For two periods in Game 5, the Calgary Flames and Dallas Stars played a really tight-checking, even hockey game. The only difference between them was a weird Dallas goal that bounced in off Noah Hanifin. But the Flames came out with something to prove in the third period. 20 minutes later, the Flames had themselves a series lead.
The Flames rode a trio of third period goals – two due to the efforts of Andrew Mangiapane, the third an empty-netter – to a 3-1 victory over Dallas in Game 6. The Flames lead their best-of-seven first round series 3-2.
The opening period was fairly low event and very low-scoring – in that neither team scored. Neither team generated a ton at even strength, and the teams exchanged a pair of unimpressive power plays during the period.
Shots were 7-7 (5-4 Stars at five-on-five) and scoring chances were 5-3 Stars in the first period. (High-danger chances were 4-0 Stars, though.)
The second period saw both teams exchange gorgeous near-miss chances before Dallas finally opened the scoring.
First, Jacob Markstrom’s attempted rim-around pass from behind the net was intercepted in the corner by Dallas. The puck was flung out front and Markstrom laid out trying to block the path to the net. Joe Pavelski whacked at the loose puck and it bounced off Markstrom’s outstretched glove and sailed through the air, just clearing the open net and landing behind the net.
The Flames got a nice chance of their own, as Tyler Toffoli fired a shot from a sharp angle to Jake Oettinger’s right that went off the goaltender’s padding, blooped in the air and landed behind him in the crease, only to get swept away by a Stars defender.
The Stars finally opened the scoring midway through the second period. The Flames had a couple nice chances, but the puck took a weird bounce and flipped into the neutral zone, where it took an odd bounce past Chris Tanev. That sent Dallas in on an odd-man rush. Jason Robertson’s shot went off Markstrom, off Noah Hanifin, and bounced into the far side of the net to give the Stars a 1-0 lead.
The Flames had a late power play in the period, but couldn’t generate very much offensively.
Shots were 9-9 (8-8 at five-on-five) and scoring chances 5-5 in the second period.
The Flames pressed in the third period and finally answered back midway through the third period. Blake Coleman entered the Stars zone with speed and chipped the puck on net. Andrew Mangiapane corralled the loose rebound, spun and redirected the puck in off Mikael Backlund’s stick (at the far post) to tie the game at 1-1.
A few minutes later, the Flames took the lead. The Flames won a puck battle off a face-off and Backlund made a nice pass to send Mangiapane towards the Stars net with speed. Mangiapane fired a shot that beat Oettinger glove-side to give the Flames a 2-1 lead.
Trevor Lewis added an empty netter, battling the Stars for a loose puck after Johnny Gaudreau missed on an empty net chance of his own from the neutral zone. That made it a 3-1 game and cemented the Flames’ victory.
Shots were 16-5 Flames (14-5 Flames at five-on-five) and scoring chances were 11-5 Flames in the third period. (High-danger chances were 4-0 Flames.)
Why the Flames won
The Flames didn’t execute particularly well in the first two periods. Sure, they were in the right spots and don’t the right things, but they just found ways to get in their own way: missed passes, missed shots, and whatnot.
But the Flames came out in the third period looking to play 20 good minutes of home hockey, and they absolutely went at the Stars. They executed well, they hustled, they won battles, and their second line executed really well and tilted the game in their favour.
It’s gotta be Mangiapane, but Backlund and Coleman were also excellent. That line sparked the Flames in the third period.
The turning point
We have two. The first: Mangiapane’s go-ahead goal in the third period. It was a goal-scorer’s goal, and it won the Flames the game. But don’t discount that superb penalty kill by the Flames after that goal, where they gave the Stars nothing – not even a shot – and kept the visitors from generating any momentum.
Percentage stats are 5v5 and via Natural Stat Trick. Game score via Hockey Stat Cards.
This and that
The Flames played with 11 forwards and seven blueliners, as they did in Game 4. The top three forward lines settled out like this in the third period:
- Gaudreau – Lindholm – Toffoli
- Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman
- Dube – Jarnkrok – Tkachuk
- Lucic and Lewis played a rotating winger.
These two teams will do it once again in Dallas, where Game 6 will take place on Friday night. It’s a 7:30 p.m. MT start (7:50-ish puck drop) as the Flames will try to draw the curtain on the series and the Stars will try to stay alive.
The Flames lead this best-of-seven series 3-2.