A dominating special-teams performance, led by second-period power-play goals from Johnny Gaudreau and Mikael Backlund, sent the Calgary Flames to a 4-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday in the opener of a best-of-five Western Conference qualifying round series in Edmonton.
Tobias Rieder added a short-handed marker in the middle frame for the Flames, who received a 17-save performance from goaltender Cam Talbot. Game 2 of the series will be Monday.
The Jets lost not only the series opener but also a pair of key players due to injury. First, it was top-line center Mark Scheifele, who left the game before the six-minute mark after his leg appeared to be clipped by the skate of Matthew Tkachuk near the boards while the Flames forward was attempting a body check.
Sniper Patrik Laine left the game midway through the third period due to an apparent injury to his right hand or wrist. Both appeared to be in significant pain, and neither returned.
After a horrid start in which they were outshot 7-1 over the first 13-plus minutes and trailed by a goal, the Flames controlled the game and were rewarded with four unanswered tallies.
Gaudreau, who failed to score in his team's last two playoff series, cued the comeback at 7:06 of the second period. He was fed the puck after a point shot was blocked and calmly waited for the right moment to find the mark.
Rieder netted the game-winning goal on a short-handed breakaway at 12:51 of the period when he deposited a backhand deke, and then Backlund added another man-advantage marker with 106 seconds remaining in the period. Backlund was alone in the left circle when fed by Andrew Mangiapane and made no mistake with the golden chance.
Mangiapane rounded out the scoring with a late empty-netter.
The Jets, who failed to score on seven power-play chances, actually opened the scoring at 8:51 of the game. Adam Lowry made a perfect no-look pass to Andrew Copp, who was parked in the left circle and ripped a top-shelf shot over Talbot's glove.
Connor Hellebuyck made 29 saves for the Jets.
--Field Level Media