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Jets Squeeze Out 3-2 Win, Even Series 1-1

We’ve got ourselves a series.

Even without fans in the stands–and a game presentation that’s a skeleton of the atmosphere that many associate the NHL playoffs with, in lieu of such– the Winnipeg Jets’ 3-2 matinee win over the Calgary Flames felt like good ‘ol playoff hockey.

Heading into the second game of the best-of-five series down 1-0, short two of their star players in Mark Schefiele and Patrik Laine and one of their role players up front, Mason Appleton, Winnipeg looked to be a considerable underdog heading into Game Two of their 2020 Qualifying Round series.

First period

From the drop of the puck, the Jets were flying.

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Generating plenty of offensive zone time and playing a physical game, Winnipeg was playing with a purpose at the start of the first period.

And just over the midway mark of the first period, with 12:42 remaining in the first period, Adam Lowry set-up a streaking Jansen Harkins, who roofed it top corner past Cam Talbot to give the Jets a 1-0 lead. First career playoff game, first career playoff goal for Jansen Harkins. Not too shabby.

 

Second period

The Jets were gifted with a full two-minute five-on-three just over three minutes into the second frame but failed to connect. However, shortly after returning to even-strength, Adam Lowry batted home a puck out of the air to give the Jets a 2-0 lead with 14:17 remaining.

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Calgary went on to remind Winnipeg that a two-goal lede can be nullified quickly.

 

Elias Lindholm picked off a pass from Nikolaj Ehlers before walking in and scoring, bringing the Flames within one goal with 8:21 remaining in the second period. Six minutes later, the rebound of Sam Bennett’s shot went off of Nathan Beaulieu’s skate and into the net.

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Just like that, it was a 2-2 hockey game.

Third Period

After his costly turnover lead to the Flames scoring their first of the game, Nikolaj Ehlers was called for unsportsmanlike conduct at the 12:33 mark of the third period. The timing couldn’t have been worse for Ehlers, who coming into today’s game had yet to record his first career NHL playoff goal through 22 career games.

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But the hockey gods worked in Ehlers’ favor this afternoon. Ehlers tipped home a point shot from Neal Poink, scoring the game-winning goal and registering the Jets’ first power play goal after 10 straight unsuccessful attempts on the man-advantage.

Post-game thoughts

The power play needs to be better. The Jets have gone 1/13 on the power play over their last two games. Not having Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine in your lineup is obviously going to hinder the Jets’ power play strength, but the Jets need to be converting, and possessing better, on the man-advantage.

The Jansen Harkins-Adam-Lowry-Jack Roslovic line was fantastic. Harkins and Lowry each scored, Roslovic got two assists and the Jets’ third line, that was thrown together for the first time this afternoon, was a huge positive for them.

The Penalty Kill went 6/6. While the Jets were able to kill off Nikolaj Ehlers’ unsportsmanlike conduct on Matthew Tkachuk,  Winnipeg’s got to be more disciplined with those reactionary penalties. Tkachuk is a pest, one who does a very good job at drawing penalties and getting his team on the man-advantage.