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Calgary Flames Post-Game: Flames lose two big leads, beat Dallas anyway

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Photo credit:Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
1 year ago
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The Calgary Flames played a pretty good game on Monday night against the Dallas Stars. They were opportunistic offensively and scored when they had to do so. Unfortunately, their miscues led to a game where they let a pair of two-goal leads slip away… but they won anyway.
The Flames beat Dallas by a 5-4 score off a game-winning breakaway goal by Tyler Toffoli with 6.2 seconds left in regulation.

The rundown

The Flames opened the scoring early in the first period. Nazem Kadri’s line hit the Dallas zone with numbers. Jonathan Huberdeau fired a shot on Jake Oettinger, which the Stars goaltender stopped. The puck dropped down in the crease beside Oettinger and before he could cover it – maybe has gauging if a pass was an option – new Flame Nick Ritchie crashed the net and poked in the rebound to make it 1-0 Flames.
The Flames added another goal early in the second period. Off another strong shift from Kadri’s line in the offensive zone, Nikita Zadorov held in the puck at the point and passed off to Kadri. Kadri made a nice pass across to the left point (between Max Domi’s legs) to Troy Stecher. Stecher found Zadorov pinching with a great cross-zone pass, and Zadorov’s shot from the dot to the goalie’s left beat Oettinger to give the Flames a 2-0 advantage.
But a couple Stars power plays, resulting in a goal, began the process of chipping away at the Flames’ lead. With Zadorov in the box, Jason Robertson cranked a one-timer feed from Miro Heiskanen from the right point past Jacob Markstrom to cut the lead to 2-1 Flames. (Markstrom had to deal with a screen, so he didn’t have much of a chance.)
The Stars tied things up on a Flames turnover and some nice passing. Noah Hanifin collected a loose puck below the defensive goal line and went to make a pass, but it was intercepted by Tyler Seguin. He passed to Mason Marchment (to Markstrom’s left) and he passed to Domi at the far end of the Flames’ crease (to Markstrom’s far right) for a no-doubter to tie the game at 2-2.
But before the second period ended, the Flames had retaken the lead. They had a pressure shift in the Stars zone and Hanifin opted to fling the puck on net with Elias Lindholm screening. Hanifin’s shot was tipped by Lindholm, stopped by Oettinger but dropped into the crease. Heiskanen went to swat the puck out of harm’s way, but he accidentally batted the puck off Oettinger’s pad and into the net to give Calgary a 3-2 lead.
The Flames got another goal off some smart puck management and forechecking in the middle of the third period. A Tyler Toffoli pass attempt to Jakob Pelletier was disrupted by the Stars, but Pelletier chased down the loose puck and threw it behind the Stars net before going for a change. Toffoli chased after the Stars defender with the puck, leading to a turnover to Kadri. Kadri passed to Rasmus Andersson, driving to the slot, and Andersson beat Oettinger high to give the Flames a 4-2 lead.
But Dallas kept things close while shorthanded. Hanifin couldn’t hold onto the puck in the Stars’ zone, and Joe Pavelski sprang Roope Hintz on a breakaway. Markstrom got a piece of it, but it bounced off his right pad, blooped over his right leg and trickled just over the goal line, cutting the Calgary lead down to 4-3.
A few minutes later, the Stars tied it up (again). Jamie Benn won an offensive zone face-off, then deflected an Esa Lindell point shot past Markstrom to even up the score at 4-4.
Ritchie took a boarding penalty late in regulation. But not only did the Flames kill off that penalty, but Huberdeau sprang Tyler Toffoli on a breakaway shortly after the penalty was killed off. Toffoli beat Oettinger with just 6.2 seconds left in regulation to give the Flames a 5-4 lead (and a victory).

Why the Flames won

Give credit where it’s due, folks: Darryl Sutter called out his big guns on Saturday night, suggesting that the booing Saddledome fans were booing the key offensive players who weren’t scoring all that much. Several of those players were noticeably better on Monday evening, including Kadri, Huberdeau, Toffoli and Andersson.
The Flames were leaky defensively, though, and a mixture of bad reads, bad turnovers and poorly timed penalties threatened to undermine a really strong offensive outing (and a third consecutive good outing from Markstrom). Heck, the Stars were all over the Flames in the third period – scoring chances were 14-5 Dallas and high-danger chances were 7-1 Dallas. Thankfully for the Flames, Toffoli was able to score late to cement the victory.
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Red Warrior

Let’s give it to Kadri, who was really good throughout this one.
Stick-taps to Markstrom, too. You can fault him on perhaps the Hintz goal – you hate to see shorthanded breakaways, but would hope he gets more of it than he got – but otherwise he was quite good when he was asked to be.

Turning point

It’s a combo: the late penalty kill leading into Toffoli’s breakaway game-winner.

This and that

Newly acquired forward Ritchie made his Flames debut. He scored his first goal as a Flame in the first period, while former Arizona (and current Flames) teammate Stecher got his first point as a Flame in the second period.
The Flames went 121 minutes (and 21 seconds) of game time between scoring goals.
The Flames debuted a pair of tweaked power play units, themselves a by-product of some forward line shuffles:
  • PP1: Kadri – Huberdeau – Ritchie – Mangiapane – Hanifin
  • PP2: Toffoli – Lindholm – Pelletier – Backlund – Andersson

Up next

The Flames (28-23-13) hop on a plane and head right to the Twin Cities. They finish off their quick road trip on Tuesday night against the Minnesota Wild.

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