Coming off a third-straight road victory on Friday evening, the Winnipeg Jets looked to pick things back up where they left off against a familiar opponent on Saturday evening. Playing the late game of the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast in Calgary, Winnipeg took on the Flames in the second of three-straight matchups with its North Division rival in Alberta.
Opting to swap one hot goaltender for another, Connor Hellebuyck found a seat on the bench Saturday night, while Laurent Brossoit drew back into the net for a Winnipeg team that saw no other significant changes to the lineup that won 3-2 just 24 hours prior. Despite sticking with the same crew, the Jets were unable to inflict the same sort of pain to the Flames, this time falling 4-2 in a game that was decided in the third period.
The rather slow-paced opening frame saw the Jets and Flames actually put up a grand total of 22 shots, with the host team leading the way with 15 pucks on net. The most entertainment in the early stages of the period was some follow-up retribution dealt to Neal Pionk by Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk from a heavy hit delivered to Johnny Gaudreau on Friday evening.
For the first time in five games, the Jets surrendered the game’s opening goal. And it took nearly the entire opening frame for the home team to find the twine. Coming off a broken play, Calgary potted a rebound marker after some netfront jamming between Sean Monahan and Josh Lievo on a loose puck that Brossoit should have probably covered.
Calgary added to its lead with Dylan DeMelo in the box for interference late in the frame. With just 30 seconds remaining the penalty, a Mark Giordano one-timer redirected off Mason Appleton and bounced past Brossoit, giving the Flames a 2-0 lead through 20 minutes of play.
Trailing 15-7 in the shot chart through the first period, Appleton and the Jets wasted little time getting back in the goal column. Just 34 seconds into the middle stanza, Andrew Copp got Appleton the puck in the middle of the ice, who had all day to place it in the net past David Rittich. He did just so for his ninth goal of the season, bringing his club to within one of the host.
Then, it was Logan Stanley who found his first goal of the season just six minutes later. Walking and ripping a perfect wrist shot bar-down past Rittich, the rookie defenceman tied the game with over 30 minutes left to play.
Flipping the script from the start of the second period, Calgary picked up the opening goal of the third just 49 seconds into the frame. Collecting a Noah Hanifin pass, Andrew Mangiapane walked up the ice and put a seemingly innocent shot on net. On the Flames’ first shot of the period, the puck redirected off the stick of Tucker Poolman beating Brossoit low, short-side.
The with 12:12 to go, Brossoit found himself as the recipient of some more bad luck. Sam Bennett carried the puck up ice and dumped it in towards the direction of the Jets’ net. Initially heading wide, Brossoit reached his stick to the side of the net to direct the puck to his defenceman and unintentionally deflected it into this own net, gifting Calgary a two-goal lead just 7:48 into the final period of play.
Despite a late-period surge, the Jets were unable to rally from the two-goal deficit. The closest the team came with Brossoit on the bench for the extra attacker was a loose puck scramble that saw Blake Wheeler stuffed on the goal line, with Rittich reaching back and snagging the puck just in time.
Brossoit stopped just 29 of Calgary’s 33 shots on the night, while seeing his record fall to 5-3-0 with the loss on Saturday. His counterpart David Rittich turned aside 21 of Winnipeg’s 23 shots, who saw his record improve to 4-6-1 on the season. With the loss, Winnipeg’s record now sits at 21-12-2 through 35 games.
After two games in just a little over 24 hours, the Jets and Flames will have a full day off before duking it out in the third-straight game between the two foes, which is set to be played at 9:00 PM central on Monday. Viewable on TSN, the game will also serve as Winnipeg’s final matchup in what has been a season-long seven-game road trip out west. The club finally returns home on Wednesday, for the first of two-straight against the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs.