Ultimately, the Jets could only muster one win with Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine out of a lineup that had already been decimated by defensive departures. The Flames managed to eliminate the Jets by winning Game 4 4-0, taking the series 3-1.
With two empty-net goals, Game 4 looked easier for the Flames than it really ended up being to eliminate the Jets. That said, Calgary still handled this one pretty efficiently.
Flames control first two periods of Game 4, Talbot does rest to eliminate Jets
Considering how depleted the Jets’ lineup is, falling behind would sting. That would force Winnipeg to stray from a “lean on Connor Hellebuyck and hope our few healthy stars can score or we can get some bounces” plan.
Unfortunately for the Jets, the Flames instead got off to a hot start in clinching the elimination in Game 4. Dillon Dube scored the opening goal less than four minutes in, then Sam Bennett squeezed a last-second goal in right before the first period ended.
With a 2-0 lead, the Flames could have cruised during the middle frame. Instead, Calgary kept the pressure on, including generating a 19-8 shots on goal advantage in the second period, even with a 2-0 lead. It wasn’t until the third that the Jets really flexed their remaining muscles to test Cam Talbot.
And Cam Talbot was up to the challenge.
Talbot carried a strong .924 save percentage into Game 4, and enjoyed his best performance of the series, pitching a shutout.
From here, the Flames await their First Round opponents as the first West team to win its 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifier series. (The Hurricanes swept the Rangers earlier this week to become the first of the 24 teams overall.)
With lower-seed teams like the Coyotes and Blackhawks currently up 2-1 in their series, maybe Calgary will draw some reseeding luck? If this series ends up being any indication, the Flames could be one of the toughest opponents for one of the West’s top four teams.
Overall, this was a painful season for the Jets, one where Connor Hellebuyck bailed an overmatched team startlingly often. That level of resilience shines as a reason for some pride, but Hellebuyck & Co. need some serious help.
(8) Calgary Flames vs. (9) Winnipeg Jets (CGY wins series 3-1)