Flames ground Jets 5-3
Friday, 03.09.2012 / 11:51 PMCALGARY --
The Calgary Flames
waited nearly 16 years to welcome back the Winnipeg Jets
-- and when they did, they weren't so hospitable.
Calgary scored three goals in the first 13 minutes and goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff
stopped 42 shots en route to a 5-3 victory in the Jets' first game at the Scotiabank Saddledome since March 31, 1996.
"The atmosphere in the building was great," said Alex Tanguay
, who had a goal and three assists. "The Jets fans were here and they were certainly very loud. It helps our crowd as well. They were trying to match up and over-cheer the Jets fans."
For the Flames, earning two points in a tight Western Conference playoff race was more rewarding than any sense of nostalgia. With the victory, Calgary jumped ahead of the Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings and into ninth position in the West, one point in back of the eighth-place San Jose Sharks.
"It's huge," Matt Stajan
said. "We've just got to take care of our business and there are going to be teams that are going to win games and teams that lose games. All we can do is control what we do. Hopefully we look at the newspaper tomorrow morning and we sit in a better position but we can't have any let-ups, we can't be satisfied with anything."
The Jets, entrenched in their own battle in the East, have lost back-to-back road games on consecutive nights and remain ninth in the conference with 72 points. The eight-place Washington Capitals also have 72 points but have two games in hand.
"It's not the way you want to play," goaltender Ondrej Pavelec
said. "We've been on the road like that all year long. It's not working like that. If we want to make the playoffs we have to change something because we're going to play a lot of hockey on the road."
The Flames wasted little welcoming the Jets back to Calgary with Mark Giordano
's power play goal just 3:54 into the game. With Mark Flood
in the penalty box on a delay-of-game call, Giordano fired a seeing-eye point shot through a crowd and between the legs of Pavelec to make it 1-0.
Calgary added to the lead three minutes later during another man-advantage. A patient Olli Jokinen
found Jarome Iginla
driving to the net with a pass that the Flames' captain redirected past Pavelec at 6:47 for the 2-0 lead.
Calgary continued the poor hospitality courtesy of Stajan, who chipped Iginla's rebound over a downed Pavelec at 12:51 for his 100th career NHL goal and a 3-0 lead.
"I would never have even dreamed of scoring one goal as a little kid, so this is a good feeling, but it's a big win," Stajan said. "Right now, we're trying to make the playoffs and what you do as a team is most important."
The Flames were friendlier to their guests in the second half of the opening period, failing to record a shot on Pavelec after Stajan's goal and letting the Jets climb back into the game.
cut the lead to 3-1 with 2:29 remaining in the period, and Blake Wheeler
scored his 17th of the season with just 26.2 seconds on the clock by firing a wrist shot over the glove of Kiprusoff to trim the lead to one after 20 minutes.
"We did a good job of climbing back and getting it to 3-2," Winnipeg captain Andrew Ladd
said. "I thought we had a pretty good feeling in here coming back after the first. It's a matter of getting that first one in the second and we weren't able to do it."
The Jets nearly got that goal five minutes into the second period. After Pavelec stopped Jokinen on a partial breakaway, Bryan Little
fired a Dustin Byfuglien
rebound off the skate blade of Giordano and off the post.
Winnipeg's misfortune turned into an opportunity for the Flames courtesy of Tanguay. Picking up the puck off a broken play by Iginla, Tanguay outwaited Pavelec, got him to go down and fired the puck over him to extend the lead to 4-2 at 12:53.
The Flames made it 5-2 when Curtis Glencross
scored in his sixth consecutive game. On the power play, Tanguay corralled a rebound off the pad of Pavelec and found Glencross at the side of the net; he promptly put it in at 11:28 of the third period.
The Jets thought they had brought it to 5-3 with 7:28 remaining, but Kane's goal was ruled to have been knocked in with a high stick. Seventy-six seconds later, they got one that counted when Tobias Enstrom
stepped into a pass from Jim Slater
and rifled a shot off the post and in to cut the deficit to two.
The Jets pressed but got no closer as they fell to 11-19-4 on the road.
"We're not doing anything to help it either," Ladd said. "We had chances tonight. We put a lot of pucks on net. We battled. We just couldn't get enough pucks past (Kiprusoff)."
Jets coach Claude Noel wasn't sure how to gauge his disappointment after failing to earn points in the two-game trip away from the MTS Centre.
"How am I supposed to answer that?" Noel said. "Do you want me to say medium? Large? How exactly do I say that? How disappointed are you? Is there a level there? Is it a 10 out of 10? A six out of 10? How disappointed do you need to be?"