Winnipeg Jets 5 Calgary Flames 3 (Jets 37-35-10, Road 19-18-4) – It was a short-staffed Jets team that was playing on back to back nights that found a way to win the game and end the season with back to back wins. It was the first time the Jets have won back to back games since wins over Phoenix and Nashville coming out of the Olympic break. Starting the game without 10 regulars, the Jets lost Jacob Trouba in the first period and Jim Slater in the second period due to injury. Trouba was hit in the throat by a deflected puck, while Slater suffered a broken finger. Michael Hutchinson, in just his third NHL game, was again very good, especially in the third stopping all 18 shots he faced.
The Jets took a 2-0 lead after one period on goals by Michael Frolik (15th) from Trouba and Mark Stuart at 7:23, and Evander Kane (19th) from Bryan Little and Adam Pardy. Kane finishes the season with goals in back to back games, the goal being his 200th NHL point. Shots in the first were 14-8 for the Jets.
The Flames got on the board early in the second on a goal from Jiri Hudler, but Carl Klingberg, with his first NHL goal, restored the two goal lead for Winnipeg. Patrice Cormier and Zach Redmond drew assists on the Klingberg goal. The Jets then ran into penalty trouble and for the first time in 10 occasions this season gave up a goal while down two men as Sean Monahan scored his 22nd of the season, and 24 seconds later the game was tied on Chris Russell's seventh of the year, also a power play goal. Shots in the second were 12-5 for Calgary as the tough skate Wednesday and playing the night before seemed to be catching up to the Jets.
The Flames needed something out of this game to finish above .500 at home, and with aggressive fore-checking took advantage of a tired Jets team. But Hutchinson shut the door, his best save off Kenny Agostino, a glove save on a one on one situation. Paul Postma with his first of the season put the Jets back in front. Cormier, with his first career two-point game, and Anthony Peluso drew assists. The Flames pulled goaltender Karri Ramo while on a late power play, but Blake Wheeler, with his 28th, into an empty net ended it. Shots in the third were 18-8 Calgary and 38-27 for the Flames over the game.
Stuart led the Jets in ice time at 24:25, Slater won 11 of 12 face-offs before leaving the game and Cormier won nine of 12. Hutchison stopped 83 of 88 shots in his three games for a save percentage of .943 and record of 2-1.
Coach Paul Maurice was very proud of his squad. “With three minutes left in the second, we had nothing left. Then we found a way to win. Our goalie made some great saves. Losing Trouba and Slater did not help.” And on his team, “they played for each other. They care about each other. There is a lot of the right kind of people in the room. What excites me about this team is the room.”
Exit meetings with players will be held this weekend and into next week, with all the call-ups on their way back to St. John's, while others will be asked to compete for their country at the World Championship in Belarus in May. GM Kevin Cheveldayoff will address the media Wednesday. More on this past season, the off-season, and next season after that.