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Flames survive, beat Jets in shootout

by Patrick Williams

WINNIPEG – The Calgary Flames and goaltender Reto Berra needed a rebound game Monday night against the Winnipeg Jets, and they got just that in a 5-4 shootout win at MTS Centre.

Flames coach Bob Hartley elected to start Berra again after a rocky outing Saturday against the Edmonton Oilers. The Jets poured 34 shots on Berra through the first two periods, while limiting Calgary to 15 shots. But Berra finished with 43 saves and the Flames survived losing four leads before Sean Monahan won the game in the eighth round of the shootout. The Flames snapped a six-game winless streak.

Calgary (7-11-3) was clinging to a 4-3 game over the final three minutes before Winnipeg center Bryan Little broke the Flames for the fourth time with his team-leading 12th goal with 5.6 seconds left in regulation. Little broke free of the Calgary defense, found the rebound of an Evander Kane shot and fired it into the net before Berra could scramble into position.

"We stuck with it," Flames forward Lee Stempniak said. "We desperately needed this win. It's heart-breaking to give up a [tying] goal with [5.6] seconds left to tie it, but we got through it and had some chances in overtime."

The Flames allowed a 2-0 third-period lead to disintegrate into a 4-2 loss at home against the Oilers and arrived in Winnipeg a struggling group. During its six-game winless streak, five of the losses came in regulation, and the Flames owned one win in their past nine games leading into the team's first-ever visit to MTS Centre. But they found a way to get two points Monday in a playoff-type atmosphere.

"If that was not exciting for [the fans], it sure was for me," Hartley said. "We made it interesting. We made it tough on us, but at the end, we found a way to win.

"I like those guys," Hartley said of his team, "because they're working. We're not perfect, but there is not a day that they're not trying. Some days are tougher than others, some days are better than others, but I can count on those guys. They want to learn, they want to get better and they're certainly very proud of wearing the flaming C."

Berra, who earned Calgary's previous win on the road back on Nov. 3 against the Chicago Blackhawks, won his second NHL game and survived a second period in which he faced 23 Winnipeg shots.

"I rarely [have seen] a goalie give up four goals, [yet] play that well," Hartley said of Berra. "He's really learning quickly."

Berra admitted that he felt pressure during the lengthy shootout to pull out a win for a team needing some good fortune.

"We needed to win so badly," Berra said.

Calgary used second-period goals from Mike Cammalleri and T.J. Brodie to offset a goal sandwiched in between from Winnipeg's Michael Frolik. Former Flames forward Olli Jokinen tied the game at 2-2 eight minutes into the third period.

The Flames' Lance Bouma built a 3-2 lead with a shorthanded goal halfway through the third period before Dustin Byfuglien erased Calgary's third lead of the night with 7:50 left. Jiri Hudler seemingly had put away the Jets with 3:26 remaining when he positioned himself along the boards outside of the right circle and took a feed from Brodie before ripping a shot that beat Jets goaltender Al Montoya high on his seventh goal of the season.

"If you score four goals," Jokinen said, "you should be able to win. That's the bottom line. We gave them too many chances. We didn't play poorly, but we didn't play good enough. We're lucky we got a point."

Montoya made his first start for the Jets since Nov. 6, lending No. 1 goaltender Ondrej Pavelec a break. Montoya made 29 saves.

Winnipeg (10-10-3) needs to begin making up ground in the Western Conference standings. The Jets began the game sitting six points below the line to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"We'll take the one [point]," Jets coach Claude Noel said. "It's not ideal, but that's what we'll take."

The Jets had won four straight games before the Minnesota Wild beat them 2-1 Sunday. Winnipeg is playing a three-game homestand this week before embarking on a six-game road trip through much of the Eastern Conference that will keep the Jets on the road for two weeks.

Cammalleri broke through for the Flames midway through the second. Winnipeg's Grant Clitsome took a penalty behind the play that set up the Jets' second power play. The Flames needed 18 seconds on the man-advantage to strike. Cammalleri set up to Montoya's left and swatted his team-leading ninth goal at 9:01.

However, Frolik's fifth goal of the season answered Cammalleri's goal 2:10 later. Frolik scooped up the rebound of Clitsome's point shot at the left of the net and slammed his fifth goal past Berra that tied the game 1-1.

Brodie took back Calgary's one-goal lead when he lofted a long shot from the right point late in the second period that clipped Byfuglien in front of the net and eluded Montoya at 15:24, his second goal of the season.

Jokinen used his fourth goal of the season in the third period to erase Calgary's second lead of the game. Devin Setoguchi dished off a pass inside the Calgary blue line and Jokinen wheeled to the left boards and floated a shot past three Calgary defenders that climbed over Berra's shoulder at 8:16.

"I wasn't settled all night," Noel admitted. "I was uneasy all night. There was no point that I was comfortable, just because of the way we were thinking and playing."

Chris Butler's tripping penalty halfway through the third period sent the Jets on their third power play of the game. But Bouma and the Flames 28th-ranked penalty kill gave Calgary its third go-ahead goal of the game with 11:17 to go in the third period. Matt Stajan carried the puck over the Winnipeg blue line before Bouma took the puck and beat Montoya.

After a 1-for-47 slide on the power play, the Jets are now 3-for-9 in their past three games.

Calgary's lead survived 53 seconds, however. On the same power play, Byfuglien slipped into the slot and punched a loose puck under Berra at 12:10. After going his first 18 games without a goal, Byfuglien has five goals and three assists over his past five outings.

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