Jets surge past reeling Flames 5-2
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) The Winnipeg Jets have gotten off to a good start under new coach Paul Maurice.
But the Calgary Flames remain mired a slump, especially at home.
''It's pretty tough to generate energy when you give up the first two goals,'' Flames coach Bob Hartley said. ''Bad coverage right in front of our net. In the NHL, you let guys get great shots from 10, 15 feet away, you're looking for trouble.''
Considering the Flames had scored only two goals over their previous six home games, that early 2-0 deficit courtesy of Little at 5:01 and Dustin Byfuglien three minutes later seemed to take the life right out of the building, except for the pockets of vocal Jets supporters.
''It's frustrating for our fans, for sure,'' said Flames center Matt Stajan, who has gone 16 games without a goal and has no points in his past 12.
''Every year, we take pride in wearing this jersey, especially on home ice. We've always had success in this building. In this recent stretch, it hasn't been very pretty. ''
The Flames have been outscored 22-4 during the losing streak at the Saddledome, which broke the previous mark of six straight losses set in December 1998.
''We can't wait for it to turn around. The game doesn't work that way. It's not just all of a sudden, you're going to start winning. You've gotta make it happen,'' Stajan said.
Home or away, goal scoring has been a real trouble spot of late.
Calgary has only 12 goals in its past 11 games. They have lost nine of those games to sit 28th in the NHL, three points up on Edmonton. The last-place Buffalo Sabres have climbed within six of the Flames.
''I felt tonight, not to make up any excuses, but we had zero legs.'' Hartley said. ''In the third period, we saw a little life but in the first two periods, skating was painful. We were trying but I don't know if it was the trip, and I even hate to mention this, but we had zero intensity, we couldn't move.''
Traveling a long distance for a short two-game road trip, Calgary played back-to-back on Monday and Tuesday, winning in Carolina and losing in Nashville.
Jacob Trouba also scored for Winnipeg, which opened up a 4-0 lead after 40 minutes and cruised to its second consecutive win under Maurice.
''We just have to keep focusing on what we're doing and getting better every game and having a short memory is going to be good for us,'' Trouba said. ''Forget about the game we just played and treat every game as a new one and be ready to play.''
Maurice was hired Sunday, the same day that former Jets coach Claude Noel was fired. Winnipeg won 5-1 over Phoenix in Maurice's debut on Monday.
''He's been really good for us,'' Scheifele said. ''He's really instilled a mindset that we're playing for each guy in the locker room, you're playing for the guy beside you. I think that's the big thing, we've really been doing that the last two games.''
The Jets will try to make it three wins in a row Saturday night when they play host to the Edmonton Oilers.
''I thought we were pretty good,'' Maurice said. ''Calgary wasn't sitting back and feeling sorry for themselves. They compete, they work and to our credit, we respected that coming into this game. We came to work because we knew they would.''
''It seems like we're lacking confidence offensively right now but you try not to think about too much,'' Flames winger Paul Byron said. ''It seems like when we get a goal early in a game, we have a completely different hockey team so we know that's a recipe for success so hopefully we can get back to doing that.''
Exposed on Byfuglien's first-period goal, leaving him uncovered in the slot, Calgary's defensive coverage was also poor on both second period goals.
Schieffle was left all alone at the side of the net for an easy tap-in at 9:09, set up neatly by Blake Wheeler.
At 17:31 on the power play, nice puck movement resulted in Jokinen having an empty net to score his 13th of the season.
Making his fourth start in a row, Ondrej Pavelec finished with 20 saves to improve to 13-19-4.
Reto Berra had 18 stops. The 27-year-old first year goaltender from Switzerland falls to 5-14-2.
Notes: Prior to the game, the Jets placed Evander Kane (hand) on injured reserve and recalled Carl Klingberg from St. John's (AHL). Klingberg has played seven career NHL games but has yet to make an appearance with the Jets this year. ... Calgary LW Mike Cammalleri (concussion) missed his third game. ... The Flames' next home game is against Phoenix next Wednesday. ... The next game for both Flames LW Jiri Hudler as well as Byfuglien will be their 500th career NHL games.