WINNIPEG - After four consecutive days of practice and intense off-ice workouts, the Winnipeg Jets took to the ice for the first in the pre-season, giving Assistant Coach Jamie Kompon and the rest of the staff their first look at the new recruits in game action.
And, well…it was a pre-game game, all right - sloppy, for sure, but that was to be expected. The most important thing on this night was the evaluation process, and that will continue to be the priority until the roster is finalized ahead of the regular-season opener, Oct. 13.
Brett Kulak assisted on Freddie Hamilton's first goal of the pre-season, then scored a pair of insurance markers late in the second and third periods to give the Calgary Flames a 3-0 win over the Jets Tuesday at MTS Centre.
"This is an evaluation-full process," Kompon said. "We look at the overall game and our team game, and then the individuals. The first two periods were real good for us. Their goalie - an NHL goalie - he made it look easy. … He made some key saves at critical times that could have made the score 1-0 or 1-1.
Video: POSTGAME | Jamie Kompon
"For everyone playing against real competition, we looked real good. And for some of the young kids, training camp wore down on those kids and we saw that, we had a dip in the third. But I don't think the score was indicative of the way we played."
Hamilton struck first for the Flames, burying a rebound off a 45-foot point shot early in the second after a scoreless opening frame. Kulak hammered shot into the pads of the goalie, creating the chance amid panic in front.
Kulak put the Flames up by two at 12:47, capitalizing on the miscommunication between Comrie and Brian Strait, firing the puck into the open net. With Comrie out of the blue preparing a breakout, Strait swooped in and shovelled the puck up ice, directly onto the tape of the pinching Calgary defenceman.
The Jets were the better of the two teams in the middle frame, but Flames goalie Chad Johnson had a gargantuan night between the pipes. Of the 16 second-period saves he made, none were more impressive than his robbery of Andrew Copp, who looked to the heavens after watching his open-net bid stop short at the goal line.
"We played with a lot of speed, especially in those first two periods," Copp said. "I thought we were getting behind their D, we were cycling real well in the offensive zone. … In just tailed off in the third."
Video: POSTGAME | Andrew Copp
Brandon Tanev had a breakway seconds earlier, but Johnson had an answer for that, too. The 22-year-old finished with a team-high four shots and a game-high five hits. Simply put: He was all over the place.
Tanev signed as a free agent on Mar. 30 and played three games at the end of the season. He re-signed on a one-year, two-way contract worth $874,000 on Jul. 21.
"The confidence grows each and every game I get to play," he said. "Last year, those three games I got to play at the end of the season were definitely a confidence boost, getting to know the type of level I'd be playing at the next couple of years."
Video: POSTGAME | Brandon Tanev
Asked what he has to do to make the team this year, Tanev said: "Just to continue to work and play my game. Play fast, physical and smart. Just work and have fun out there, take it shift by shift, day by day."
David Rittich came in for the final period, stopping all six shots he faced.
Kulak made it a 3-0 game at 13:10 as he jumped on a loose puck and buried a shot from the slot.
LATE HITS: Shawn Matthias left the game late in the first period and did not return with an upper-body injury. There was no update on his condition following the game.
- Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com