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Monahan scores in shootout and Smith stands tall as Flames beat Jets in pre-season tilt

by TY PILSON @typilson /

Even in the pre-season, turns out shootouts are exciting.

Sean Monahan, who's had a hot hand all pre-season,scored in the shootout while Mike Smith stoned all three Jets players he faced as the Flames beat Winnipeg 3-2 at the Scotiabank Saddledome Saturday night.

Video: Centre's slick goal to win the game for Flames

Kris Versteeg and Mikael Backlund scored in regulation while Smith, named the game's first star, stopped 39 shots.

Patrick Laine scored both Jets goals. The star right-winger had a pair of markers and four points in the Jets 5-2 pre-season win on Sept. 25 at the Bell MTS Place.

Steve Mason made 31 saves in the game but couldn't stop Monahan in the shootout, who made a fake as he skated across the crease and snapped the puck top shelf with Mason laying on the ice.

Two days after the Flames went 1-for-7 with the extra man in a 3-1 loss to the Canucks on the Left Coast, both of the Flames regulation markers came on the powerplay, with Calgary finishing 2-for-6 in that department.

At the other end of the ice, Calgary limited Winnipeg to just one powerplay marker on seven chances.

 Video: Big save that sealed the deal Saturday night

Versteeg opened the scoring for the Flames. With Jets centre Andrew Copp laying on the ice after blocking a Mark Giordano blast from point-blank and just three Jets left to guard the fort, Johnny Gaudreau started a beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play to Giordano who feed cross-crease to Versteeg for the tap in.

The Flames led 1-0 after 20 minutes.

Laine did all the work on his second-period tally, skating the puck up the ice and around a few Flames before unleashing a wicked shot top-corner, glove-side past Smith.

Later in the second, Sam Bennett brought the crowd to its feet with a highlight-reel play, when he swooped into the Jets zone and deftly dragged the puck through the legs of defenceman Jacob Trouba but wasn't able to beat Mason.

He circled behind the net after Mason's initial save and back into the high slot where he got another shot off but was stoned again.  

Backlund restored the one-goal lead for the homeside just over five minutes into the third period, when a pass from Bennett was deflected but still found its way to No. 11, who snapped a shot from the left faceoff circle past Mason.

Laine scored his second on a powerplay in the third.

The two clubs will clash again next Saturday night (8 p.m., TV: Sportsnet, Radio: SPORTSNET960 The Fan) in the Flames Scotiabank Saddledome regular-season home-opener.

The Flames begin the 2017-18 campaign on the road Wednesday night at Rogers Place in Edmonton against the Oilers (8 p.m., TV: Sportsnet, Radio: SPORTSNET960 The Fan).

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