CALGARY — Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler scored in the shootout as the Winnipeg Jets beat the Flames 2-1 on Saturday afternoon, snapping Calgary’s seven-game winning streak.
Little opened the shootout with a wrist shot inside the goal post on Mike Smith. After Mark Jankowski and Sean Monahan were stopped by Connor Hellebuyck and Smith stopped Patrik Laine, Wheeler clinched it on a deke to his forehand.
Mathieu Perreault scored in regulation for Winnipeg (27-13-7), which improved to 7-2-1 in its last 10. The Jets fly home to play host to Vancouver on Sunday night.
TJ Brodie scored for Calgary (25-16-5).
Hellebuyck had 30 saves for the Jets and Smith stopped 33 shots in defeat.
With both teams coming off their bye week, the rust was evident early on with missed passes and sloppy play. Calgary was last in action on Sunday and the Jets had been off since last Saturday.
Calgary opened the scoring at 8:17 when Brodie sent a wrist shot past Hellebuyck. It was the defenceman’s first goal in 44 games, dating back to Calgary’s home-opener when he scored twice and had four points in a 6-3 win over Winnipeg.
Four minutes later, the Flames appeared to take a 2-0 lead when Troy Brouwer banged in a loose puck, but Jets coach Paul Maurice issued a coach’s challenge and upon review, it was overturned due to goaltender interference as Matthew Tkachuk had pushed Matt Hendricks into Hellebuyck.
Winnipeg finally tied it on their 22nd shot at 10:47 of the second. Getting the puck in the slot, Little’s backhand from 20-feet out was tipped by Perreault through Smith’s pads.
The Flames best chance that period to re-take the lead came while shorthanded. Garnet Hathaway stole the puck from Blake Wheeler and sprung Mark Jankowski on a breakaway, but as he was being slashed by Wheeler, Jankowski’s attempted shot went wide.
Wheeler was penalized on the play, but Calgary was unable to score on the man-advantage. The Flames ended up 0 for 4 on the afternoon while Winnipeg was 0 for 2.
One of the most dangerous Jets all afternoon was Nikolaj Ehlers. His best chance was a one-timer set-up by Perreault just eight seconds into the third that Smith snagged with his glove. On a nearly identical play in the opening minute of the second, Smith slid across to deny the Danish left winger with his pad.
Notes: Johnny Gaudreau’s seven-game point streak (2-11-13) came to an end… Winnipeg LW Brandon Tanev (lower body) returned after missing seven games… Calgary is 50-0-2 over the last two seasons when leading after two periods… Jets D Toby Enstrom played in career game No. 700. He is the 33rd Swede to reach that milestone…. Flames have given up three-or-fewer goals in 19 straight games.
Darren Haynes, The Canadian Press