The Calgary Flames have eliminated the Winnipeg Jets from the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs Qualifying Round.
The victory came Thursday thanks to a 4-0 drubbing, closing out the best-of-five series in this qualifying set-up. As far as the NHL is concerned, this isn’t the “first round” of the Stanley Cup Playoffs but it does count as part of the playoffs.
The Flames jumped out to an early lead with goals by Dillon Dube and Sam Bennett. The second period was scoreless. Calgary sealed the deal with two empty-netters late in the third, with Sean Monahan and Rasmus Andersson hitting the yawning cage.
The Jets played a more physical game, leading in hits and penalty minutes as well as faceoff victories.
Both teams were close in terms of blocked shots, while the Flames had the edge in shots on goal. Both teams went scoreless on the power play.
The game began with a fight two seconds in, as Milan Lucic squared off against Nathan Beaulieu.
The Jets struggled mightily against Calgary netminder Cam Talbot, but they also had to make do without critical players like Patrik Laine and Mark Scheifele. They entered the game without excuses, though, and head coach Paul Maurice was insistent that overcoming adversity was part and parcel with bringing Winnipeg’s brand of hockey to the world.
“There’s a little bit of handling adversity in Winnipeg because man, it gets cold in the winter, So you get used to some tough days, and everybody in the city is going through it, so you’re all kind of in it together,” said Maurice ahead of Game Four. “You get together as a group, this group will have its back against the wall so there’s that sense of community in the room, there’s that togetherness that you need.”
For the Flames, there was a sense of community as well. 11 different players scored goals in the four-game series to help Calgary become the first Western Conference team to advance in this version of the playoffs. They will now play one of the top four seeds in the upcoming round of 16. That includes either the Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars, or Vegas Golden Knights.
Game One of the next series could come as early as Tuesday.