Calgary Flames rookie Sean Monahan readily admits he wasn’t very good in the shootout while playing junior hockey last season.
He is doing just fine in the NHL.
Monahan netted the winning goal in the eighth round of the tiebreaker to lift the Flames to a 5-4 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Monday night.
The first shootout goal in Monahan’s young NHL career snapped the Flames’ six-game losing streak.
”My first year in junior, I was all right (in the shootout),” said Monahan, who had played with the Ottawa 67s. ”Last year, I wasn’t too good so I was kind of nervous there.
”I felt good once I got off the ice.”
Monahan, who also had an assist in the game, scored low on Al Montoya’s blocker side.
”I went down the wide side, and it’s a move I usually try to do in practice,” he said. ”Fortunately enough, it worked.”
Jiri Hudler had given Calgary a 4-3 lead with 3:26 remaining in regulation, but the Jets tied it on Bryan Little’s goal with six seconds left.
With Winnipeg goalie Al Montoya on the bench for an extra attacker, the Jets swarmed goalie Reto Berra, and Little put a rebound into an open side of the net.
Montoya, giving regular starter Ondrej Pavelec a night off, made 29 saves. Berra stopped 43 shots, including three in overtime, to earn his second win of the season and help the Flames end their 0-5-1 skid.
Calgary’s Michael Cammalleri scored his team-leading ninth goal of the season on the power play and added an assist. T.J. Brodie also had a goal and assist, and Lance Bouma added a short-handed goal.
Michael Frolik, Olli Jokinen and Dustin Byfuglien had goals for Winnipeg, and defenseman Grant Clitsome and Blake Wheeler both added a pair of assists.
Winnipeg, 4-2-1 in its past seven games, had a four-game, home-winning streak stopped.
”That was a pretty strange game in my books,” Jets coach Claude Noel said. ”I thought either team could have won it any time. We chased the game, not only from a goals standpoint, but I thought it was pretty wild in a lot of ways.
”I was wondering how it would go. I wasn’t settled all night. There was no point that I was comfortable.”
Calgary counterpart Bob Hartley felt the same way on the Flames bench.
”If that one was not exciting for them, it sure was for me,” Hartley said of the capacity crowd. ”We made it interesting, we made it tough on us, but at the end we found a way to win.”
After Bouma’s goal at 11:17 of the third period put Calgary ahead 3-2, Byfuglien tied it with 7:50 left, scoring his fifth goal in five games. The power-play tally came off a rebound.
But Calgary regained the lead when Hudler blasted a shot from the top of the circle that beat Montoya with 3:26 left.
”I think we gave up some point-blank opportunities, way too many quality chances,” Jets captain Andrew Ladd said.
Hartley was impressed by the way Berra reacted to Little’s tying goal.
”He’s a very proud young man,” Hartley said. ”And despite the fact that he gave up the equalizing goal late in the game, he never lost his focus.
”What to say about his performance? I rarely saw a goalie give four goals and play that well.”
The Jets outshot the Flames 11-6 in the scoreless first period and 23-9 in the second.
Just 18 second after Clitsome was called for tripping in the second period, Cammalleri scored on a shot from a sharp angle after Lee Stempniak sent a pass to him across the front of the net at 9:01.
Winnipeg tied it two minutes later when Byfuglien’s shot from the point ended with Frolik putting in a rebound at 8:43 for his fifth goal.
Byfuglien has seven points in seven games, including four goals.
Brodie’s goal was a deflection that made it 2-1 at 15:24.
The second period ended with fists flying in several pairings, but Byfuglien grabbed Chris Butler and Ladislav Smid at one time.
Byfuglien got four minutes for roughing, and the Flames started the third period on their third power play, but couldn’t convert.
A minute after getting out of the box, Byfuglien went back in for tripping, but Calgary couldn’t convert the opportunity.
Jokinen scored at 8:16 to make it 2-2 when Berra appeared screened by two of his teammates, and the puck went through his legs.
NOTES: Calgary will host Columbus on Wednesday. . . . The Jets will take on the visiting Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday.