Winnipeg Jets Douse Flames in Shootout

CALGARY, AB - JANUARY 20: Blake Wheeler
CALGARY, AB - JANUARY 20: Blake Wheeler /

The Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames both come off their respective bye-weeks in a matinée match at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary. Can the Flames extend their winning streak to 8 games? Or will the Jets regain their central division lead?

The Winnipeg Jets are 3-2-1 in January while their opponents are 5-0. The two losses combined with their bye-week allowed the Nashville Predators to overtake them for the central division lead. The streaking Flames have now moved into second place behind the west leading Las Vegas Golden Knights. Points are at a premium and wins are huge with only a few points separating a team from being in a playoff spot or on the outside looking in. Both teams knew how serious this game was and came to play. It would be a close game from start to finish.

Two surprise starts for both teams as Brandon Tanev and Sean Monahan would make their return to their respective lineups. Tanev was out with a lower-body injury while Monahan missed Calgary’s last game with the flu.

The Jets started much better off than their last two tilts before the bye-week. They used their speed to get separation in the zone and finished plays to get good scoring chances on the opposing goaltender. Nikolaj Ehlers looked rejuvenated from the rest as he was flying up and down the ice all night. He created offense and put solid shots on Calgary goaltender Mike Smith. Though he was not able to solve Smith, he was a thorn in Calgary’s side all night long.

The Winnipeg Jets Nikolaj Ehlers would use his speed to terrorize the Flames all game long.
CALGARY, AB – JANUARY 20: Nikolaj Ehlers /

1st Period

Both teams exchanged chances in the first, the ice tilting slightly in the Winnipeg Jets favor due to some good defensive play in front of Connor Hellebuyck. Bryan Little was instrumental to the Jet’s pressure as he was creating chances all throughout the game. It was good to see Little back in the mix of things after being held quiet in the Winnipeg Jets last two losses.

The first penalty was given to Winnipeg on a Too Many Men call. Not long into the Flames first power play, Sean Monahan would try to skate around Tyler Myers and be hauled down. The ensuing call, however, did not give the Flames a two-man advantage. Instead, to the chagrin of the fans in Calgary, Monahan was called for holding Myers. The video replay would show that Myers was indeed held and Monahan made it look good. Good catch by the refs.

With Monahan in the box and the Jets relieved to not be 2 men down, TJ Brodie would score on the 4 on 4 to give Calgary the lead. The Jets would then get their first power play as the Winnipeg penalty expired. They would generate some good looks, but would not be able to tie things up.

The first 10 minutes would show that both teams had no rust from their respective bye-weeks. Both exchanged chances and were crisp in their rushes. It would become apparent mid-way through the first period that this would be an exciting but close game. The Winnipeg Jets defense was active, putting good shots on Smith and testing him throughout the first. Smith, however, would be solid in net for the Flames.

The Challenge

The Flames seemed to take the lead on Troy Brouwer cleaning up a rebound just in front of paint. Yet a challenge by Paul Maurice for goaltender interference would negate the goal. Matthew Tkachuk pushed Matt Hendricks just enough into Hellebuyck to interfere with his chance to make the save on Brouwer. The Jets would dodge a bullet and then respond with some solid zone time in Calgary’s end. But the Flames would consistently collapse down low in front of Mike Smith. Disrupting play chances through the center and blocking shots from the Jets defense at the point.

The play in the first was exciting and fairly even. The Flames generated their offense off the rush. While the Jets manufactured good possession time at Calgary’s end. All the good work by the Winnipeg would show in a 15-9 shot advantage after the first period.

2nd Period

The second period would start off with a bang as Ehlers would receive a beautiful feed from Dustin Byfuglien. In all alone, Ehlers would cut in on Smith who had to make a highlight reel save. Both teams would continue the seesaw play from the first, each getting chances that were answered by their respective netminders.

A scary moment for the Jets in the second when Nikolaj Ehlers would go inside and around on TJ Brodie only to get a triceps in his jaw for his efforts. Nikolaj would go down with a grunt and groggily skate back to the Jets bench. No call came from the refs as it was judged to be accidental contact. Ehlers would return not long later to Jets fans relief.

Calgary would get their second power play from a holding call on Morrissey as he tangled with Tkachuk. The Jets were able to kill it off with more great goaltending from Hellebuyck. Bryan Little would then respond after the penalty kill with a back hander that tipped off Mathieu Perreault and past Mike Smith. While Perreault would get credit for the goal, it was all Little on the game-tying play.

