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Game Recap: Calgary Flames versus Winnipeg Jets – Game Four

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The Jets bubble has now burst as they are eliminated by the Flames

NHL: Western Conference Qualifications-Calgary Flames at Winnipeg Jets Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Well, I started to brace myself for this potential outcome when I saw Mark Scheifele leave in game one. Then it really started to sink in when Patrik Laine injured his hand/wrist. And now, we have it. The Flames have eliminated our Jets. Full credit to the Flames who were the better team in all aspects of the game. They may make some noise in the next round. Good luck to them.

First Period:

In retrospect, the highlight of the period as a Jets fan was the Hoosli Men’s Choir. Always great. Nathan Beaulieu tried to inject a bit of spark into the team by fighting Milan Lucic at the opening face off. Full marks for Beaulieu’s heart, but, losing a fight decisively to a legitimate NHL heavyweight just seemed to motivate Lucic, reminding him that he was once worth his huge contract. I hope that somewhere on a fishing boat Dustin Byfuglien is enjoying a cold brew, watching the game, feeling a bit guilty for not being out there for the Jets. It was a period where statistically the Jets out shot the Flames, but, ended up two goals down, and never really looked like they were threatening to score. Calgary’s bottom six forwards again stepped up big for the Flames with goals by Dillon Dube and Jets killer Sam Bennett who scored with 0.3 seconds remaining! Connor Hellebuyck looked fine. Unfortunately for the Jets, they needed Vezina, all-world Helle, not “fine” Helle.

Second Period:

There were some positives. It could have easily been 3 – 0 Flames if not for a a great breakaway save (and goal post assistance) by Hellebuyck on the ever present Dillon Dube. Adam Lowry and Jack Roslovic had some good chances. The Wheeler – Ehlers – Connor line showed some speed. However, it was basically all for naught as the score remained 2 – 0 Flames heading into the third period. At the end of three games and two periods, it pains me greatly to say this, but the Flames look good.

Third Period:

The Jets had some dangerous scoring chances courtesy of Ehlers, Connor, Roslovic, but none could beat Calgary goalie Cam Talbot, who ultimately won the goalie battle with a decisive shut out victory. Paul Maurice pulled Hellebuyck at the four minute mark leading to Sean Monahan and Rasmus Andersson scoring empty net goals, and Hellebuyck returning to ride out the loss. Final score 4 – 0 Flames. Enough said.

Three Thoughts:

Let’s remember the Jets were not really a playoff team.

Had it not been for the chaos that COVID caused on the regular season, the Jets likely would not have made the playoffs. Also, most experts projected the Jets to be a borderline playoff team this season given the talent that they lost particularly on defense, and that was with Dustin Byfuglien expected to play. So, let’s remember that the Jets are who most thought they would be this season. Even with Scheifele and Laine in the line up, the Jets would have had a very tough time beating the Flames.

The Jets Need a Talent Upgrade:

An article for a later date, but, the reality is the Jets need a talent upgrade if they want to be a true contender, particularly in the bottom six forwards, and bottom three defense. They have some players who have developed well (Tucker Poolman, Andrew Copp), added some pieces that I’d like to see continue (Dylan DeMelo, Jansen Harkins), and have some prospects who might make the leap next season (Dylan Samberg, Ville Heinola). But, if I were Chevy, I think now is the time to get a bit ruthless with the roster. To consider many different options. Trades, salary dumps, free agent signings. If not, we may remain where we currently are – mediocre. The worst place to be. Lukewarm, playoff bubble team. Time for some bolder moves Chevy.

The Jets may have secured the chance to draft Alexis Lafreniere

Scouts and GM’s anonymously quoted in an article on the Athletic website recently said that Lafreniere is a top line player in the NHL right now, no question. Right now! Let that sink in while you daydream about him in a Jets jersey.