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Flames defeat Jets for 10th straight home win

by Ryan Dittrick (@ryandittrick) / Winnipeg Jets

CALGARY, Alberta – The Calgary Flames extended their home winning streak to 10 Tuesday night, tying a franchise record for consecutive victories in their own barn.

Unfortunately, it came at the expense of the Winnipeg Jets, who were downed 4-1 at Scotiabank Saddledome.

Johnny Gaudreau recorded a hat trick while Karri Ramo posted 19 saves.

“We lost. That would be my overall statement of the game,” Head Coach Paul Maurice said. “It’s frustrating, for sure. We had a couple breaks around the net that you’d like to see squeak in, but it didn’t happen. That’s what happens.”

The Flames opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 4:28 as Gaudreau went to work – as he has all season – on home ice. The forward’s half-slapper from the right circle deflected off the stick of Toby Enstrom in front, sailing it high over the shoulder of Michael Hutchinson, who, just moments earlier, made back-to-back saves with the left pad.

Hutchinson finished with 29 saves in his first start in three weeks.

“It was nice to get back in there,” he said. “It would have been nicer to be on the winning side of things, but I felt good about my game.

Joe Colborne put the Flames up by a pair with a tip-in at 10:28. Mark Giordano took the point shot, while Colborne posted up between the dots, setting a backhand target for the captain.

“We worked really hard and we gave it everything that we had,” Hutchinson said. “It’s frustrating, especially coming off a game like last night. We weren’t able to get two points made this game all the more important, so it’s a little bit frustrating that we come away empty handed.”

The Jets found their legs late in the opening frame, and with just 4.8 seconds left on the clock, they made a game of it. On a late-developing 3-on-1, Blake Wheeler dished off the trailer, Tyler Myers, who made no mistake, firing a shot off the far post and in, cutting the deficit to one.

In a sloppily played, but otherwise uneventful middle period, the Jets got a lift late when they killed a 68-second 5-on-3. The Flames didn’t get a sniff, let alone a shot, with Mark Stuart and Jacob Trouba off serving separate infractions.

With the Jets down a goal, Maurice promoted Joel Armia to the third line alongside Alexander Burmistrov and Nikolaj Ehlers. Armia was one of the Jets’ best forwards all night, finishing with more than 10 minutes of ice time and one shot on goal.

“I liked him,” Maurice said. “I liked him before and after (the promotion). It’s his third game in the National Hockey League and it looks like he’s got some pace to his game that we didn’t see early on, so there’s some development there. … He gets that puck across his body pretty well and he usually makes a good play with it. We’ve got a lot of youth on that line with the way I left it, but maybe he can keep fighting for more ice time.”

The Jets kept pressing early in the third, but were met by the defence on more than one occasion. T.J. Brodie saved a goal early in the third, swatting the puck off the goal line after Wheeler and Stafford played give-and-go on a shorthanded 2-on-1.

Moments later, Mathieu Perreault got the puck out of the penalty box and turned a 1-on-1 with Flames defenceman Dougie Hamilton into a partial break off the wing. Perreault made a beautiful move to his forehand, but couldn’t bury it.

Gaudreau sealed it with 4:19 to play, roofing a shot in tight after stealing the puck from a defender before adding an empty netter at 18:11.

Gaudreau has force at home all season. He now has 13 goals and more than two-thirds of his total points in just 16 home games this season.

The Jets will now head into the holiday break and will be back on action on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Asked what the team will be looking to take from the three days’ rest, Maurice said rest will be key to help rejuvenate them for the unofficial second half.

“We’ll deal with that we’ll deal with after the break, but this team needs some rest,” he said. “The coach has been in a bad mood for a long time and they need some rest, some separation.”

– Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com

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