Flames beat Jets 3-2 to snap seven-game winless skid

CALGARY — Elias Lindholm and Adam Ruzicka each had a goal and assist on Saturday night as the Calgary Flames ended a seven-game winless skid with a 3-2 NHL victory over the Winnipeg Jets.

Trevor Lewis also scored for Calgary (6-6-2) while defenceman Rasmus Andersson chipped in with a pair of assists.

Neal Pionk and Pierre-Luc Dubois replied for Winnipeg (8-4-1), who entered the night on a 6-0-1 tear and possession of the league's third-longest active points streak.

Calgary native Josh Morrissey had two assists to continue his red-hot start. The Jets' leading scorer is already up to 13 assists, which is halfway to his career high of 26 set in 2019-20.

Getting the start for the Flames, Jacob Markstrom made 21 stops to improve to 5-3-2. Among his stops was a highlight-reel effort in the first when he slid across the crease, stacking his pads and windmilling out his catching hand to rob Mark Scheifele.

Connor Hellebuyck finished with 32 stops at the other end. His record falls to 7-3-1.

The key sequence in the game happened late in the second period with the scored tied 2-2.

Ten seconds into a holding penalty to Flames defenceman Mackenzie Weegar, Mikael Backlund broke in on a two-on-one and sent a perfect cross-ice pass to Lewis who went forehand to backhand as he cut across the top of the crease to give Calgary its third lead of the night.

With the Jets still on the power play for another 1:50, Backlund got the puck going down the wing again, but this time his attempted dump-in hit the referee instead and with Calgary caught mid-line change, Winnipeg transitioned back up the ice on what would have been a two-man breakaway, only to go offside.

But after the whistle, Andersson bumped Dubois into Markstrom causing a melee behind the Flames' net with the result being a tripping penalty on Markstrom and a two-man advantage for the visitors for 79 seconds.

But Calgary's maligned penalty kill came through to preserve the lead and ultimately the victory. After giving up power-play goals in seven straight games, the Flames have gone a perfect 8-for-8 in the last two games including 3-for-3 against the Jets.

Down 2-1 after the first period, Winnipeg tied it at 4:23 taking advantage of a lapse in defensive coverage by the Flames that left Dubois wide open for a tap-in after being set up neatly by Morrissey.

Calgary had taken its second lead at 17:22 of the first on a pretty set up from Lindholm who spotted Ruzicka steaming toward the net and set him up with a cross-ice pass that the Slovakian buried for his first of the season.

A healthy scratch through 10 of the first 11 games, Ruzicka was playing his third consecutive game and doing so in place of injured Jonathan Huberdeau (upper body) on the left side of the Flames' No. 1 line with Lindholm and Tyler Toffoli.

Ruzicka was also a central figure in Calgary's opening goal at 3:23, flinging a backhand toward the front of the net from the corner that glanced off the stick of Lindholm in front and squeaked between Hellebuyck's pads.

Pionk tied it 1-1 at 14:46 of the first when his point shot caromed in off Flames' defenceman Connor Mackey.

FIRST GOAL WINS

Flames scored first for the sixth game in a row, but the team's seven-game winless skid is proof that it hasn't been the recipe for success like it was a year ago. Calgary entered the night with a .250 winning percentage (2-4-2) which tied them with the Ottawa Senators for last in the NHL.

TANEV'S RETURN

After missing five games with an upper body injury, Calgary welcomed back veteran defenceman Chris Tanev. However, he did not return to his regular D pairing, instead partnering with Mackey, who returned after being a healthy scratch the past two games. Nick DeSimone and Dennis Gilbert, who began the season in the minors but had been the Flames' third pairing for the past two games, were both scratches.

UP NEXT

Jets: Are back in action Sunday night when they complete their short weekend road trip in Seattle against the Kraken.

Flames: Calgary plays host to the Los Angeles Kings on Monday, before heading back on the road for a six-game trip. .

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 12, 2022.

Darren Haynes, The Canadian Press