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Sam Gagner tallies late as Jets outlast Flames

Jan 3, 2023; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Winnipeg Jets left wing Axel Jonsson-Fjallby (71) shoots on Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom (25) in the second period at Canada Life Centre. Mandatory Credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

Sam Gagner broke a deadlock late in the third period to give the host Winnipeg Jets a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames in a hard-battled game Tuesday night.

Josh Morrissey and Brenden Dillon also scored for the Jets, who boast a three-game winning streak despite having a plethora of players out due to injury. Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck made 33 saves in an excellent goaltending duel.

Nikita Zadorov and Mikael Backlund replied for the Flames, who twice erased a deficit but couldn’t do it a third time, while goalie Jacob Markstrom stopped 22 shots.

With overtime looming, Gagner gave the Jets their third lead of the night with 5:40 left on the clock. Gagner set up shop for a deflection and perfectly tipped Ville Heinola’s point shot for his seventh goal of the season.

Calgary pressed in the final minute, but couldn’t solve Hellebuyck in a frantic push in a close affair. His biggest stop was on a point-blank chance by Jonathan Huberdeau.

After a scoreless, tight-checking opening period, Dillon finally opened the scoring with 5:10 remaining in the second, which snapped a 38-game goal drought that dated back to late last season. Dillon, despite being a defenseman, went to the front of the net as Dylan DeMelo fired a point shot that ricocheted off his knee and into the net.

Zadorov evened the count with 59.5 seconds remaining in the period. The defenseman joined an odd-man rush, took a feed from Tyler Toffoli and sniped a five-hole shot for his fifth goal of the campaign.

Morrissey put the Jets ahead a second time with 9:38 remaining in the third period. After his shot was blocked, the defenseman tracked the puck in the slot and ripped a top-shelf tally for his seventh goal of the season.

But Backlund drew the game even again 96 seconds later. Taking advantage of a broken play, he completed a backhand deke for his eighth marker of the season.

Earlier in the day, the Flames announced that forward Brett Ritchie was to visit a specialist for an injury suffered on New Year’s Eve.

–Field Level Media