WINNIPEG — Mark Schiefele got an up-close look at a couple of Winnipeg’s top prospects. He liked what he saw.
Scheifele had a pair of goals as the Jets beat the Calgary Flames 3-1 on Thursday night in NHL pre-season play. But it was his linemates Nic Petan and Nikolaj Ehlers — both who’ve yet to secure spots on Winnipeg’s opening night roster — that he was most impressed with.
“They’re special players, they have tons of skill,” Scheifele said. “(My goals) were little work by me. I just had to get into the open spots and I’m happy to put it in.”
Ehlers scored his first for the Jets, nestled in between both Scheifele goals. Ehlers’ goal proved to be the game winner and was assisted by Schiefele.
Petan, meanwhile, set up Schiefele on a nifty feed after undressing Flames defenceman Ryan Wilson in the slot.
“It was nice playing with those two,” Petan said. “I don’t think my game changed. I just tried to keep it simple. If I had space, I tried to take advantage of it.”
The win was just the second of the pre-season for the Jets (2-2-2), who will finish up their exhibition schedule on Saturday in Calgary against the Flames.
The loss snapped a four-game win streak for the Flames (4-3-0) after they dropped their first two exhibition contests.
Defenceman Deryk Engelland was the lone man to score for Calgary.
Michael Hutchinson got the win for Winnipeg, stopping 32-of-33 shots. Joni Ortio picked up his second loss of the pre-season after allowing three goals on 26 shots.
“You want to come up with those big saves for your team, to keep us in it. It just didn’t happen tonight,” Ortio said.
The Flames wasted little time getting onto the scoreboard. Michael Ferland drove to the net and found the trailing Engelland, whose wrist shot found the top corner above Hutchinson’s glove hand.
The Jets responded five minutes later on the power play.
With defenceman Brett Kulak in the box for hooking, Petan’s quick feet stymied Wilson. Petan’s subsequent backdoor feed only required a tap in for Scheifele for his second of the pre-season, tying the game at 1-1.
Winnipeg would take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission as Ehlers showed some patient play in front of the net. The 2014 first-round pick waited out Ortio, slipping it underneath him for the go-ahead marker.
Defenceman Ben Chiarot drove down the right side behind Ortio’s net and found Scheifele sitting on the doorstep for his second of the night and a two-goal cushion at 3-1.
Flames head coach Bob Hartley said Thursday’s game was more about evaluation ahead of Tuesday’s roster cut-down deadline.
“They (Jets) had a good lineup and we basically put the guys that we wanted to really evaluate tonight in all kind of situations — tough situations, defensive situations, offensive situations,” Hartley said. “It’s part of the process. We will sit on this. We are going to sit as an organization and make some decisions.”
Flames forward Joe Colborne will be re-evaluated tomorrow after taking a slapshot off his right hand. He left the game in the first period and didn’t return. Hartley had no update on his status post game.
Jets captain Andrew Ladd didn’t come out for the third period and Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice said he didn’t return due to precautionary reasons.
Notes: Both teams finish their pre-season slate against one another on Saturday at the Saddledome in Calgary. Defenceman Tyler Myers scored for Jets on a nifty deke in the mandatory 3-on-3 overtime period.
Scott Billeck, The Canadian Press