Despite missing two of their best forwards, the Winnipeg Jets managed to even the series with the Calgary Flames yesterday with a 3-2 victory. Calgary fell behind 2-0 but managed to tie it up with goals from Elias Lindholm and Sam Bennett before Nikolaj Ehlers got the winner in the third. Here are three reasons why the Flames lost and the series is tied 1-1.
1. Atrocious Powerplay Performance
Less than 48 hours after one of their best special teams performances in recent memory, the Flames were horrendous on Monday afternoon against the Jets. While the PK was actually fairly solid again despite giving up the game-winning goal, it was the PP that severely destroyed any hope of a Flame victory.
The Flames PP went 0/6 in the game, with everything perfectly summed up by a rim around the boards with 30 seconds left that missed everyone and went down the ice despite being 6-on-4. The Flames only generated one high danger chance while on the man advantage and only four total shots over the course of the game. It simply wasn’t good, it wasn’t even close to passable.
The top unit was unable to set up in the offensive zone with much regularity, while the second unit couldn’t even handle a simple dump and chase, spending most of their shifts retrieving the puck.
2. A Complete Lack of Discipline
In a somewhat surprising turn of events, the Flames kept their emotions in control and frankly bullied the Jets in Game 1 en route to a comfortable victory. In Game 2, the Flames were the team that allowed their frustrations to get the best of them.
Frustrations are also one thing, but those two penalties taken by Sam Bennett and Andrew Mangiapane in the third period were absolutely unacceptable. Those two penalties alone put the Flames down a man for four of the final nine minutes of the third period with the Jets ahead by a goal.
This looked a lot like past playoff series where other teams took it to the Flames and they got sucked into scrums instead of dictating things like they did in Game 1. Calgary needs to get their heads back in check before Game 3.
3. Fourth Line was Horrendous
Simply put, the Flames fourth line was terrible yesterday, and even the third line had some questionable stretches especially early in the game. The fourth line was routinely dominated during their limited time on the ice, giving up multiple scoring chances despite having the lowest minutes of any line.
I would expect changes ahead of Game 3 as the Flames need to be able to somewhat roll four competent lines if they want to have any real shot at winning.
by Michael MacGillivray