. That ended up being the game winner, a huge win for the Jets and a huge lesson learned for the Flames. Game 3 goes tomorrow afternoon at 4:45 local time.
5V5 PLAYER STATS
- Johnny Gaudreau led the way for the Flames with a whopping 70.6% CF in the game.
- Eight other Flames forwards joined him with “elite” CF% (over 55%): Sean Monahan, Noah Hanifin, Elias Lindholm, Mikael Backlund, Matthew Tkachuk, Andrew Mangiapane, Dillon Dube, Rasmus Andersson, and Erik Gustafsson.
- The real problems were at the feet of the bottom six, with Rinaldo posting one of the worst Corsi ratings I’ve seen in a very long time at 11.1%. The entire third line (Tobias Rieder and Derek Ryan along with Rinaldo) was at -44% CF%-rel. That’s really bad.
- Only one Jet played more than 10 minutes at even strength and posted over a 50% CF: Kyle Connor at 52.2%
- Overall, Gabriel Bourque led the Jets with 60.0% CF in the game.
- Despite scoring the game winner, Ehlers was the worst Jet at 40.9% CF.
STATS COURTESY: NATURAL STAT TRICK
THOUGHTS ON THE GAME
Ugh. In a game where the opponent was missing arguably their two best offensive players, plus a third player in their bottom-six, you’d expect the Flames to just dominate from start to finish. Alas, that’s how how humans work. The Jets were very clearly a team possessed in this game. They were stronger out the gate, and just worked so hard to keep get and keep their lead.
Connor Hellebuyck was his usual incredible self, and the Jets targeted the Flames’ attack on every rush. It seemed like there were five Jets players clogging up the neutral zone on each breakout opportunity, and at the same time two Jets forward forechecking at all times. It was a real struggle for the Flames to get out of their own zone, and when they did, it was even harder to gain the Jets’ line and get things going.
To their credit, the Jets played a good game. It wasn’t amazing, but it was good enough to win yesterday. At the same time, I don’t think the Flames really played their best game at all, and still only happened to lose on a late third period PP goal. It wasn’t like they got walked on, and it looked like the Jets really emptied the tank to get that Game 2 win.
The Flames who played well, aka those with insane possession numbers listed above, were fantastic in the game. They created chances, were stingy defensively, and didn’t miss a beat from Game 1. The issues came up when the players who didn’t play well were on the ice. This includes the fourth line, but also Mark Giordano and Brodie, Bennett, and Derek Forbort.
It looked like a lot of Flames were really fighting the puck. Passes weren’t clean, there were lots of miscues in the defensive zone, and above all else, there were way too many stupid retaliatory penalties taken.
I get why people like Bennett. He’s a guy you can rally behind in the playoffs because he hits things and actually looks like he belongs on the ice. Truth be told, I’m not the biggest Bennett fan out there, but let’s be honest here: he scored yesterday and was still a huge liability on the ice. Taking a dumb crosschecking penalty right off the faceoff after the Flames just killed off a Jets powerplay was beyond annoying, even though we’ve seen stupid things like that from Bennett for years. It wasn’t just him this time though, Mangiapane took a dumb penalty late in the game as well, and the whole team just needs to clean it up for Game 3.
Rinaldo was horrendous in this one, and really shouldn’t be in the lineup for Game 3. Insert your pick of Alan Quine or Austin Czarnik to replace him and the Flames have a much stronger lineup. Unfortunately, it’ll probably be Mark Jankowski back in for Game 3 so get ready for another game where the fourth line barely plays because the Jets burn them whenever they’re out there.
A cleaner game with more attention to detail is all the Flames need to take the 2-1 series lead. They’re the better team now without a doubt, and they need to prove it after giving away Game 2.
THE GAUD, THE BAD, AND THE Ugly
Good: The Flames didn’t quit and battled back from two goals down. Hopefully they weren’t too rattled after losing the game to come back harder and stronger in Game 3.
Bad: The powerplay didn’t score on six attempts and that was the difference in the game. The Jets managed one for six and that goal was the winner. Need to be better with a man up.
Beautiful: Talbot’s save on Connor just at the end of the second period was absolutely phenomenal.
Opponent: Winnipeg Jets
Series Score: 1-1