Jets hopefuls lose to loaded Calgary lineup 2-0

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The Calgary Flames lineup bore a striking resemblance to one that will likely begin the 2019-20 season next week, while the Winnipeg Jets iced a squad with an abundance of hopefuls.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/09/2019 (1163 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Calgary Flames lineup bore a striking resemblance to one that will likely begin the 2019-20 season next week, while the Winnipeg Jets iced a squad with an abundance of hopefuls.

The result Tuesday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome was predictable – although by no means a blowout.

.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh Winnipeg Jets' David Gustafsson, right, tires to get past Calgary Flames' Travis Hamonic during second period NHL pre-season hockey action in Calgary, Tuesday.

Calgary got goals 33 seconds apart from forwards Sean Monahan and Sam Bennett in the second period en route to a 2-0 triumph over the Jets.

Winnipeg (2-2-1) suffered its second shutout in regulation time during the preseason as Flames goalie David Rittich turned aside all 20 shots he faced.

THE SKINNY

The Jets and Flames were scoreless after 20 minutes, although the hosts had a golden opportunity to strike first but came up empty on a four-minute power play after defenceman Tucker Poolman was slapped with a double-minor for high-sticking.

Midway through the second, the Flames finally sparked their fans out of their seats with a couple of goals in rapid succession. Starting goalie Eric Comrie had no chance on a power-play marker by Monahan, whose long redirection off a point shot from Johnny Gaudreau found the top corner at 13:37 of the period.

Bennett upped the lead at 14:10 when he cruised through the low slot and knocked in a pass that originated from Mikael Backlund stationed behind the net.

Blue-liner Josh Morrissey was held out of the third period as a precaution after feeling some tightness.

It was the last opportunity for some of the players donning Jets jerseys to impress, as a whack of demotions are expected Wednesday.

“I like where their brains were and where their effort was. We were hard on pucks and hard with sticks. I liked that game an awful lot. We were very consistent with how we played,” said head coach Paul Maurice. “Obviously, we’re not moving the puck the way we would with a little more experience back there, but that’s a pretty good team (Calgary) put on the ice.

“The guys in our lineup, trying to survive the big cut, they worked hard, they did a good job.”

FIVE PLAYERS WE WATCHED CLOSELY:

.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh Winnipeg Jets' Dmitry Kulikov, left, ties up Calgary Flames' Elias Lindholm during second period NHL pre-season hockey action in Calgary, Tuesday.

D NATHAN BEAULIEU: There are gaping holes on the Jets penalty-killing unit, with the big summer exodus of defencemen Tyler Myers and Ben Chiarot, and the current absence of Dustin Byfuglien to a personal leave of absence. Beaulieu could well assume some of those critical minutes, and, judging by some solid work Tuesday he’s got the skill set.

On an early four-minute power play for Calgary, Beaulieu dropped to block a couple of point drives and stretched out his stick smartly to break up a cross-crease pass that likely prevented a goal.

Beaulieu can’t rely on his excellent skating alone to be a factor for the Jets, he must limit his mistakes and make competent decisions in his own end. He had one glaring gaffe in the second period with a bad pass behind his own net, took a tripping minor on the recovery and had to watch as Monahan tipped in the opening goal.

C MARK LETESTU: Signed to a one-year, two-way contract, he’s done just about everything right since the start of camp and is an odds-on favourite to win a job on the fourth line.

More than 500 games of NHL experience looks good on a resume, but Letestu is demonstrating he still has lots to give, despite playing just two games for Columbus last season with the rest in the minors.

His instincts as a responsible centre are very apparent. At 34, Letestu doesn’t have explosive speed from a standstill, however, the guy is in perpetual motion, knocks down pucks, interrupts breakouts and is keenly aware of where to be in the defensive zone at all times.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh Winnipeg Jets' Nathan Beaulieu, left, checks Calgary Flames' Michael Frolik during first period NHL pre-season hockey action in Calgary, Tuesday.

F MASON APPLETON: If he was tentative in his first three exhibition assignments, Appleton was far more comfortable in Calgary. Undoubtedly, it was his most productive night of the pre-season, although the scoresheet won’t show it as he accumulated 16:01 of ice time.

He flashed the speed and puck pursuit that became his trademark in 36 NHL games a year ago, and it’s that dogged checking Maurice needs to see from the former AHL rookie of the year. He was a pest in his own zone, slipping into holes to disrupt a couple of Calgary scoring opportunities.

He generated just one scoring chance on the night but it was a beauty. After chipping the puck past a Calgary defender, he regained possession and cut hard to the net but was denied by Rittich.

F ANDREI CHIBISOV: This is not a guy with a penchant for floating in the middle of the ice waiting for loose pucks to arrive. He goes north-south along the boards and can punish with his 6-4, 227st-pound frame.

The Russian-born forward was a noticeable force along the wall again in his fourth pre-season contest, dishing out three hits, tying up defenceman and moving the puck with his feet. But he appears to be more than just a grinder, although he was far more noticeable in an early game playing alongside skilled centre Mark Scheifele

G MIKHAIL BERDIN: Maurice hinted he wanted to give the 21-year-old a taste of big-league action and he was true to his word, sending him in for the third period. And Berdin was sharp, stopping five shots on an early shorthanded situation, including a toe save on Bennett and a brilliant block on Lucic after pushing side to side quickly.

Later, he showed why he’s considered the premier puck-handler of the goalie crew, controlling the puck in the corner, deking out Lucic and then tossing a pass up to a streaking Gabriel Bourque.

He wandered a few times and had to sprawl and scramble back. But there was never a dull moment. He even ripped the rubber all the way down the ice at Rittich just as the buzzer sounded. He stopped all 13 shots he faced.

Afterward, the comedic puck-stopper was asked how it felt to finally experience an NHL-calibre game.

“I’m exciting. It’s a long summer and I’m excited to get back to hockey,” said Berdin, who will partner with Comrie with the Manitoba Moose of the AHL this season. “But playing preseason is not my dream, my dream is to play in show, win Stanleys (Cups) and get trophies.”

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh Winnipeg Jets' Mason Appleton, left, checks Calgary Flames' Milan Lucic during first period NHL pre-season hockey action in Calgary, Tuesday.

HOW THEY LINED UP:

FORWARDS:

Bourque-Copp-Lipon

Appleton-Letestu-Chibisov

Vesalainen-Gustafsson-Griffith

Harkins-Spacek-Reichel

DEFENCE:

Bitetto-Poolman

Beaulieu-Kulikov

Morrissey-Nogier

GOAL:

Comrie-Berdin

WHAT’S NEXT?

Jets training camp continues at Bell MTS Iceplex on Wednesday. All signs point to it being cut-down day as the team brass whittles the group down to one that looks more like the final roster.

The Jets host the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday at 7 p.m.

jason.bell@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPJasonBell

.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh Winnipeg Jets goalie Eric Comrie, left, blocks the net on Calgary Flames' Milan Lucic during first period NHL pre-season hockey action in Calgary, Tuesday.
Jason Bell

Jason Bell
Sports editor

Jason Bell wanted to be a lawyer when he was a kid. The movie The Paper Chase got him hooked on the idea of law school and, possibly, falling in love with someone exactly like Lindsay Wagner (before she went all bionic).

History

Updated on Tuesday, September 24, 2019 11:33 PM CDT: Adds photos

Updated on Tuesday, September 24, 2019 11:44 PM CDT: Final version

Updated on Wednesday, September 25, 2019 12:02 AM CDT: Adds quotes

Updated on Wednesday, September 25, 2019 12:30 PM CDT: Chibisov’s height and weight corrected.

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