Saturday, April 12, 2014
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Postma Scores First NHL Goal As Jets Defeat Flames

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[April 12, 2014]  CALGARY, Alberta  Book it as one happy homecoming for Winnipeg Jets defenseman Paul Postma.

Postma, who is from nearby Red Deer and starred for the Calgary Hitmen in the Western Hockey League, made it a memorable night in the same rink he skated in during his junior days by scoring his first NHL goal of the season to break the deadlock in a 5-3 victory over the Calgary Flames, a battle of two non-playoff teams, on Friday night.

Nearing the midpoint of the third period, Postma unloaded a seeing-eye point shot past screened Flames goalie Karri Ramo.

"I waited long enough but there's no better place to get it," said Postma, who went nearly a full calendar year without scoring in the NHL ranks. "It's basically my hometown. It's nice to get that win and getting the game winner is pretty special.

"There was a lot of traffic in front of the net and I just wanted to get it through. I took a shot, kept it low and it found a way into the back of the net."

Thanks to a brilliant third period by Jets goalie Michael Hutchinson, it stood up as the winner and the Jets finished their season on a winning note with a 37-35-10 record


"That's when hockey gets fun is in the third period when the other team's pressing and you have the lead," Hutchinson said. "It's just one of those things I just enjoyed that third period, and it was fun watching how hard our guys are battling. We were tired. We had a tough game (Thursday) night and a really tough practice the day before so guys really battled trying to clear pucks, blocked shots as best they could.

"When guys are sacrificing themselves like that in front, it makes you want to bear down and make those saves for them."

Playing their final home game of the season, the Flames wanted to provide more than just a whack of prizes during fan appreciation night, but it did not start well before the announced Scotiabank Saddledome sellout crowd of 19,289.

After Winnipeg right winger Michael Frolik opened the scoring, left winger Evander Kane gave the Jets a 2-0 lead before the first intermission. It was Kane's 200th NHL point.

Flames winger Jiri Hudler put the hosts on the board early in the second period, but left winger Carl Klingberg netted his first NHL goal to again put the Jets ahead by two.

To their credit, the Flames refused to fade away. Two power-play goals scored 24 seconds apart erased the deficit.

Rookie center Sean Monahan scored his 22nd goal of the season, a pretty play set up by Hudler, and before the goal could be announced, defenseman Kris Russell ripped a top-corner shot past Hutchinson.

Even after Postma's goal, the Flames completely dominated the game. They outshot the Jets by a 14-1 count in their efforts to net the equalizer, but Hutchinson stopped all 18 shots fired his way in the final frame as part of a 35-save outing.

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Jets right winger Blake Wheeler rounded out the scoring with an empty-netter.

Ramo stopped 22 shots for the Flames (35-38-7), who received a standing ovation from the crowd at the conclusion, an honor to their efforts in year one of a rebuilding season.

"It was awesome," said defenseman and Flames captain Mark Giordano of the sendoff. "That's not the first time we've been cheered off the ice after a loss, but definitely being the last one, it was special. I think they like the hard work part of our team and they like that we never quit."

"We really tried to establish a work ethic and playing as a team, having an identity of being one of the hardest working teams in the league," added center Matt Stajan. "Who knows what's going to happen in the off-season, but anybody that comes into this room, we're gonna mold them right into the way we play and we keep building.

"It's exciting for everybody and I'm glad the fans see that. No one's satisfied in here. We've got to find a way to get 15 more points, at least, next year, and find a way to get into the playoff picture."

The Flames finish the season on Sunday against the Vancouver Canucks.

NOTES: Shortly after winning the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in the NCAA ranks, LW Johnny Gaudreau of Boston College signed a three-year contract with the Flames. Fellow Boston College product C Bill Arnold signed a two-year contract. Gaudreau, a fourth-round draft choice in 2011, and Arnold, a fourth-round pick in 2010, will join the team and play Sunday in the season finale in Vancouver. ... Jets D Jacob Trouba left the game in the first period after being hit in the face by a puck and did not return. C Jim Slater left for good in the second period due to a broken finger. ... The Jets finished with a 18-12-5 record since Paul Maurice was hired as coach on Jan. 12. ... Flames LW Michael Cammalleri, who was hit in the face by a stick Wednesday, did not play. ... The goal by Flames C Sean Monahan is just the team's second 5-on-3 power-play goal of the season.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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