Calgary Flames beat down Winnipeg Jets to take Game 1

Calgary Flames (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
Calgary Flames (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images) /

In their first postseason test since last season, the Calgary Flames passed with flying colors, beating the Winnipeg Jets 4-1.

The Calgary Flames powered their way past the Winnipeg Jets to take Game 1 of their Stanley Cup Playoffs qualifying round series behind three special teams goals in the second period and devastating injuries to two Jets stars.

2020 All-Star forward Mark Scheifele suffered an injury 5:39 into the game on a collision with Matthew Tkachuk against the boards. Scheifele left the game with a left leg injury and would not return. Both player’s legs collided on the hit and Tkachuk’s skate came up and stuck the back of Scheifele’s left calf/heel area, and his legs crossed as he fell to the ice in pain.

Tkachuk and Jets captain Blake Wheeler would have a quick fight and assessed fighting majors at the 8:20 mark in the first. Andrew Copp would score 31 seconds after the fight off an Adam Lowry backhanded pass from behind the net to Copp for the one-timer snipe in the slot.

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The Jets controlled play for the next seven minutes up until Calgary’s first Power Play of the game with 5:41 left in the period. The Flames had two shots on goal in the period before their power play but had some late life adding seven shots on goal after to close the period with the 9-7 advantage in shots.

The Calgary Flames completely controlled the second period, scoring three special teams goals in the period to take control of the game. Calgary was third in the entire NHL with 16 regular season wins when giving up the first goal of the game, and were the only team on the five game slate on the day to win while giving up the first goal.

Johnny Gaudreau‘s power play goal 7:06 into the frame tied the game at 1. Gaudreau converted from the side of net off a feed from Flames Forward Sean Monahan. Monahan won a puck battle in front on a rebound off of a shot from the point to create the pass from the slot to an open Gaudreau.

Next, Calgary scored a shorthanded goal courtesy of Tobias Rieder off of a breakaway created from a Flames defenseman T.J. Brodie clear off the boards in the defensive zone with 7:09 to go in the period. A wide-open Mikael Backlund hammered a power play goal past Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck from the slot created by a puck battle won by Andrew Mangiapane in the corner with 1:46 left to go in the second.

That Power Play opportunity was created by an interference call on Cody Eakin drawn by Tkachuk. The Flames outshot the Jets 18-6 in the second period.

The Jets lost forward Patrik Laine eight minutes into the third from taking a cross-check delivered by Flames captain Mark Giordano. Laine laid a hit on Giordano along the board behind the net in the Flames defensive zone and Giordano answered with the cross-check that was not penalized. Laine did not return for the rest of the game.

The shorthanded Jets sustained heavy pressure in the offensive zone throughout the third but just could not muster enough quality chances on Flames goaltender Cam Talbot to get back into the game. Mangiapane sealed the victory with an empty-net goal to set the final score. The Jets finished the game 0-7 on the power play.

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2020 Vezina Trophy finalist Connor Hellebuyck started for the Jets as Cam Talbot got the Game 1 start over 2020 All-Star replacement David Rittich. Game 2 of this series will be Monday at 2:30 PM EST.