It was not the start to the game, let alone to the series, that the Winnipeg Jets expected. Early on in the first period, Mark Scheifele was in the midst of avoiding a hit from Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk when he slid awkwardly into the rink boards. Scheifele was slow to get off the ice, even going as far as requiring aid from the team’s medical staff. Upon heading to the dressing room, Scheifele struggled to put weight on one of his legs.
Mark Scheifele is the star centre of the Winnipeg Jets team and losing him for the series may be detrimental to the odds at making it past the Stanley Cup Qualifiers. More to come on his status as we await further news.
Fortunately for the Winnipeg Jets, Andrew Copp opened the scoring to give his team a 1-0 lead. Adam Lowry and Dmitry Kulikov assisted on the play.
Second Period: Three Goals In 11 Minutes For The Calgary Flames
Mark Scheifele’s absence was felt throughout the second period for the WInnipeg Jets. The Calgary Flames tied up the score 1-1 at the 12:54 mark with a goal by Johnny Gaudreau. Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm had the assists on the play.
It is safe to say the second period of play belonged to the Calgary Flames as they ran away with the shot count, several of those being high-danger chances. As the Winnipeg Jets continued to face the ongoing pressure the Flames were putting on them, Tobias Rieder scored on the breakaway on a shorthanded goal to give the Calgary Flames their first lead of the game.
Since Andrew Copp’s goal, the Winnipeg Jets had 10 shots compared to the 24 shots by the Calgary Flames. The Flames continued to widen that gap and were rewarded with their third goal of the period by Mikael Backlund. After the unassisted goal, the Winnipeg Jets went into the second intermission down by two.
Third Period: Barren Offensive Production
The Winnipeg Jets came out for third period with a sense of urgency that was lacking in the latter half of the second period and were looking to eliminated their deficit.
Adam Lowry managed to draw a penalty early on, giving the Jets an opportunity to cut the Calgary Flames lead down to one goal, but from there were unable to capitalize.
As if losing Scheifele in the first period was bad enough for the Winnipeg Jets, Patrik Laine headed for the dressing with less than 12 minutes remaining in the period. Both players made up 57 of the Winnipeg Jets goals scored in the regular season. Losing Laine would be another huge blow that the Winnipeg hockey team simply can’t afford.
By the last few minutes of the game, the Winnipeg Jets had already gone 0 for 6 on the power play and the absence of two key forwards was felt throughout their last man advantage.
In a final attempt, to get back on the board, the Winnipeg Jets surrendered an empty net goal from Andrew Mangiapane.
Looking Ahead To Game Two
Just as every other playoff series, every game counts. However, there is a further added pressure due to the play-in series only being a best of five. Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine missing any time whatsoever may prevent the Jets from advancing to the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
If both players are absent for the remaining games, the Jets will have to make do with what they have as the team looks to make up for numbers they have lost. Expect the team to rely heavily on the likes of Blake Wheeler, Kyle Connor and Nikolaj Ehlers up front.
The Winnipeg Jets will have a chance to tie their series against the Calgary Flames in a Monday afternoon tilt at 2:30pmET. This game is available for viewing on Sportsnet Ontario, NHL Network and NHL.TV. It can also be heard via radio on TSN 1290 Winnipeg.