CALGARY, Alberta – The frustration said it all.
A sullen Blake Wheeler sat still, numb as the crush of media gathered to discuss the latest in year of tough beats.
“The story of the 2015-16 Winnipeg Jets, right there.
“The whole season has been frustrating."
And so, another winning streak is halted at two.
Joe Colborne, Michael Frolik and Sean Monahan spearheaded a three-goal first period to lead the Calgary Flames to a 4-1 win over the Jets Wednesday at Scotiabank Saddledome.
Mark Giordano scored the other goal for the Flames – a power-play marker – with 3.8 seconds left in the game.
“It’s a challenge, mentally, to stay in what you believe in,” Wheeler said, doing his best to explain the downtrodden result, and what lies ahead in the final weeks of the season, “but we believe that doing that is going to pay off in the not-too-distant future.”
Colborne put the Flames in front at 5:38 of the first period as he wrapped a centering pass into the blue paint, where it pinballed off a skate, stick and in for the game’s opening goal.
The Flames took a 2-0 lead at 12:48 as Frolik found the back of the net off the rush. Mikael Backlund partially fanned on the initial attempt, sending the puck wide, but directly onto the stick of the former Jet, who tucked it short side.
Frolik finished with three points (1G, 2A) and was the game's first star.
Monahan put the Flames up by three with just 1:39 to play as he jumped a loose puck and fired it high over Ondrej Pavelec, who got a piece of it, but not enough, as he looked through a screen.
“They were good in the first. We weren’t very good,” Head Coach Paul Maurice said. “I don’t think that they had more chances to score than we did. Our goaltender didn’t have a chance on two of them, so it’s not on him. We made a couple bonehead plays coming back into our end that ended up in the net. You’re not going to win many hockey games when you throw 20 minutes like that at anybody.”
After putting up a combined seven points Monday in Vancouver, the line of Alexander Burmistrov, Marko Dano and Mathieu Perreault went to work early in the first, but the surge didn’t last.
Burmistrov put a quick wrister past Ortio early in the first, but it was waved as a result of incidental content between Marko Dano and the goaltender. Maurice executed his challenge, but after a lengthy review, the video confirmed the call on the ice.
“I don’t think any,” Maurice said about its effect on the game. “We’ve had a bunch of those that early on the year I didn’t (challenge). I’m not sure where the line would be. I’ve got no problem with the call. I know that it’s close enough that I’m going to challenge it. “
Drew Stafford gave the Jets life after a quiet front half of the middle frame. Blake Wheeler stole the puck from Ortio behind the net, spun free and found Stafford, who rifled it home for his 19th of the year at 10:23, but that was all the offence the Jets had in them.
“We got in too big a hole to get out of,” Stafford said. “We were successful these last couple games because we were on the puck and playing with that pace. We had a little bit of a response, but it wasn’t enough.”
– Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com