So Close, Jack

The Flames would try to answer with a 2 on 1 from Johnny Gaudreau that forced another superb save by Hellebuyck. Winnipeg would get their second power play of the night from a good play by Ehlers forcing Travis Hamonic to take him down. The tripping call would see some good rotation from the Jets and a post from Jack Roslovic, but no go-ahead goal. Some casual play by the Jets on Calgary’s blue line would give the Flames two good shorthanded chances. Jankowski would get a breakaway stopped by Hellebuyck on the first. While the second saw Blake Wheeler cough it up only to also get a slashing call as he broke up the play at the other end.

Calgary would see some good chances on the ensuing power play, but could not solve Hellebuyck.  Gaudreau would have yet another prime chance at the end of the period but he would remain scoreless despite his chances.

Big bodies Dustin Byfuglien and Micheal Ferland would throw their weight around all game long. Both players would each get good hits in on each other to the delight of everyone at the Saddledome.

3rd Period

Right off the puck drop, the Jets would execute a set play sending Ehlers all alone in front. Smith would once again make a sparkling save to keep the game tied. Smith had to be good in this game as the Jets put some quality shots on him all throughout the afternoon. Hellebuyck would not be outshined as he would also get his share of the save spotlight.

Gaudreau would be hauled down, but could not convert on the power play. The third period would mimic the previous two as both teams exchanged chances. The play would tighten up as the clock wound down and both sides realized a valuable point was a steak. However, in the final two minutes, both teams would get golden chances to seal the win. Once again both Hellebuyck and Smith would keep their teams alive.


Winnipeg is 0-6 in the 3 on 3 overtime frame so far this season. Calgary, on the other hand, is an impressive 6-1 in sudden death. It would be the Jets however with the better of the chances. Byfuglien would steal the puck and lumber on in alone on Smith who stood tall keeping the game alive. Patrik Laine would have the next quality chance on an inside-out play that got him right in Smiths crease. The Jets played smart, looking for openings and countering any of the Flames pushes with fast turnaround breakouts into scoring opportunities. The overtime would end not long after TJ Brodie put three chances to seal the win in on Hellebuyck. Connor gave up the rebound but was able to block the following two with his right pad. As the game was at the start, so it finished. An even tilt by two good teams.


Bryan Little continued with his best performance in a while by planting the Winnipeg Jets first chance behind Smith. Mark Jankowski would be next up for the Flames, earning the chance by his good play all game long. However, Hellebuyck would seal the right side to keep the Jets in the shootout lead.

Patrik Laine would be next for Winnipeg, coming in from the circle with speed. But Mike Smith would taunt Laine before flashing a poke-check fake that seemed to throw Laine off just enough to keep the shot harmless. Sean Monahan would be stoned cold by Hellebuyck to finish the second round.

Paul Maurice sent his captain out for the third round. Blake Wheeler would stretch Smith with a nice fake and tuck the puck in behind him for the win.


A big win in a good game by two playoff teams. The Jets returned to form and seemed to have really needed that weeks worth of rest. Players like Ehlers and Little were flying out there all game long and were difference makers. With the victory, Winnipeg keeps pace with the Nashville Predators. Who still retain the central division crown with their win over the Florida Panthers today.

The Jets will return home to face the Vancouver Canucks and Calder candidate Brock Boeser tomorrow night at 7 pm CST.

Next: Michael Hutchinson Out to Prove Winnipeg Wrong

Whiteout’s 3 Stars of the Game

Connor Hellebuyck – What a season this kid is having. He was solid and unflappable as he has been all season. The Flames had chances and Connor was up to the task. If the Winnipeg Jets have any chance at winning it all this year it will be on this 24-year-olds shoulders.

Mike Smith – Smith had to be good, and was. His team got a point from this game all because of his play. His show of moxy on the Laine shootout attempt showed he is confident and in the zone. Thought the Jets may have halted the Flames 7 game win streak, expect Calgary to keep going strong with Smith playing this well for them.

Bryan Little – It was nice to see Bryan have a good night. He was all over the place with speed and playmaking putting pressure on the Flames from the first puck drop. Only fitting that he give the Jets the lead in the shootout as the first shooter. Good on Maurice for rewarding Little for his effort by putting him as the first shooter. Paul played the hot hand as was rewarded his confidence in his veteran center.