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Game Recap: Winnipeg Jets vs. Calgary Flames

The Dubois Debut did not go entirely to plan.

Winnipeg Jets v Calgary Flames Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images

At long last, the prodigal son has arrived to save the Winnipeg Jets from....something! This time, that something was the Calgary Flames. Pierre-Luc Dubois made his maiden voyage in a Jets uniform, and we all collectively exploded in glee. Regrettably, the game itself didn’t end in the resounding victory we were all hoping for.

The First Period

The opening 20 minutes were definitely.....something! Winnipeg came out of the weekend break looking stiff and awkward. Maybe the new lines messed with the chemistry. Maybe the Jets were just dealing with another slow start. Either way, Winnipeg was a touch sloppy and hesitant against a fast, furious Flames squad. Calgary’s counters and rushes all looked snappy while the Jets seemed a bit sluggish off the hop.

Winnipeg Jets v Calgary Flames Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images

PLD’s line, featuring Kyle Connor and Trevor Lewis on the flanks, had very little to show for the period. Most of its ice-time was spent in the defensive zone (yikes). The top line of Ehlers-Scheifele-Copp also had a slower start before a later sequence with Pionk nearly gave Ehlers a beautiful goal. Aside from that moment, the rest of the opening frame saw Calgary buzzing the front of Winnipeg’s net while the Jets struggled to create momentum in the other end. Kristian Vesalainen was my Man of the Period, showing off some impressive physicality, smart forechecking, and decent defensive acumen alongside Stastny and Wheeler. If the Finn can stick on this line, that’d be phenomenal news.

The Second Period

After a stilted start in the first period, the Jets looked a lot more lively in the middle frame. Maurice made the right call to swap Appleton and Lewis. The resulting shifts from Dubois seemed to liven the third line up, with PLD driving towards the slot with vigor and showing off soft hands on some great passes. Of course, it was Best Jet Nik Ehlers who opened the scoring, sniping one past Markstrom on the power play. Markstrom had just robbed Scheifele a shift earlier, but lost sight of Ehlers’ shot on a partial screen from Perreault.

Unfortunately, the Jets with a lead is a dicey affair, and Logan Stanley had a tough shift where he got burned at his blueline, and then down at the goalmouth by the elusive Mangiapane to tie the game. The pain continued later in the period when Byron Froese deflected a Valimaki shot to give the Flames the lead. Thankfully, Ehlers is a hero and capitalized on a great passing sequence from Stanley and Scheifele to restore the 2-2 draw. Neither team found twine again before intermission, so we’d have to wait a bit longer to determine the victor.

The Third Period

The Jets and Flames continued their tug of war into the waning minutes of the game, with each side desperate to secure the full 2 points with no strings attached. The Flames seemed to be the better squad, and looking at the scoring chance locations on Natural Stat Trick more or less aligned to the Jets struggling near their own slot. Winnipeg’s blueliners got thoroughly pasted, and the only defender to post a positive xGF% played the least minutes on the night. I’ll leave you to guess which blueliner that was...

Winnipeg Jets v Calgary Flames Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images

The defender who logged the most minutes and had the worst outing took a late penalty that was frustrating but correctly called. It was a silly high stick that you just won’t get away with no matter what. The Jets PK immediately got punished and Calgary took the lead with just under 2 minutes remaining. Winnipeg failed to tie the game and earned a pretty fair result, all told. They weren’t particularly great and the Flames took advantage. On to the Sens!

Three Takeaways

Pierre-Luc Dubois had a solid start to Jets living.

PLD’s first period aside, the rest of his debut was pretty decent! He showed off his strength and slot-driving ability, as well as some great up-ice vision. Dubois’ acceleration and top end speed also popped up every now and then, much to my delight. Once he starts to settle in, I imagine the points will start flowing.

Nate Beaulieu cannot be this team’s TOI leader.

I don’t care how bad this defense is. Beaulieu on the top-pairing deployments with Morrissey is untenable. Even if you have to shoehorn some not-deal solution, PICK ANYTHING ELSE. Beaulieu has been swimming and Josh hasn’t been strong to carry him. If they’re not going to slide Heinola’s ELC, just put him in already! He has the skillsets to help the Jets where they’re weakest right now.

Winnipeg looked rather disjointed.

No one was particularly great. Even the Ehlers line was a bit inconsistent, and the best D pairing of Forbort-Pionk got roughed up. The Jets will have these games now and then but it’s troubling to see Maurice still not recognize some of the biggest problems in the line-up. Adding Nate Thompson to the mix ain’t gonna fix it, boss.