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Jets end season by spoiling Flames' home finale

by Aaron Vickers

CALGARY -- It took Paul Postma until the final period in the final game to score his first NHL goal of the season.

He picked a fine time to get it, and in familiar territory no less.

Postma's third-period goal stood as the winner after Michael Hutchinson's 35-save performance lifted the Winnipeg Jets to a 5-3 victory against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday.

"I waited long enough, but there's no better place to get it. It's basically my hometown," said Postma, who played his junior hockey with the Western Hockey League's Calgary Hitmen. "It's nice to get that win and getting the game-winner is pretty special.

"We're building a foundation here for the future, and that's a good way to end off the season. We've got nothing to save it for. We really battled that third period. It's good to get the win."

The Jets sent themselves into the offseason on a winning note and managed to spoil the Flames' home finale in the process. It didn't stop fans from leaving the 26th-place Flames with a lengthy standing ovation. Calgary concludes its regular-season schedule Sunday at the Vancouver Canucks.

"Our fans have been great to us all year," Flames captain Mark Giordano said. "We sort of knew they would do something like that, and it was pretty nice to stay out there to get that ovation, for sure.

"We're going to do everything we can to end the right way. We feel like we've been playing well lately and we've been getting wins, and no better way to go home for the summer with a nice win over [Vancouver]."

After a scramble off a draw, Anthony Peluso worked the puck back to Postma, who fired a point shot through traffic and past Flames goaltender Karri Ramo to put the Jets ahead 4-3 with 10:44 remaining in the third period.

"Peluso made a good play coming up the wall. I kind of pinched down for him," Postma said. "There was a lot of traffic in front of the net, and I just wanted to get it through. I took a shot, kept it low, and it found a way into the back of the net."

Curtis Glencross rang a wrist shot off the post on the next shift, and Hutchinson held the fort from there.

The Jets rookie goalie denied Sean Monahan and Paul Byron during a scramble with 7:30 remaining and turned aside TJ Galiardi's set-up of Kevin Westgarth on the doorstep 45 seconds later. Hutchinson then stared down Jiri Hudler, who tried to pull the goalie out of position with three head fakes before Hutchinson made a pad save. He capped a frantic six minutes from the Flames by flashing a glove to deny Kenny Agostino on a breakaway with 3:50 left.

"That's when hockey gets fun is in the third period when the other team's pressing and you have the lead," Hutchinson said. "It's just one of those things I just enjoyed that third period, and it was fun watching how hard our guys are battling. We were tired. We had a tough game last night (against the Boston Bruins) and a really tough practice the day before, so guys really battled trying to clear pucks, blocked shots as best they could. When guys are sacrificing themselves like that in front, it makes you want to bare down and make those saves for them."

Blake Wheeler gave Hutchinson some breathing room with 56.8 seconds remaining, sending a puck into the empty net with Ramo on the bench for the extra attacker.

The Flames outshot Winnipeg 14-1 between the Postma and Wheeler goals.

"We just had a feeling when it was a tie game in the third period that it was our game to have," Hutchinson said. "We were fortunate we got that goal and we were able to get the win.

Michael Frolik and the Jets wasted little time in trying to spoil Calgary's final game on home ice this season. With the puck in the high slot, Frolik fired a shot that almost immediately glanced off Matt Stajan before hitting a stationary TJ Brodie and finally dropping behind Ramo and into the net to put Winnipeg up 1-0 at 7:23 of the opening period.

Ramo recovered to rob Bryan Little with an outstretched pad near the midway mark of the period before Evander Kane extended the Jets' lead to two. After gaining the Flames zone, Little dropped a pass to Kane, who slid a shot through Ramo for his 19th goal with 3:50 remaining in the opening period.

Calgary responded 64 seconds into the second.

Byron provided the grunt work with some stickhandling to keep the puck in the Jets zone before spotting Brodie at the point. His shot was redirected by Stajan before Hudler tipped it behind Hutchinson to cut the Jets' lead to 2-1.

Carl Klingberg scored his first NHL goal on a wraparound at 8:48 to restore the Jets' two-goal lead, but Calgary tied the game by scoring twice in 24 seconds.

During a 5-on-3 power play, Monahan finished a three-way passing play orchestrated by Glencross and Hudler by lifting a shot over a sprawled Hutchinson at 11:46 for his 22nd goal, the most for a Flames rookie since Paul Ranheim (26) and Sergei Makarov (24) in 1989-90.

The Flames then cashed in on the 5-on-4 advantage that followed to tie the game. Kris Russell kept the puck in at the blue line before taking a stride in and firing a snap shot over Hutchinson's glove at 12:10 to make it 3-3.

"We didn't get the start that we wanted, but middle of the second period, after those two power-play goals, it seemed like the momentum shifted and we had a great third period," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "We missed a few chances, we hit some posts. The boys were on a mission, they wanted that win for the fans, but unfortunately we couldn't get it done."

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