Skip to main content

Revived Jets rout sputtering Flames

by Aaron Vickers

CALGARY -- The Winnipeg Jets are still in the honeymoon phase with new coach Paul Maurice, but it's been a great marriage thus far.

The Jets improved to 2-0-0 under Maurice with a convincing 5-2 victory against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday.

Maurice replaced Claude Noel on Sunday, and the Jets beat the Phoenix Coyotes 5-1 at MTS Centre on Monday night to snap a five-game losing streak.

"You're asking them to do hard things and things that at times put them in harm's way and practice harder and do those things," Maurice said. "These guys want to win. They're no different than anybody else. They're willing to do what you ask them to do and having a little bit of success just reinforces some of their hard work."

While Maurice has been perfect in his return to the NHL, the Flames have been far from it, dropping a franchise-record seven straight on home ice while being outscored 22-4. Overall, the Flames have lost 13 of their past 16.

"My only point of view is we're waiting for something bad to happen before we start playing," Flames captain Mark Giordano said. "There's no excuse. We have to have that mentality that we have nothing to lose. We've said it before. We can talk all we want, but we've got to go out there and do it."

The Flames didn't, and it didn't take long for the Jets to build on their win in Maurice's debut.

Michael Frolik burst down his off wing and let go a weak backhand from below the faceoff dot that Reto Berra kicked right back onto the stick of Bryan Little in the slot. Little buried it 5:01 into the game to give Winnipeg a 1-0 lead.

It was the first two shots on goal recorded by the Jets. Their fifth also found its way past Berra.

Just 3:10 after Little's goal, former Flames center Olli Jokinen spotted Dustin Byfuglien alone in the high slot, and he beat Berra to the blocker side for a 2-0 lead.

"It's pretty tough to generate energy when you give the first two goals," coach Bob Hartley said. "There was two gifts -- we covered this afternoon in our team meeting - they were bad coverage right in front of our net.

"In the NHL, [when] you let guys get great shots right from 10-15 feet from the net, you're looking for trouble. Obviously with the way that we played here in the past games our confidence is very fragile. You put yourself down 2-0 after a few minutes, we made it tough on ourselves."

Calgary tried to climb back into the game during a first-period power play but Ondrej Pavelec made near-identical left pad saves off Jiri Hudler and Sean Monahan seconds apart.

After managing eight shots at Pavelec in the first period, the Flames managed to lob three at him in the second while allowing the Jets to take a four-goal lead.

Mark Scheifele outraced Shane O'Brien to a dump-in behind the Flames net and tapped the puck to Chris Thorburn. He found Blake Wheeler, who returned the puck back to Scheifele at the far post with a back-door pass for a tap-in at 9:09 to make it 3-0.

"[Thorburn] and [Wheeler] supported me really well on the forecheck," Scheifele said. "[Wheeler] made a great pass to me and I didn't have to do too much to put it in. I credit him for that goal, for sure."

Jokinen added his 13th of the season with 2:29 remaining in the period, one-timing Andrew Ladd's pass behind Berra for a power-play goal and a 4-0 advantage through 40 minutes.

Giordano ended Pavelec's shutout bid 40 seconds into the third period, snapping a shot just under the joint where the post and crossbar meet.

But rookie defenseman Jacob Trouba responded at 2:57 to restore the Jets' four-goal lead. With the teams skating 4-on-4, Trouba picked up a drop pass from Wheeler at the Flames' blue line, slashed his way to the slot and ripped a shot that beat Berra.

"[Wheeler] kind of just bought some time and I came off the bench and I was cutting to the middle," Trouba said. "I'm not going to say I was aiming there, but whatever, it went in. It was good for us."

Lance Bouma's deflection of Dennis Wideman's point shot went past Pavelec with 8:01 remaining to complete the scoring.

"We didn't have enough," Giordano said. "We didn't generate enough on our forecheck and we were very soft in our own end, especially around our net.

"We have to be sharp to start games. Tonight we got down and sagged."

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.