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Diaz, Bollig help Flames hand Jets fourth straight loss

by Aaron Vickers

CALGARY -- Two firsts couldn't come at a better time for the Calgary Flames.

Raphael Diaz and Brandon Bollig scored their first goals as members of the Flames and Jonas Hiller made 17 saves to lead Calgary to a 5-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday.

"They're two guys that they have lots of friends in the locker room because they're great workers," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "They take care of their teammates. They're easy guys to work with and both, in an important game, they come up with each their first goal. I can tell you that players were really happy on the bench."

Mason Raymond, David Jones and Sean Monahan also scored for the Flames (28-20-3), who jumped ahead of the Vancouver Canucks and into third in the Pacific Division (and one behind the Jets in the Western Conference standings) and improved to 12-0-0 when taking a lead into the third period.

"We have nothing to celebrate," Hartley said. "We can be proud of the way we play. We can be happy with where we're at. But there's still way too much hockey to be played to get complacent. That's my job. That's my job to make sure that we stay on track, that we keep playing with pride, we keep applying ourselves on details of the game. I've said it many times, this is a great group of guys to coach."

Blake Wheeler and Bryan Little scored for the Jets (26-18-8), who have lost four straight games and have yet to collect a point following the All-Star break.

"We've got to get back to our game," Wheeler said. "We have to come back harder, we have to allow our D to step up and take away the other team's time and space. This is a team we played tonight with a lot of skill that can come at you in waves and we just didn't do a good enough job."

Up 2-1 in the third and with a man-advantage, Diaz took a pass at the point from Joe Colborne and put a shot past Jets goalie Michael Hutchinson through a screen for his first goal of the season at 4:24.

"It's real nice to get the first goal and it was a big win for us," Diaz said. "I knew the other guy was coming to me, so I had to hurry up to shoot. I'm really happy to get my first one."

Colborne helped Bollig to his first too, ending a 42-game drought with a tap-in off a 2-on-1 to give Calgary a 4-1 lead at 7:23.

"I'm not mistaken, I know I'm not here to score goals, but it's nice when it happens," said Bollig, who was acquired by the Flames from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. "Last year I had a pretty decent year as a fourth-liner, point-wise. It wasn't ideal to wait that long, but I've been getting a lot of chances. I didn't expect tonight to be the night.

"Hopefully tonight opens up the ketchup bottle and they start flowing."

Colborne was happy to help Bollig and Diaz.

"You love to see those guys score and [Bollig]'s had some good chances,"Colborne said. "He's got such a good shot. He said he knew I was coming across to him. It was nice to get him that one and to get Raffi one too."

The goal chased Hutchinson, who made 19 saves, in favor of Ondrej Pavelec. It momentarily sparked Winnipeg.

Eighty seconds after Bollig's first of the season, Little corralled a rebound from Andrew Ladd's initial shot, pulled it to his backhand and lifted his 19th of the season over Hiller to pull the Jets within two.

But Monahan made it 5-2 with 2:33 remaining in regulation with an empty-net goal.

"We have to bear down more," Hutchinson said. "Every guy, including myself, has to step it up a little bit more, and focus a little bit more, and for myself, I have to make that extra save and for the players, they have to try and hit the net and bear down when you do get those scoring chances."

Both teams started quickly, each scoring on its first shot of the game.

Working an early cycle in the Flames end, Little spotted Wheeler in the slot, where he sent a shot along the ice and by the pad of Hiller to give the Jets to a 1-0 lead 1:09 into the game.

Jones countered at 4:16 after taking a pass from captain Mark Giordano, barreling in on a partial breakaway and lifting a backhander that squeaked through Hutchinson to tie the game 1-1.

Calgary scored on its first shot of the second period too.

With the puck loose in the neutral zone, Raymond won a footrace and got in alone on Hutchinson and beat the Jets goaltender with a shot by his blocker to put the Flames up 2-1 at 1:59.

It came moments after Mark Scheifele cut his way through Calgary's defense but rolled a backhand wide after skating in alone on Hiller.

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