The Winnipeg Jets were looking to stave off elimination after a 6-2 loss to the Calgary Flames in Game 3 of the NHL play-in round on Tuesday. Unfortunately for the Jets, they will be heading back home earlier than they would have liked.
Given the fact that this was an elimination game for the Winnipeg Jets, it is safe to say they did not start off on the right foot. Dillon Dubé would open the scoring, putting the Calgary Flames ahead early, 1-0. Sean Monahan and Eric Gustaffson were both awarded with assists on the play.
With but a single second left in the first period, Sam Bennett scored a buzzer-beater with 0.3 seconds remaining on the clock. This would give the Flames a 2-0 lead with assists awarded to Noah Hanifin and Matthew Tkachuk.
Regardless of what the score was, the Winnipeg Jets continued to keep pace with the Flames. A lack of effort was never an issue throughout the series and it continued not to be.
The best offensive chance of the period came from Dillon Dubé on a breakaway, but Connor Hellebuyck was able to freeze the puck just as it was about to cross the goal line.
The Flames began to put distance between themselves and the Jets as they began to run away with the the shot count, leading 27-19 by the end of the period.
The Winnipeg Jets continued to trail 2-0, but Connor Hellebuyck stood tall to keep his team in the game in a scoreless period.
In the final four minutes, the Winnipeg Jets pulled Connor Hellebuyck to get the extra man on the ice, but Sean Monahan scored on the open net to give the Calgary Flames a 3-0 lead. Tobias Rieder and Derek Ryan were both awarded with assists on the play.
Rasmus Andersson then followed with a second empty net goal which closed out the game with just three minutes left. Milan Lucic and Sam Bennett were both awarded with assists on the play. This was the final nail in the coffin for a depleted Winnipeg Jets team.
The absence of two of the Winnipeg Jets players finally become too much for them to overcome as the Jets failed to get on the scoreboard in their final period of the 2019-20 season. Kyle Connor and Blake Wheeler performed to the best of their abilities, but Cam Talbot stood tall for the Flames, stopping all 31 shots in which he faced for the shutout.
Final score: Calgary Flames (4) – Winnipeg Jets (0)
A Strong Season-Long Effort Came to an Early End
The Jets made it clear prior to the start of the play-in round that they were looking to go far into the NHL postseason. In all likelihood, they may still have been in it if it weren’t for injuries to their star players from game one of the series.
The Winnipeg Jet struggled offensively, not due to a lack of effort, but instead due to these injuries becoming too overbearing to counter a strong Calgary Flames team that was too much to handle by the end.
When the time comes to assess what went wrong with the Winnipeg Jets this season, it will be hard to fault the on-ice product that played in their final game as they performed to the best of their abilities despite several holes that couldn’t simply be filled.
It was neither the outcome they expected, nor the one they wanted. Fortunately for the Winnipeg Jets, they will be one of the eight teams to take part in the Draft Lottery on Monday evening. That will determine which team will select first overall at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.