Flames bounce back to top Jets in must-win game, keep playoff hopes alive

Nikita Zadorov got redemption, assisting on the game winner and scoring an insurance goal after having one called back earlier in the game, as the Calgary Flames defeated the Winnipeg Jets 3-1 with both teams fighting for the final wild card spot.

Andrew Mangiapane and Nikita Zadorov each had a goal and assist as the Calgary Flames kept their playoff hopes alive with a 3-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday.

The Flames (37-27-15) and Jets (43-32-3) both have 89 points, but Winnipeg maintains its hold on the second Western Conference wild-card spot because it has the better winning percentage. The Jets have four games remaining, one more than the Flames.

Walker Duehr also scored for the Flames, who lost to Chicago the night before but are 5-1-0 in their past six games. Jacob Markstrom stopped 33 shots.

Kyle Connor scored for the Jets, who lost for the first time in three games and are 3-3-0 in their past six contests.

Connor Hellebuyck made 32 saves in his NHL-leading 61st start and 10th in a row.

The Jets play another crucial game Saturday when they host the Nashville Predators, who have 86 points and five games remaining.

Winnipeg led 1-0 after the first period and it was tied following the second.

The opening period featured plenty of power-play time for both teams.

The Flames had two power plays 13 seconds apart early in the period but only got one total shot on goal.

Their first man advantage came after Jets centre Pierre-Luc Dubois was called for boarding. He checked Rasmus Andersson in the back as they raced for the puck and the defenceman slid into the boards behind the net.

Fans then booed Andersson every time he touched the puck during Calgary’s power play, and even at times later in the game.

The Jets went on a four-minute man advantage after Flames forward Milan Lucic received a double minor for high sticking at 9:07. Winnipeg cashed in.

Connor took a pass from Nikolaj Ehlers and fired a one-timer that beat Markstrom on the glove side at 11:42. It was his 31st goal of the season and extended his goal-scoring streak to three games.

Winnipeg outshot the visitors 9-7, then killed off the penalty to start the second.

The Flames had a goal by Zadorov waived off for goaltender interference at 4:38 of the second.

They scored one that counted less than two minutes later when Mangiapane recorded his 17th of the season at 6:06.

Tempers flared in the middle period and more penalties were handed out, including Markstrom being called for unsportsmanlike conduct for hitting Dubois in the head with his blocker.

Winnipeg was 1-for-5 on the power play after 40 minutes, while Calgary was 0-for-4. Shots on goal were 21-20 in Winnipeg’s favour.

Ten seconds after the Flames had another man advantage expire, Duehr scored on a wraparound at 4:08.

Zadorov sealed the victory when Hellebuyck couldn’t grab a high shot that flew by him at 10:40.


Flames forward Mikael Backlund assisted on Mangiapane’s goal, giving him a career-high 54 points this season (18 goals, 36 assists). … Dubois’s assist on Connor’s goal was the 300th point of his NHL career. … Ehlers stretched his points streak to three games with three goals and two assists. … Mark Scheifele played in his 720th game with the Jets/Atlanta franchise, moving past Toby Enstrom for third place in games played.


Jets: Host the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

Flames: Travel to Vancouver to play the Canucks on Saturday.

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