The Calgary Flames headed into Game 4 on Thursday night with an opportunity to eliminate the Winnipeg Jets from the Qualifying Round. Mission accomplished. The Flames were excellent early and otherwise pretty good the rest of the way en route to a 4-0 victory in Game 4, which cemented a 3-1 series victory over the Jets.

The Rundown

The Flames opened the scoring a few minutes into the opening frame. Erik Gustafsson got a point shot through on his second attempt (his first try was blocked) and it was tipped by Sean Monahan but stopped by Connor Hellebuyck. The Jets netminder made the stop, but Dillon Dube got a couple whacks at the rebound and buried it to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.

The Jets made a push after going down early, but the Flames defended fairly well. Late in the period, Cam Talbot got caught outside his crease playing the puck – channeling Mike Smith – but the Flames scrambled in front to cover and some combination of Gustafsson and Matthew Tkachuk blocked Jansen Harkins’ scoring chance.

Sam Bennett jumped on for Mikael Backlund late in the period and joined in on a late rush. Noah Hanifin pinched, skated just past the Jets net and hucked the puck back towards the slot where Bennett fired it past Hellebuyck with 0.7 seconds remaining on the clock to extend Calgary’s lead to 2-0.

Shots were 11-8 Jets and scoring chances 9-6 Jets, but the Flames led in high-danger chances 3-0.

Neither team scored in the second period. The Jets had a few sequences where they got some offensive zone time and some momentum, but the Flames did a nice job frequently bouncing back from those shifts by responding with zone time of their own.

Shots were 19-8 Flames and scoring chances 15-10 Flames in the second period.

The Flames had a pair of third period power plays but could not convert. The Jets pressed and had a pair of third period man advantages of their own, but were stymied by the Flames (and some poised netminding from Talbot). The Jets pulled Hellebuyck for an extra attacker with just over four minutes remaining, but Sean Monahan and Rasmus Andersson added empty net goals to push the Flames lead to 4-0.

The Flames held on for the victory. Shots were 12-7 Jets and scoring chances 5-2 Jets in the third period.

Why the Flames Won

The Flames looked hungry, poised and organized in this contest. The Jets? Well, they are who we thought they’d be after they lost three regulars in Game 1: feisty, but out-matched. The Flames were consistently better in most game situations and deserved the win.

Stick-taps to the Jets for scrapping to the bitter end.

Red Warrior

Bennett was fantastic in this game. He was consistently dangerous and energetic.

But nobody stood out as bad. The Flames played generally quite well, especially Talbot.

The Turning Point

Bennett jumped into the rush late in the opening period and scored a goal with 0.7 seconds remaining. Rather than head to the locker room a bounce away from the game being tied, the Flames bought themselves some breathing room.

The Numbers

Data via Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5v5.

Bennett 70.4 50.0 2.300
Lucic 70.0 37.5 1.345
Dube 65.4 100 1.815
Ryan 57.1 30.0 0.840
Jankowski 57.1 60.0 0.150
Andersson 55.9 69.2 1.275
Rieder 55.6 60.0 0.925
Hanifin 55.2 66.7 1.325
Gustafsson 47.1 66.7 0.925
Mangiapane 46.2 46.7 0.050
Giordano 46.2 23.8 0.325
Forbort 43.3 53.9 0.225
Brodie 43.2 22.7 -0.300
Monahan 40.7 38.5 1.565
Tkachuk 38.5 46.7 0.600
Backlund 33.3 46.7 -0.260
Lindholm 27.3 38.5 -0.320
Gaudreau 25.0 38.5 -0.325
Talbot 3.100

This and That

Milan Lucic fought Nathan Beaulieu off the opening face-off. It was not pretty.

Including the post-season, this was the 31st time the Flames scored first. (And the first time in this series.) Including the post-season, the Flames are 19-2-1 when leading after one period and 26-1-3 when leading after two periods in 2019-20.

With the victory, Talbot is now tied for fifth place all-time among Flames goaltenders in playoff wins… with three. (He’s tied with Jonas Hiller, Don Edwards and Trevor Kidd, and he’s trailing Mike Vernon, Miikka Kiprusoff, Reggie Lemelin and Pat Riggin.)

Up Next

The Flames have won this best-of-five Qualifying Round series and advance to the Stanley Cup playoffs. They’ll begin the first round on Tuesday or Wednesday.