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Kulak's two-goal effort fuels win over Jets

Johnson, Rittich combine to pitch 27-save shutout

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers /

WINNIPEG, MB -- Brett Kulak scored twice and Chad Johnson and David Rittich combined for the shutout to help the Calgary Flames to a 3-0 win against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre in pre-season action Tuesday.
Freddie Hamilton also scored for the Flames (1-2-0). 
Johnson made 21 saves; Rittich stopped all six shots faced in the win.
Eric Comrie made 24 saves for the Jets (0-1-0). 
Hamilton scored his second goal in as many preseason games to put the Flames up 1-0 at 3:13 of the second period. After winning a faceoff back to Kulak in Winnipeg's end, Hamilton drove to the net to put back Comrie's rebound off the initial shot.

Kulak scored his first of the pre-season at 12:48 to double Calgary's lead. Comrie and defenceman Brian Strait mishandled an exchange behind the net, resulting in Kulak's sharp-angled shot into the empty net to put the Flames up 2-0. 
Kulak added his second of the game at 13:10 of the third to give the Flames some additional breathing room.
Goal of the Game: Already with a goal in the game, Kulak added another after picking up a pass from Emile Poirier with his skate and kicking it up to his stick, and beating Comrie from below the hashmarks to give the Flames a 3-0 lead. 
Save of the Game
: Johnson bailed out Ryan Culkin two minutes after Kulak's goal, making a blocker save off Jack Roslovic after a turnover in Calgary's end. Johnson made another clutch save off Nic Petan after working a give-and-go with Jansen Harkins on the power play soon thereafter. "I thought [Johnson] was real good," Flames coach Glen Gulutzan said. "He made some real big saves. It wasn't a 3-0 game there. He made some really big saves to keep it that way, and it's a great start for both our goalies." - Coach Glen Gulutzan on Johnson's performance
Unsung Moment of the Game: Less than a minute before Kulak gave the Flames a 2-0 lead, Johnson stopped Brandon Tanev on a shorthanded breakaway. Poirier and Kenney Morrison had a bad exchange at the blue line that allowed Tanev to go in alone, but Johnson closed the pads to deny the Jets forward. 
Highlight of the Game: With 6:26 remaining in the period and with the Jets on the power play, Johnson desperately dove across his crease to pull a short-range shot from Andrew Copp on a Michael Spacek setup off the goal line to keep the Flames up by two. "I don't like being out of position," Johnson said. "I do that probably more than I would've liked to. I had to jump over there. I'm happy with it. If I didn't stop it was a goal. It's always good."

Video: CGY@WPG: Johnson makes spectacular save
They said it: "He had a bounce-back game from last night. I'm happy for him. He had a good camp … a good few days. I thought it was encouraging play from him tonight. He's a good, coachable young defenceman and they take some time to get up and running but he certainly made some big steps." - Gulutzan on Kulak's play
"It's nice to get in a game and get that flow to the game, game situations, up again. I felt pretty good at the start. It was a different feel from the regular season game. The first period I was a little unsure where I was. I was a little confused. Second period I felt good with my game and positioning and stuff. It's good." - Johnson on his game
"To chip in with a couple of goals is a bonus, but it's a long road and I have to keep going." - Hamilton on scoring in each of his past two games.
Need to Know:
Johnson started the game; Rittich came on in relief in the third period. The Flames used a variety of combinations in Winnipeg, including the constant of Lance Bouma, Hamilton, and Garnet Hathaway. Culkin with Morrison, Keegan Kanzig with Kulak, and Nicklas Grossmann and Colby Robak made up Calgary's defensive pairs.  
What's Next: The Flames will return to Calgary to welcome the Vancouver Canucks in pre-season action Friday (7:00 PM MT; SN1, Sportsnet 960 The FAN). 

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