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Rittich posts shutout as Flames beat Jets 2-0 in pre-season action at Scotiabank Saddledome

by TY PILSON @typilson /

It was a stark reversal of the situation Sunday in Winnipeg.

In that tilt in the Manitoba capital, the Flames dressed a roster full of youngsters and hopefuls in a battle with a much more veteran-laden Jets team, which ended up prevailing 4-1.

Tuesday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome, the Flames skated a lineup that will no doubt look similar to what they'll ice on opening night in just over a week in Denver against the Avs.

The result - a 2-0 victory for the homeside.


Video: Brendan Parker recaps the win over the Jets




COMING SOON: Game Over with Brendan Parker




Two goals in 23 seconds in the second period proved the difference, Sean Monahan and Sam Bennett both scoring.

David Rittich had another light night between the pipes, turning aside 20 shots for the shutout, while his teammates put 33 pucks on Jets netminder Eric Comrie.

With the victory, the Flames improved to 3-3 on the pre-season.

Coach Bill Peters treated a good chunk of his club's game-day skate Tuesday morning more like a practice, concentrating on powerplay looks.

They got a chance to put that into practice 5:49 into the first period when Jets defensive hopeful Tucker Poolman whacked Dillon Dube in the face in front of the net, earning himself four minutes in the bin.

On the ensuing powerplay, the Flames got plenty of chances, including two great opportunities between Johnny Gaudreau and Milan Lucic.

The first came when Lucic got two smacks at the puck right on the doorstep in the blue paint after a pass from Gaudreau on the right flank, Comrie - half-brother of former NHLer Mike Comrie - getting his pad on both.

The second was another pass by No. 13 from almost the exact same spot, Lucic standing outside the far post and tipping it just wide.

Despite peppering the net on the lengthy advantage - including three shots from Gaudreau - the Flames failed to score.

The Jets got a good chance for a shorthanded tally near the end of the powerplay, David Gustafsson being sprung on a partial breakaway and unloading a howitzer at full gallop that Rittich was able to just get a piece of and deflect wide.

However, they made good on their next extra-man opportunity.

After Nathan Beaulieu was sent off for two minutes for tripping Andrew Mangiapane behind the Jets net, Calgary got to work slinging the puck around the zone.

Lucic had another great two-whack chance in tight off another pass from Gaudreau but just couldn't get the puck past the quick Comrie.

But a minute into the powerplay, fans were treated to another installment of the long-running Johnny and Mony Show, Gaudreau wiring a pass right to Monahan's stick in the high slot, the centre deftly deflecting it up and over Comrie's right shoulder as he tried to lunge across the net.

It was the second time the Dynamic Duo had hooked up for a marker this pre-season, combining for a tally in the 3-2 OT pre-season opener split-squad loss to the Canucks at the 'Dome.


Tweet from @NHLFlames: Just doing what he does best.#WPGvsCGY | #Flames


It was Calgary's 17th shot of the game, captain Mark Giordano picking up the other assist.

Before arena voice Beesley even had a chance to announce the goal, Frolik got the puck from the high boards down to Mikael Backlund behind the net, who put the puck around the post into the slot for Bennett to put it home with a defender drapped on him as he skated across the crease. 


Tweet from @NHLFlames: Sam has settled right in with Mikael and Michael.#WPGvsCGY | #Flames


The Flames held a 20-10 edge in shots after 20 minutes of play.

Derek Ryan nearly added another powerplay marker in the third period, with Nelson Nogier off for interfence after sending him head first into the boards near the penalty box.

Austin Czarnik found Ryan in tight, who got a great shot off that Comrie managed to turn aside.




"You're just trying to get your feet under you, obviously, and you want to get up to speed where it's an intense regular game. That's what pre-season is for. You get the kinks out of that summer hockey you're playing and get back into game mode."


"It was a little better than before, but just 20 (shots). I was hoping for a little bit more, but it's still pre-season. I'll get a little bit more after."


"I already checked my pants after that play. I feel confident with my state right now. I'm trying to play more and more and help the guys out a little bit more, like Smitty did last year. I'm going to keep working on it.


"I thought we entered the zone well and I mean obviously I think we had a lot of looks. Looch had a few chances there in front. I mean, we're trying new things right now, obviously, Lindy and Johnny are on different sides and Looch is in front right now. It worked. We generated a lot of momentum and obviously got a goal that won the game."


"Felt pretty good. You know, with some guys that obviously know how to move the puck, and have some great chemistry ... I was able to get my stick on a few but not able to find the net. I think I was joking, saying I'm saving them for when they count. In all seriousness, I think it was good flow, good chemsitry and we got rewarded with one, the game-winner. It was fun to be out there with those guys on the PP."


"Well, it was good. We got some reps for those guys (on the powerplay). I thought they looked much better here tonight. Spent a little time on it in practice and we have continue to do that moving forward. So that was real good. And as dumb as it sounds, it was good to take a penalty in the third so we got kill action there, too. We got everybody out. The first group going over the boards did a real good job on up-ice pressure.I thought it was a good night for what we needed as a coaching staff and what they needed as players."


Video: "It was a good night for what we needed"



Here were the lines and D-combos to start Monday's game:


Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Elias Lindholm

Sam Bennett - Mikael Backlund - Michael Frolik

Milan Lucic - Derek Ryan - Andrew Mangiapane

Dillon Dube - Mark Jankowski - Austin Czarnik


Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie

Noah Hanifin - Travis Hamonic

Oliver Kylington - Rasmus Andersson


David Rittich (starter, played whole game)

Cam Talbot



Kristian Reichel, son of former Flame Robert Reichel, suited up in the tilt Tuesday for Winnipeg. The elder Reichel played six seasons here during the '90s… The Jets and Flames will meet in the Heritage Classic outdoor tilt in Regina on Oct. 26 … The Flames inked forward Jakob Pelletier to a three-year entry-level contract Monday afternoon. He was the club's first-round pick (26th overall) in the 2019 draft … Also Monday, Pelletier was assigned back to the QMJHL's Moncton Wildcats, part of a cutdown that included releasing Alexandre Grenier from his PTO and assigning 13 players to the Heat (click here for all the details) . The club now has 28 players remaining in camp: 16 forwards, nine defenceman and three goalies ... F Alan Quine sat down with Flames TV's Brendan Parker in the first intermission tonight. Click below to see his interview.


Video: I want to show the staff that I belong in this league



The Flames have two pre-season tilts left: Thursday in San Jose against the Sharks (8:30 p.m.) and Saturday at the Scotiabank Saddledome against the Oilers (7 p.m.). Click here for tickets.

They open the regular season in Denver against the Avalanche on Oct. 3 (7 p.m. TV: Sportsnet West, Radio: Sportsnet960 THEFAN), before returning to the 'Dome for their home-opener Oct. 5 against the Canucks (8 p.m., TV: HNIC, Radio: Sportsnet960 THEFAN). Click here for tickets.

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