The Winnipeg Jets closed out their preseason schedule on Friday evening in Alberta. Facing off against former North Division rival Calgary Flames for the second time in 48 hours, the Jets were looking to build off a narrow 3-2 victory from Canada Life Centre on Wednesday. Unfortunately for Winnipeg, things did not go according to plan at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
The visitors got off to a poor start, as Neal Pionk found himself in the penalty box just 27 seconds into the game. The Jets’ best defenceman didn’t have to wait long for the expiration of his tripping minor, however. Taking just 13 seconds to find the net, Calgary opened the scoring with its first power play goal of the game.
The beneficiary of the game’s first goal was Andrew Mangiapane, who was the Flames forward that actually drew the tripping call on Pionk. Linemate Johnny Gaudreau directed a shot towards Connor Hellebuyck, but it hit defenceman Logan Stanley, changing direction and landed on the stick of Mangiapane. He swiftly put it past Hellebuyck and into the net before Pionk even had a chance to take a sip of the penalty box water bottle.
Calgary then doubled its lead on another power play strike. After Winnipeg failed to capitalize on back-to-back man advantages, Dominic Toninato found himself in the sin bin for cross checking. This time, the Flames needed a full 1:02 of power play time to score.
With 6:56 left in the period, Sean Monahan collected a rebound tally, putting the home team up 2-0. A long-range Rasmus Andersson point shot landed on the stick on Elias Lindholm, who put a good move on Hellebuyck, before getting the puck to Monahan cross-crease.
Monahan’s tally was looking like the final goal of the game until midway through the third frame. Seemingly dead out of water, Winnipeg managed to bulge the twine on a seemingly innocent Logan Stanley wrist shot.
With Paul Stastny helping rim the puck along the side boards, newcomer Nate Schmidt collected the disc at the point and dished it to Stanley. The big bodied blueliner moved towards the Flames’ net and wired a wrist shot past Jacob Markstrom. The shot beat the goaltender, cutting Calgary’s lead in half with 7:30 gone in the third.
Despite the momentary momentum swing, it took the Flames just 1:16 to regain their two-goal lead. With Mark Scheifele finding himself flying head over teakettle behind the Calgary net, the Flames worked the puck up ice and scored on Elias Lindholm’s first of the preseason.
The goal certainly wouldn’t have occurred without the great setup pass from Johnny Gaudreau. Finding his mate with a perfect, no-look dart, Gaudreau picked up the primary assist on the goal that made it 3-1. The secondary assist went to Andersson, for his third helper of the game.
Although the shots were an even 23-23, Markstrom outplayed Hellebuyck, as Calgary put up three goals and took the final game of the preseason 3-1. With the exhibition season now over, Winnipeg will turn its attention to the opening game of the 2021-22 regular season, a road battle in California with the Anaheim Ducks on October 13.