EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Nikolaj Ehlers scored a third-period power-play goal to give the Winnipeg Jets a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames on Monday and draw even in their qualifying-round series.
The Jets were forced into wholesale line changes Monday in the absence of centers Mark Scheifele and Mason Appleton and winger Patrik Laine. Playing without three regulars only served as inspiration for the Jets, who are accustomed to adversity.
“It was a special time for our team to rally,” coach Paul Maurice said. “I’m proud that we won the game in the manner that we did with the injuries that we had because it will give the people that are not familiar to our season a little glimpse of what we’ve been doing all year.”
Adam Lowry led the Jets with a goal and an assist in Game 2 of the best-of-five series. Rookie Jansen Harkins also scored for Winnipeg and Jack Roslovic contributed a pair of assists.
Vezina Trophy finalist Connor Hellebuyck made 28 saves for the win.
Elias Lindholm and Sam Bennett scored for the Flames. Calgary starter Cam Talbot stopped 23 shots in the loss.
Calgary won Saturday’s opener 4-1.
“We knew this was a really important game to get us right back in the series and we’re looking forward to Game 3,” Lowry said.
Maurice wouldn’t say if any of the injured Jets players might be available for Game 3.
Scheifele injured his left leg tangling with Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk in the first period and Laine appeared to hurt his wrist in a third-period collision with Flames captain Mark Giordano on Saturday. Appleton was absent Monday after playing Saturday.
Maurice had accused Tkachuk of intent to injure Winnipeg’s top center, saying he delivered a “filthy, dirty kick to the back of the leg.″
Tkachuk denied it. No penalty was called and the NHL didn’t hand out additional discipline to him.
But the dispute simmered into Game 2 with the Jets insisting it was a dirty play and the Flames defending their player.
Winnipeg controlled the first half of Monday’s game, leading 2-0 until a defensive-zone turnover by Ehlers and an own-goal by the Jets.
Ehlers’s power-play goal at 10:24 of the third period broke a 2-2 tie and ended the team’s 0-for-10 drought with a man advantage in the series. It was Ehler’s first career playoff goal in his 23rd game.
“If you’re going to get one, he needs the game-winner in a game that we’re up against it so he gets to carry that with him,” Maurice said.
Calgary couldn’t produce another equalizer with Talbot pulled and Jets center Andrew Copp serving a slashing penalty.
Bennett’s rebound on an attempted wraparound deflected off the skate and stick of Jets defenseman Nathan Beaulieu and under Hellebuyck at 17:29 of the second period to tie it at 2-2.
Lindholm snared Ehlers’ pass intended for Josh Morrissey and put a low shot under Hellebuyck’s trapper at 11:29.
Lowry scored Winnipeg’s second goal 40 seconds after Calgary killed off a Jets two-man advantage to start the second period.
He backhand-tipped a mid-air puck over Talbot’s glove at 5:43.
Harkins, Gabriel Bourque and Nicholas Shaw all drew into the lineup Monday for the injured forwards.
Lowry’s backhand feed at the Calgary’s blue-line sprung Harkins for a breakaway. The 23-year-old beat Talbot with a quick high wrist shot at 7:18 of the first period.
The Flames were in the Edmonton Oilers’ dressing room Monday.
Red Flames ‘C’ jerseys hung below the massive “Oilers” on the ceiling in a supremely odd optic for followers of the NHL’s Battle of Alberta.
Game 3 is Tuesday night in Edmonton.
Photo credit – Jason Franson / The Canadian Press via AP / Edmonton, AB