Although the C of the Red invaded Winnipeg Saturday evening, the majority of fans at Bell MTS Place left the rink in good spirits, as the home team defeated its Canadian rival on the heels of a huge 4-3 victory over the second-place Bruins Thursday.
Starting the game quite hesitantly, Winnipeg was outshot 8-7 in the opening frame Saturday, but escaped the period up 1-0 on the scoreboard. With just eight seconds to play, a pinching Ben Chiarot controlled a loose puck, walked down the halfway and found a wide open Mark Scheifele all alone in front of the Flames’s net. The Jets’ leading goal getter put his 34th of the season past Calgary’s Mike Smith, giving Winnipeg a 1-0 lead through 20 minutes of play.
Calgary responded seven minutes into the second stanza, scoring a great looking goal while shorthanded. With Mikael Backlund in the box for four minutes for high sticking Bryan Little, the Flames put their league-leading penalty killing unit to work.
Following a great defensive zone effort, Calgary’s Mark Giordano, Elias Lindholm and Mark Jankowski combined for a very pretty passing play, that saw Jankowski redirect a Lindholm offering past Connor Hellebuyck, knotting the game up at ones midway through the second.
Winnipeg’s four-minute power play did not fully go to waste however, as Mathieu Perreault was able to find his 14th goal of the season on that same man advantage, three minutes after Jankowski’s game-tying marker. Jack Roslovic swung at a Tyler Myers point shot, and followed up his redirection by jamming at the loose puck. Perreault flew into the scrum and dislodged the puck, banking it past Smith at into the Flames’ net for a Jets’ power play go-ahead goal, and his third goal in his past four games.
Although many chances occurred later in the second and third periods, neither the Flames or Jets could find another goal, with Winnipeg walking away with the 2-1 win on home ice. Calgary piled on the pressure in the final 20 minutes, outshooting the Jets 14-3 in the third period, and 28-21 overall. Hellebuyck made 27 saves for his 30th win of the season, while Smith turned aside 19 pucks Saturday.
After going 2-1-0 on its current three-game mini homestead, Winnipeg will now travel west to Los Angeles for a three-game road trip to the Pacific Division, facing off against the Kings on Monday, the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday and the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday. Monday’s game in Los Angeles features a 9:30 PM central start time, while Wednesday’s and Thursday’s contests get underway at 9:00 PM. All three games are available on TSN3.