Winnipeg didn’t recover from losing centre Mark Scheifele to a left-leg injury in the first period. The Jets were outshot 33-18 and dominated by the Flames in the second period. CP photo

Flames ground Jets 4-1 to take series lead, Winnipeg’s Scheifele injured

Playoff animosity didn’t take long to brew in Calgary’s 4-1 win over the Jets

EDMONTON — The Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets had little history between them because they’d only met once in this truncated NHL regular season.

But playoff animosity didn’t take long to brew in Calgary’s 4-1 win over the Jets to start their qualifying round series Saturday.

Winnipeg didn’t recover from losing centre Mark Scheifele to a left-leg injury in the first period. The Jets were outshot 33-18 and dominated by the Flames in the second period.

Jets head coach Paul Maurice accused Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk of intentionally injuring Winnipeg’s scoring co-leader, which Tkachuk denied.

“It was a filthy, dirty kick to the back of the leg,” Maurice said. “He went after the back of the leg. He could have cut his Achilles (tendon). He could have ended the man’s career.

“It’s an absolutely filthy, disgusting hit.”

Tkachuk’s reputation is one of playing on the edge, but the forward insisted what happened to Scheifele was bad luck.

“It was such an accident and I feel terrible about it,” Tkachuk said. “I hope he’s OK because he’s a top player in this league and he’s great for the game.”

Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan produced power-play goals and Tobias Rieder scored shorthanded in the second. Andrew Mangiapane added an empty-net goal.

“It was a really good complete game from power play to penalty kill to goaltending, five on five I thought we did a great job tonight,” Gaudreau said.

Andrew Copp countered for the Jets in the first period.

Cam Talbot earned his first playoff win as a Flame with 17 saves.

Whether it was the 33-year-old or David Rittich who would get the nod for the opener of the best-of-five series was much-debated in Calgary, and not revealed until game time.

Talbot had less work than Vezina Trophy nominee and Jets counterpart Connor Hellebuyck, who stopped 29 shots in the loss.

Calgary’s goaltender weathered three straight Jets power-play chances in the third, however.

“Every save is important in a game like that especially when the guy at the other end is up for the Vezina,” Talbot said. “You know he’s not going to give up too many.

“You can’t say enough about how well we played in our d-zone tonight. I didn’t have to make a ton of Grade A saves tonight.”

The potential loss of Scheifele would be devastating for Winnipeg’s Stanley Cup prospects. The Jets’ No. 1 centre had 73 points, including a team-leading 44 assists this season.

Scheifele scored 14 playoffs goals for the Jets en route to the Western Conference final two years ago.

“We don’t know the severity of it,” Winnipeg captain Blake Wheeler said. “We don’t know what’s going to happen.”

“Arguably your top offensive player and log so many minutes. You can’t replicate what he brings to our lineup.”

The Flames (36-27-7) ranked eighth in the conference and the Jets (37-28-6) ninth when the NHL suspended the season March 12 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Their one previous meeting was the Oct. 26 outdoor Heritage Classic in Regina, which Winnipeg won 2-1 in overtime.

Scheifele appeared to jam his left leg under him skating into the boards, as Tkachuk applied his arm to Scheifele’s back.

While Scheifele writhed in pain, Winnipeg’s bench directed a stream of expletives at Calgary’s. No penalty was called on the play at 5:41 of the opening period.

Tkachuk denied his skate made contact with Scheifele’s.

Wheeler summoned Tkachuk for retributive justice on the Flames forward’s next shift. Tkachuk obliged and the two traded punches.

Just 31 seconds after that scrap, Adam Lowry dished a backhand from behind the net out front to Copp to whip over Talbot’s glove.

But the Jets otherwise mustered little offence. Their power play held scoreless on seven chances.

Winnipeg’s attack was further weakened in the third period when Patrik Laine headed to the dressing room after a collision with Flames captain Mark Giordano.

Backlund buried a high shot on Hellebuyck’s blocker side at 18:14 of the second period. Calgary’s Rieder shelved a backhand on a short-handed breakaway at 12:51.

The puck bobbling on a pass from Sean Monahan, Gaudreau deftly corralled it to get a sharp-angled shot away and by Hellebuyck’s glove at 7:06.

In the lone Canadian-team matchup of the qualifying round, the Jets and Flames got their first taste of playoff hockey without fans.

The cold, cavernous interior of Edmonton’s Rogers Place was tarted up with multiple large light screens throwing colour onto blue netting covering empty seats.

The clack of the puck on sticks and exhortations from the players’ benches were often the only sounds heard after faceoffs.

Calgary was the home team Saturday and will be again for Game 2 on Monday. Winnipeg is the home club in Tuesday’s Game 3.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Local emergency crews responded to an early morning fire on Oct. 20th in the Grandview area of Stettler. Two residences on Spruce Park Crescent were damaged in the blaze, which crews are still investigating. Mark Weber/Stettler Independent
PHOTO: Early morning blaze damages two homes in Stettler’s Grandview area

Officials were still on site by mid-morning and crews are investigating

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw updates media on the Covid-19 situation in Edmonton on Friday March 20, 2020. nbsp;Alberta is reporting it's highest daily number of COVID-19 cases, with 364 new infections. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta confirmed 323 COVID-19 cases Tuesday

Central zone active cases at 145

wine
Third annual Christmas Wine Survivor is rapidly approaching

Funds raised will support the Friends of the Library Society

teach
Smooth start to Christ King Catholic School’s year in unprecendented times

Students and staff at Christ-King Catholic School continue to adapt to pandemic’s impact on learning

Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical officer of health, receive flu shot. Photo via Government of Alberta
COVID-19: One more death in central zone

Ponoka County on province’s watchlist

Conservative member of Parliament Pierre Poilievre speaks during a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on October 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Liberals say Tory effort to set up COVID-19 committee will be a confidence matter

The Tories were originally proposing an ‘anticorruption’ committee

(The Canadian Press)
Alberta-raised Cree actor lands role in Disney’s live-action ‘Peter Pan and Wendy’

Tiger Lily is featured in Disney’s 1953 animated “Peter Pan” film

Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday February 4, 2020 in Ottawa. The Alberta government is welcoming news that Ottawa has approved an expansion of the Nova Gas Transmission Ltd. gathering system in Alberta — while condemning federal delays that it says cost this summer’s construction season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Alberta welcomes federal approval of gas pipeline expansion while criticizing delay

Pipeline division owned by Calgary-based TC Energy Corp. will now be required to restore 3,840 hectares of caribou habitat,

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

Alberta Premier Jason Kenny and government house leader Jason Nixon chat before the speech from the throne delivered in Edmonton, Alta., on Tuesday, May 21, 2019. Alberta politicians are to return to the legislature Tuesday with a plan to discuss up to 20 new bills — many of which are focused on the province’s economic recovery. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta legislature to resume Tuesday; focus to be on economic recovery

Opposition house leader Heather Sweet said the NDP will focus on holding Premier Jason Kenney

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

robbery
UPDATE: Suspect identified in early morning shooting

Rimbey RCMP had responded to a complaint of an armed robbery at the Bluffton City General Store

Executive Director of Agape Kate Halas (left) receives $1000 from Sgt. Eric Christensen (right) on behalf of Agape. Photo/ Shaela Dansereau.
Former Wetaskiwin Peace Officer wins provincial award; gives back to Wetaskiwin community

Eric Christensen has won the Alberta Association of Community Peace Officers Award of Excellence.

Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshen (Alberta government photo)
Big boost for Alberta college agriculture research

The $2-million agreement to benefit Lethbridge College’s applied research team

Most Read