2011 Calder Cup

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Jets rally to take Heritage Classic from Flames: 3 takeaways

The Winnipeg Jets needed this one.

They entered Saturday’s Heritage Classic against the Calgary Flames in Regina, Saskatchewan having lost five of their past six games and were less than five minutes away from heading to what would have almost certainly been another frustrating defeat.

But a Josh Morrissey goal with 4:11 to play sent the game to overtime where Bryan Little scored the game-winner to lift the Jets to a 2-1 win.

What stood out about this game? Here are three quick takeaways.

1. This was the result this game deserved. First, the Jets played really well. They ended up finishing the game with a pretty significant edge in shots on goal and were right there with the Flames all night.

There is also the fact that the Flames’ only goal — and for a while it looked like it might have been the only goal in the game — came with a little bit of controversy.

Elias Lindholm put the Flames on the board in the second period only to have the Jets challenge the play because they felt Matthew Tkachuk kept the play alive with a high stick. The play was reviewed and at first glance it looked like it may have been a high-stick, but the NHL determined that it agreed with the on-ice officials ruling that Tkachuk’s stick “was at or below the normal height of his shoulders when he contacted the puck prior to Elias Lindholm’s goal.” (Official wording from the league right there.)

It infuriated Jets coach Paul Maurice and the Jets’ bench, but that was the call.

Here is the play. You be the judge on whether or not that is a high stick on the puck or not.

Fortunately for the Jets they were able to rally and take the two points.

2. Even with the win the Jets’ offense has still cooled off. If the Jets are going to have a chance to compete this season with the current state of their defense they are going to need their forwards and offense to carry a lot of the weight. Lately that has been a struggle. Even with Saturday’s win the Jets have managed just nine goals in their past six games, and have not scored more than two goals in a game in two weeks. It is not a surprise they have lost four of those games. Even in the two games they did win offense has been nearly impossible to come by. Their 1-0 win against the Edmonton Oilers was a shootout win (meaning they scored zero goals in regulation or overtime) and even on Saturday they managed just two goals. It could just be a simple cold streak, or it could still be the result of the undermanned defense not being able to get the puck to the forwards to generate offense. A lot of offense in the NHL starts with your blue line. Either way, two goals (or less) per game is not going to cut it for anyone long-term.

3. Adam Lowry‘s hit on Oliver Kylington was scary. Tough moment at the end of the second period when Winnipeg’s Adam Lowry was penalized for boarding Calgary’s Oliver Kylington with a scary hit from behind into the glass. The way Kylington dropped to the ice and remained down was concerning, but the good news for him and the Flames is that he was able to return to the game. Lowry was given a two-minute minor for boarding. It will no doubt be reviewed for supplemental discipline by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, but they have been fairly quiet so far this season so Lowry may be able to get away with just the penalty.

Hamilton Bulldogs beat Manitoba Moose in longest Game 7 in AHL history

We don’t consider ourselves a go-to source of information on the American Hockey League, but every once in a while, something special happens. Maybe it’s an amazing goal, a ridiculous save or a coach losing his mind, but if it’s interesting to the greater hockey public, we’ll give you the 4-1-1.

While the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs are the biggest game in town and the 2011 World Championships are a refuge for players who aren’t ready for vacation, the 2011 Calder Cup playoffs are also taking place. Tonight marked a historic moment in AHL history, as the Hamilton Bulldogs earned a 2-1 win over the Manitoba Moose in triple overtime, the longest Game 7 in the AHL’s history.

An AHL press release reveals that this was the first AHL Game 7 playoff contest to go into the second overtime, let alone a third one.

Dustin Boyd (pictured) scored the game-winning goal, thwarting a 55-save effort by AHL all-rookie goalie Eddie Lack. (Ron Tugnutt might know Lack’s pain.) Drew McIntyre was the winning goalie for the Bulldogs after facing a comparatively paltry 30 shots.

The Bulldogs are the top affiliate for the Montreal Canadiens while the Moose are the top farm team for the Vancouver Canucks. Here are a few more details from the Winnipeg Free Press.

Hamilton earned a berth in the AHL’s Western Conference final, beating the Moose for the fourth consecutive time in the playoffs.

And with all the uncertainty over the NHL possible future in Winnipeg, there are also questions about the Moose’s future in that equation.

If the Moose era is over, it will have ended with no championships in 15 years.

Overall since goalie Danny Lorenz outfoxed them in the shootout in their very first game Oct. 4, 1996 in Milwaukee, the Moose played 1,342 games (1,210 regular-season and 131 playoff) and earned 679 wins.