Winnipeg Jets win third straight, down Calgary Flames 3-2

·3 min read

CALGARY — Paul Stastny scored the eventual game-winner for the Winnipeg Jets in a 3-2 victory Friday over the host Calgary Flames.

Stastny, Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor each had a goal and an assist for Winnipeg (21-11-2).

The Jets drew even with the Toronto Maple Leafs atop the North Division with 44 points apiece, although the Leafs had a game in hand.

Winnipeg goaltender Connor Hellebuyck made 25 saves for the win in his league-leading 27th start of the season.

Milan Lucic and Matthew Tkachuk scored in a fourth straight loss for the Flames (15-17-3). Calgary's Jacob Markstrom stopped 26-of-29 shots in the loss.

Winnipeg has allowed just three goals against over three consecutive victories. The Jets scored two power-play goals for the fourth time in their last eight games.

"Our game's been right on here for a bit now," Wheeler said. "You have confidence in that it can give you a chance to win every single night now. There's going to be nights when it doesn't go your way.

"That's where you build confidence, that even though it doesn't go your way, the next night you can rely on a brand of hockey that can give you some success."

The Flames have mustered just four goals in their last four games. Calgary is 4-5-0 since Darryl Sutter took over as head coach March 8.

"We had some real dopey players in the first period," Sutter said. "It cost us the hockey game. We had some dopey players who didn't wake up until we were down a goal, which is unfortunate."

Calgary ranked sixth in the North Division and was four points back of the Montreal Canadiens holding down the fourth and final playoff spot.

"Lose another one-goal game and it sucks," Lucic said. "Running out of time, running out of games, got to start getting in the win column if we have any type of chance."

Calgary is at home to Winnipeg on Saturday and Monday. The Jets lead the season series 4-1-1.

With Markstrom pulled for an extra attacker, Tkachuk tipped in an Elias Lindholm shot at 18:01 of the third period to draw the hosts within a goal.

Markstrom still on the bench and Stastny serving a tripping penalty on Tkachuk, the Flames couldn't produce the equalizer 6-on-4 over the final seconds.

"That was a long minute fifty two I was in the box or something like that," Stastny said. "A game like that, special teams is the difference and it showed at the end."

While Calgary tried to kill off a Lucic double minor midway through third period, Markstrom's clearing attempt over the glass gave the Jets a two-man advantage.

Stastny scored Winnipeg's second power-play goal from the slot on a feed from Wheeler at 14:54.

Lucic was slapped with boarding and roughing penalties while tangling with Winnipeg defenceman Neal Pionk.

"I'm not a huge fan of the roughing call, especially when Pionk engages me and gives me a cross check first, but (it) ends up being costly," Lucic said.

Mikael Backlund's sharp-angled shot deflected off both Lucic and Jets defenceman Josh Morrissey for Calgary's first goal at 6:52 of the third.

The visitors led 2-0 heading into the third. Connor lifted his own rebound over the right pad of Markstrom for his team-leading 17th goal of the season at 5:33 of the second.

Stastny's redirect of a Connor shot deflected off Wheeler's skate and by Markstrom for a power-play goal at 9:13 of the first period.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 26, 2021.

The Canadian Press