CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Considering that Winnipeg Jets goalie Michael Hutchinson spent most of this season in the ECHL and AHL, he sure looked like an NHL player against the host Calgary Flames.
Paul Postma scored the winning goal, and Hutchinson made 35 saves, including 18 in a perfect third period, as the Jets hung on for a 5-3 win on Friday night.
"Especially with where I started at the start of the year, I didn't think it would be possible to be in the NHL," said Hutchinson, who played in Winnipeg's final three games and went 2-1 with a 1.64 goals-against average and .943 save percentage.
Postma broke a 3-3 tie at 9:16 of the third, ripping a slap shot past Karri Ramo from the blue line.
"There was a lot of traffic in front of the net, and I just wanted to get it through," Postma said. "I took a shot, kept it low and it found a way into the back of the net."
It then fell upon Hutchinson to preserve the lead as the Flames buzzed around the Jets end, outshooting Winnipeg 14-1 before Blake Wheeler put the game away with an empty-net goal.
"I definitely had a lot of work in the third period, but at the same time, our guys played hard in front and blocked a lot of shots," the 24-year-old Hutchison said. "When your guys are working that hard in front of you, it gives you that added incentive to bear down and make those saves."
One of Hutchinson's biggest stops came with four minutes left when he threw out his glove to stab a shot from Kenny Agostino, who came in alone.
"Hutch played so well for us these last three games," Postma said. "He's got a bright future ahead of him, and we're looking forward to playing with him."
Michael Frolik, Evander Kane, Carl Klingberg, also scored for Winnipeg (37-35-10).
It was the final game of the season for the Jets, who failed to make the playoffs for the seventh straight season — dating to the team's days in Atlanta.
Jiri Hudler, Sean Monahan and Kris Russell scored for Calgary, which had its four-game winning streak snapped.
"We didn't get the start that we wanted, but by the middle of the second period after those two power-play goals, it seemed like the momentum shifted and we had a great third period," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "The boys were on a mission, they wanted that win for the fans but unfortunately we couldn't get it done."
It was Calgary's final game at the Saddledome, where the Flames went 19-19-3.
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