Winnipeg, MB (SportsNetwork.com) - The Winnipeg Jets celebrated their best season since relocating in 2011 with a regular season-ending 4-1 win over the Calgary Flames.
Winnipeg earned a franchise-best 99 points with a 43-26-13 record and will take on Anaheim, the top seed in the West, when the playoffs begin next week.
Lee Stempniak tallied a goal and an assist, and Drew Stafford, Michael Frolik, Adam Lowry and Matt Halischuk added goals. Michael Hutchinson completed his rookie season with 24 saves on 25 shots.
"Not a lot of physicality in the game. Bit of an exhibition in terms of overhandling the puck, bringing it back a bunch of times," Jets coach Paul Maurice said.
Despite the loss, the Flames finished 45-30-7 to earn the No. 3 seed in the Pacific Division. They will take on the second-seeded Vancouver Canucks in first-round action.
Michael Ferland scored Calgary's lone goal 33 seconds into the game. Joni Ortio allowed all five Winnipeg goals on 22 shots.
The Flames only needed 33 seconds to strike first. Sam Bennett, making his NHL debut after being picked fourth overall in last year's draft, stole the puck from Hutchinson behind the net. His wraparound attempt was blocked, but Ferland put in the rebound.
"If we had gotten a win, it would've been a little more special," said Bennett. "Still, getting a chance to play in the NHL is a dream come true."
Winnipeg, though, responded 15 seconds later. Ortio got his glove on Stafford's wrister from the circle, but the puck floated into the net for the equalizer.
The next 39 minutes did not have as much action. However, 47 seconds into the third period, Frolik broke the 1-1 deadlock and gave the Jets their first lead. After blocking a pass in the defensive zone, Frolik passed to Mark Scheifele and raced down the ice. He took a return pass to Ortio's right and buried the shot.
Stempniak gave Winnipeg some breathing room later in the period. Andrew Copp, another player making his NHL debut, forced a Flames turnover in the neutral zone. He slid the puck across the blue line to Stempniak, who skated into the zone and snapped a shot by Ortio.
A minute later, the deluge continued when Lowry scored. After a Jets dump-in, he took the puck away from Calgary along the boards, skated to the slot and beat Ortio to put Winnipeg up 4-1.
With a minute left in the game, Halischuk redirected Stempniak's pass for his third goal of the season.
Prior to relocating to Winnipeg, the franchise made just one playoff appearance in Atlanta and lost all four games ... The last postseason game played in Winnipeg was on April 28, 1996 before the franchise relocated to Phoenix ... The Flames ended a five-season streak of missing the postseason ... Winnipeg defenseman Dustin Byfuglien returned to play 24 minutes after serving a four-game suspension.