CALGARY — Winnipeg forward Kyle Connor knew precisely where he wanted to go with his shot, and that’s exactly where he put it.
Connor’s second goal of the night at 15:09 of the third period on Saturday was the game-winner as the Jets snapped a five-game winless skid with a 4-2 comeback victory over the Calgary Flames.
On the decisive goal Mark Scheifele gained the zone then dropped the puck for Blake Wheeler, who threaded a cross-ice pass over to Connor, who leaned into a slap shot, putting the puck into the top corner before Jacob Markstrom could get across.
“As a shooter, you know where the net is, you know where you’re going, that spatial awareness of where you’re going to shoot,” said Connor. “Something like that, you just try to get off quick. High glove was open.”
Connor’s 14 goals leads the team and ties him for fifth in the NHL with Connor McDavid.
Wheeler also assisted on Connor’s late first-period goal that got the comeback started, after the Flames had surged to an early 2-0 advantage.
“It’s easy to sulk and feel pretty crappy about the one last night,” Scheifele said about the club’s 7-1 loss in Minnesota. “We all put our big boy pants on and came to play tonight and it was a lot of gutsy efforts and a lot of blocked shots and a lot of taken hits, made hits, and that’s what it takes in the league.”
For Saturday’s game, Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice juggled his forward lines, reuniting the Wheeler-Connor-Scheifele trio. It worked.
“It was fun being back with the boys,” said Scheifele. “I’ve played a lot of games with those guys and we’ve had a lot of big games. We’ve had some fun together. It was nice to get on the scoresheet and get some big goals.”
Paul Stastny and Andrew Copp, into an empty net, also scored for Winnipeg (10-7-4). The Jets return home to host the Arizona Coyotes on Monday.
Matthew Tkachuk and Elias Lindholm scored for Calgary (12-4-5), which lost in regulation for the first time in eight games (5-1-2). Johnny Gaudreau had two assists to extend his point streak to six games (five goals, five assists). The Flames wrap up a three-game homestand on Monday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“We played a really good game, but we made a couple of mistakes and they ended up in our net. We didn’t finish enough opportunities,” said Calgary coach Darryl Sutter.
Pulled after surrendering four goals on 14 shots against the Wild, Connor Hellebuyck bounced back with a 34-save performance to improve to 7-5-4.
“So (Hellebuyck) says this morning, just remember last year we were struggling and came in here and put up a shutout. He’s got the list. He’s reminding me of that,” said Maurice. “He was outstanding in this game. I’m not saying we outplayed Calgary. They had a bunch of real good chances. We had some good chances. But our goalie was pretty damn good tonight.”
Markstrom had 24 stops to fall to 8-4-4.
The Jets had a great chance to take the lead with the score tied 2-2 and under five minutes remaining in the second period. Milan Lucic was assessed a major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct for a heavy hit along the end boards that temporarily shook up Jets defenceman Dylan DeMelo.
But Calgary killed it off to keep the game tied into the third.
“In the third, we were pushing hard for the third one, but it just didn’t go our way tonight,” said Lindholm, who extended his point streak to seven games (two goals, seven assists). “Then they get one with four minutes left. I think all of us on the ice could have made a better read but that’s just the way it goes sometimes.”
It was just the second time Calgary lost in regulation when scoring first, which they’ve done an NHL-leading 17 times (12-2-3).
“The outcome sucks right now but at the end of the day, we just gotta find a way to get that one to overtime or try to get two before that, but we can’t lose that one in regulation. Those ones hurt so we’ll learn from it,” said Tkachuk.
NOTES: Calgary was a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill and is now 26-for-27 over the last eight games. The Flames entered the night ranked third in the NHL on the PK… Winnipeg had been 0-3-0 on the back end of back-to-back games… The Flames led the Western Conference standings after 20 games for the first time since 1993-94.
Soccer-Brazil to stop unvaccinated footballers playing in top leagues
The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) said on Friday players must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to take part in this year’s league championship,
The CBF said it was in constant contact with health bodies and had sent an updated list of requirements to member clubs.
“One of these is the obligation to present a full vaccination certificate against COVID-19 to the CBF’s Medical Commission,” it said in a statement.
