Jets’ points streak snapped to seven with loss to Flames

Twice the Winnipeg Jets battled a desperate Calgary Flames on Saturday night, but they failed to find the magic a third time as the Jets lost 3-2 at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

The loss ends Winnipeg’s seven-game point streak, a streak that saw them go 6-0-1, before coming up against a Flames side desperate to break their own 0-5 streak -2.

“It wasn’t our worst game but we were facing a desperate club,” said Neal Pionk. “We have to match their intensity regardless of the situation.”

Pionk had two points, a goal and an assist, while Pierre-Luc Dubois had the other goal for the Jets, who are now 8-4-1 this season.

But maybe where the Jets wanted to be better that night was on the power play. They were 4-for-10 the last three games, but went 0-for-3 against Calgary and traded the eventual shorthanded game-winner to Trevor Lewis.

“It’s not the momentum you’re trying to get,” associate coach Scott Arniel said. “It doesn’t always have to be goals, but you have to kind of wear down the opposition penalty killers and create chances. Give Calgary the credit. They’re extremely aggressive and they’ve done a good job.”

Calgary opened the scoring for its fifth consecutive game, as Adam Ruzicka’s backhand from the right wing boards was deflected by Elias Lindholm and slipped between the legs of Connor Hellebuyck 3:23 in the first.

Video: [email protected]: Pionk scores 4th of the season in 1st half

Winnipeg responded with 5:14 left in the first period, as Neal PionkThe wrist shot from the point deflected off the leg of Flames defenseman Connor Mackey and past Jacob Markstrom, who had deflected quality chances from Marc Scheifele and Kyle Connor That much.

Ruzicka and Lindholm teamed up once again in the first period, as Lindholm fed Ruzicka on a two-on-one just 2:36 after Pionk’s fourth of the season tied the game. Ruzicka’s first of the campaign gave Calgary a 2-1 lead after 20.

“They showed in the last three games that they were really tough in the first,” Arniel said, adding that the Jets also had to balance having 11 forwards for most of the first because both Adam Lowry and Jansen Harkins had to be stitched up after receiving a high stick and a puck in the face respectively.

“They both received stitches in their faces,” Arniel said. “It turned us off a little bit. But at the same time things happen, you have to try to grab them as a group and just try to move on.”

Dubois tied the Jets in second, finishing off a nice passing game with Pionk and Josh Morrissey four against four. Pionk, on the point, found Morrissey at the bottom of the left circle, and Morrissey fired a cross pass to Dubois who buried it in the open net.

The goal also gave Dubois a four-game winning streak, but that stat meant little to him after a frustrating loss.

“We had a good streak, not just in terms of points, but also playing well and playing the right way,” he said. “Tonight at times we played well and at other times we tried to push a little too much.”

Video: [email protected]: Dubois equalizes the match in the 2nd period

A late Jets power play in the second gave them the chance to take their first lead, but instead Mikael Backlund took advantage of a turnaround in the neutral zone and then set up Lewis for a shorthanded marker . It was the first shorthanded goal the Jets have allowed this season.

“We knew they were going to push,” Pionk said. “It’s kind of their thing pressuring three high. We pre-scouted, we knew that, and that was the difference in the game.”

In all three power-play opportunities, the Jets failed to pass Markstrom. Although part of that was the play of Flames defenseman Chris Tanev, who blocked two shots – one from Kyle Connor and another from Mark Scheifele.

“You just have to take what they give you,” Dubois said. “Sometimes it’s just and more and a hit and a one-timer. It’ll come in at some point. If so, it gives you the momentum. Tonight maybe a little five against five too, we were trying a little too much for the perfect game.”

Calgary plugged the neutral zone for the entire third period, outscoring the Jets by an 11-4 margin. The body count making it difficult for the Jets to go 200 feet made it even harder to find that equalizer a third time.

“They kind of smothered us,” Arniel said. “They were staying above us as much as they could too. But at the end of the day, you have to force teams to come back and get pucks.”

The Jets get back to it Sunday against the Seattle Kraken, as they complete their third of 13 straight series this season.

“We’re not going to win all 82 games,” Pionk said. “Guys have been in this league long enough, we know we have to take a lesson tomorrow and find a way to win.”

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