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Jets top Flames in home opener

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

-- Dustin Byfuglien scored with 1:28 remaining in the third period and the Winnipeg Jets continued their fast start by defeating the Calgary Flames 3-1 in their home opener on Friday.

Byfuglien cut off the left boards on a rush into the Calgary zone and backhanded a shot that slipped past goaltender Karri Ramo, breaking a 1-1 tie. Calgary's Bob Hartley used his coach's challenge, contending that the play was offside, but the goal stood.

Blake Wheeler hit the empty net 35 seconds later to complete the Jets' fourth victory in five games.

The Flames (1-3-0) jumped to a 1-0 lead on Mikael Backlund's goal 3:38 into the game. But the Jets, who began a six-game homestand after returning from a 3-1-0 season-opening road trip, settled down in the second period and smothered any semblance of a Calgary attack, holding the Flames to four shots in a 31:06 stretch.

Calgary finished with 20 shots, nine after the first period. Winnipeg goaltender Ondrej Pavelec made 19 saves.

Bryan Little, who had two goals in a 4-1 win against the New York Rangers on Tuesday, tied the game midway through the second period.

Ramo, who allowed five goals in his one previous start this season, made 27 saves.

Calgary scored on its second shot of the game. Pavelec stopped left wing Sam Bennett's wraparound attempt, but Backlund broke through a crowd of players in the crease and shoved the loose puck into the net. From there the Flames quieted the Jets and took seven of the final nine shots of the period.

The Jets tied the game 8:12 into the second period with some help from an opportune bounce. Wheeler's pass into the slot deflected off Little's skate and went past Ramo. Little has three goals in two games after going without a point in his first three.

Winnipeg dominated the remainder of the period. Calgary managed one shot on goal in the final 10:39 of the second period, and wasn't credited with a third-period shot until 11:06.

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