The top four national divisions kick off in the second week of April.
Brazil coach Tite has said he was not selecting Atletico Madrid defender Renan Lodi for his squad for upcoming World Cup qualifiers because he was not fully vaccinated.
The issue of athletes’ stance on vaccines has dominated sports headlines recently after tennis player Novak Djokovic, who is unvaccinated, was deported ahead of the Australian Open.
(Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Peter Rutherford)
Olympics-Canadian snowboarder Parrot eyes Beijing gold after cancer battle
Canadian snowboarder Max Parrot said on Friday that the mental toughness he gained during his battle with cancer carried over to the slopes where the slopestyle Pyeongchang silver medallist now hopes to go one better and win gold at the Beijing Olympics.
Parrot’s career was put on hold when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in December 2018. Two months after being declared cancer free in mid-2019, Parrot won an X Games big air gold medal in his return to competition.
Showing no signs of rust, Parrot also won a World Cup gold later that year and started off 2020 with another big air gold at the X Games in Aspen.
“Every year I become better and better physically and mentally, and especially going through such a big challenge as cancer you get really more mentally tough,” Parrot told a virtual news conference.
“If you look back at my season right after my cancer … It was pretty much my best year ever.”
Parrot finished fifth in his Olympic debut at the 2014 Sochi Games before a runner-up showing at Pyeongchang.
The 27-year-old Canadian pre-qualified for the slopestyle/big air team headed to Beijing based on his results from the 2020-21 winter season and is not shy about his intentions.
“Of course my goal is to go for the gold, that’s for sure,” said Parrot, whose cancer battle is chronicled in a documentary called “MAX – Life as a Gold Medal” that was released this week on his website.
“But I am really happy as well that if I don’t get the gold I won’t have any regrets because I did everything in my power over the past couple months and that was something important for me as well, just to not have any regrets.”
While there were some days during Parrot’s cancer battle where he wondered if he would ever return to the sport he loves, he said he never let those thoughts take over.
“When I had cancer it was ‘OK, I’m going to do treatments, I am going to do them as best as possible’ and even if I didn’t know if the treatments would work or not, in my mind cancer had no chance against me,” said Parrot.
“I had a lot of determination and motivation and the whole time I just wanted to get back to my passion as soon as possible. But never getting back to it was not really an option in my head.”
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar)
Canada's Denis Shapovalov is on to the fourth round of the Australian Open – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, January 21, 2022 7:28AM EST
Last Updated Friday, January 21, 2022 6:40PM EST
MELBOURNE, Australia — Canada’s Denis Shapovalov has a spot in the fourth round of the Australian Open for the first time in his career.
He beat Reilly Opelka 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Friday to set up a showdown with third-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany.
The Canadian has been pushed hard at Melbourne Park, averaging three hours 37 minutes of court time per win so far.
“I’ve gotten very familiar with the ice baths the last week,” Shapovalov said with a smile in an on-court interview. “We’ve become very good friends.”
At six foot 11 and 225 pounds, Opelka is an imposing force on the court. He had a 17-10 edge in aces on the 14th-seeded Shapovalov but made 46 unforced errors.
“Early on I actually found a rhythm on his serve,” Shapovalov said. “I was able to chip quite a lot back, so I was happy with that. I think I did a really good of just taking the chances today.
“Obviously it’s really tough to get the rhythm against a guy like that so I’m super happy.”
It was the first career meeting between Shapovalov and the 23rd-seeded American. Zverev, meanwhile, has a 4-2 edge in head-to-head matchups against the Canadian.
“Hopefully I can win,” Zverev said. “It’s going to be a great match.”
Shapovalov, from Richmond Hill, Ont., previously reached the third round at Melbourne Park in 2019 and 2021. The 22-year-old’s best Grand Slam performance was a semifinal showing last year at Wimbledon.
Zverev defeated Maldova’s Radu Albot 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in third-round play.
“Radu is in great form right now … 1/8I’m 3/8 happy to be through in three sets,” Zverev said.
Ninth-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal was scheduled to play Britain’s Daniel Evans in third-round play Saturday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2022.
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