The Calgary Flames looked to string together a couple of wins to keep their playoff hopes alight, but the Winnipeg Jets had other plans.
The game virtually opened with a Flames power play as Andrew Copp was nabbed with a hooking call 33 seconds into the game. On the ensuing power play, the Flames got ahead early on an absolute beauty of a passing sequence between Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, and Elias Lindholm. What a glimpse of what this team could have been on the man-advantage this season if they weren’t so, you know, bad on the man-advantage.
As the first period drew towards its end, an on-ice controversy involving Nate Thompson occurred. Thompson is no stranger to controversial goals against the Flames, and this time he was awarded a goal on an extremely questionable kicking motion. Alas, the goal stood and the game was tied.
Before the period was over, the Jets scored again, with Mark Scheifele converting on a two-on-one for the goal after Tkachuk was seeking a penalty call that he didn’t get.
Early in the second, Scheifele scored again for the Jets, picking up his own rebound to make it 3-1 for Winnipeg. The Flames appeared to get back within one shortly after, but the goal was immediately waved off for goalie interference. The Jets instead extended their lead before the second period was over with Andrew Copp finishing off a three-on-two thanks to perfectly one-timed pass from Nicolaj Ehlers.
The Flames were down 4-1 heading into the third period, with nothing going right for the team while the Jets were able to convert on basically every good chance they got. In the final frame, David Rittich started, replacing Jacob Markstrom on a night he’d soon rather forget.
However, Pierre-Luc Dubois scored early in the third to make it 5-1 Winnipeg, virtually knocking off any chance the Flames might have had at mounting a comeback. However, no more goals were scored and the Flames would lose by at least four goals against while scoring just one goal for the fifth time this season (they currently lead the league in this stat, if leading is even the right word here).
All five of Winnipeg’s goals came at 5v5, which is not a good look for the Flames. The thing though, was that Calgary was not bad all things considered. While the Jets were definitely the better team this game, the Flames were able to get decent quality shots off most of the night, and it was game that was won by Connor Hellebuyck, Ehlers, and Scheifele.
Referring to the shot locations, this game has been one of Calgary’s best games under Sutter in terms of getting in close before shooting, but even with a handful of shots right in front of the net (with a good portion coming at 5v5), they were only able to score once on the power play. If this was earlier in the season, it’s a game the Flames can easily build on and see the good in their game despite the score.
However, it’s too little too late now. The only reasonable way the Flames might have a shot at making the playoffs at this point is if Montreal also completely collapses and Calgary sweeps the remaining games against them too. The odds are as stacked as they can be right now, so might as well get to the phones and see what can be recouped out of the group of rentable players the Flames have on their roster.
The game visualisations are below. Bonus tweet about a player not mentioned in the recap at the bottom of the post. When you see it, you’ll understand.
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