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Andersson sparks Calgary Flames to 3-1 pre-season win over Winnipeg Jets

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CALGARY — Flames defenceman Rasmus Andersson is settling into quarterbacking Calgary's top power-play unit after getting a trial with it last season.

The Swede assisted on all three Calgary goals in a 3-1 pre-season win over the visiting Winnipeg Jets on Friday.

Andrew Mangiapane and Sean Monahan scored power-play goals in the first period and Elias Lindholm scored even-strength in the third for the Flames, who capped their pre-season with a 3-4-1 record.

Andersson shared quarterback duties last season with Mark Giordano, who was taken by the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft. 

Andersson felt comfortable in that role as the regular-season approaches. 

"We've talked about playing a little quicker and faster last few days here, so I thought I did that tonight," the 24-year-old Swede said Friday. 

"Just some 50-50 battles here and there, you get more I would say comfortable the longer the pre-season went on. Today, yeah, I felt like my game was in order." 

Calgary head coach Darryl Sutter says Andersson could afford to shoot more from the point on the power-play.

"To be the defencemen on that power play, you've just got to have a more aggressive mentality in terms of shooting instead of being too respectful and handing it off," Sutter said. 

"He can handle the puck really well and make plays and comes up the ice really well. None of that stuff bothers him, but the next part is to to shoot from the tips or shoot from up top more."

Johnny Gaudreau had two assists for the Flames in front of an announced crowd of 14,065 at the Saddledome.

Defenceman Logan Stanley replied for the Jets, who went 2-3-1 in the pre-season and winless on the road.

"Definitely as a team we've got to tidy some things up," Stanley said. 

"A little sloppy out there, but I think come Game 1 guys are going to be a little more intense and bring a little more fire for the regular season, but we'll look at some stuff and clean and little bit up.

Both sides started their aces in net in their pre-season finales. Calgary's Jacob Markstrom made 22 saves for the win.

Markstrom stopped Winnipeg's Pierre-Luc Dubois on a breakaway and caged a Paul Stastny backhand shot during a goal-mouth scramble in the second period.

Winnipeg's Connor Hellebuyck stopped 20 shots in the loss.

The Jets open the regular season Wednesday in Anaheim versus the Ducks. The Flames also open on the road against the Edmonton Oilers on Oct. 16.

Matthew Tkachuk led the Flames in pre-season offence with three goals and four assists in eight games. 

Jansen Harkins had two goals and three assists in six games to top the Jets in pre-season production.

Winnipeg forward Nikolaj Ehlers was the first member of the Jets named to an Olympic roster when Denmark announced their first three Beijing-bound players Friday. 

The Danes will play in the Olympic men's hockey tournament for the first time. Ehlers led them in the summer's Olympic qualification tournament with five goals and four assists in three games.

The Flames held Winnipeg scoreless on four power-play chances while going 2 for 4 with a man advantage Friday.

After a goal-free second period, Stanley halved the deficit at 7:30 of the third with a low shot from the face-off circle that beat Markstrom's pad.

Lindholm restored Calgary's two-goal cushion less than two minutes later, however, on a cross-ice feed from Gaudreau. 

Hellebuyck got a piece of Lindholm's shot, but not enough to prevent the goal.

The hosts led 2-0 on Monahan's tap-in, power-play goal at 13:04 of the first period off a pass from Lindholm. 

It was the first pre-season goal for Monahan, who underwent hip surgery in the off-season.

Mangiapane scored a power-play goal 40 seconds after the opening faceoff when Neal Pionk was serving a tripping penalty.  

He chipped the puck over Hellebuyck''s stick from close range on a feed from Gaudreau.

The Flames were without newcomer Blake Coleman on Friday. 

The winger was suspended for the final pre-season game and the regular-season opener for boarding Harkins on Wednesday in Winnipeg.

 This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 8, 2021.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

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