For the third time this season, the Calgary Flames gave up the first goal. For the third time this season, the Flames spent much of the game chasing. But for the first time this season, the Flames managed to come all the way back and win a game where they never had the lead. They used a third period push (and a shootout) to beat the Dallas Stars by a 3-2 score.
Neither team scored in a pretty tight-checking opening period. Shots were 9-9. Scoring chances were 10-10.
The Flames got in a bit of penalty trouble in the second period. Combined with Dallas getting their legs going, it made for a rough period where the Flames couldn’t get a ton of good looks at the net. Eventually, Dallas took advantage of a couple Flames gaffes to score.
At the Dallas blueline, Milan Lucic made a pass back to Sam Bennett. Bennett attempted to toe-drag around a defender, but lost the puck and the Stars had an odd-man rush the other way. The Flames rushed back to break up the odd-man rush, but Bennett fell over trying to block a pass, allowing Joel E’sperance to beat out Lucic to the slot and redirect a Joel Hanley shot past David Rittich to make it 1-0 Stars.
Shots were 16-9 Stars and chances 11-7 Stars in the middle period.
The Stars added to their lead early in the third period on a carry-over PP from the end of the second period. They scored nine seconds in, as Jamie Benn took a Roope Hintz pass off the rush and beat Rittich with a wrister to make it 2-0.
But the Flames answered back after Joe Pavelski was called for boarding for a crunch on Rasmus Andersson. The ensuing PP started off rough, with the Flames not doing much with their zone time, but Elias Lindholm’s shot from the high slot went post-and-in to cut the Dallas lead to 2-1.
The Flames tied things up shortly afterwards off a series of smart plays. First, Matthew Tkachuk broke up a Dallas rush with a poke-check, but he didn’t have the speed to get a breakaway. So he passed to a trailing Mikael Backlund, who in turn passed to a pinching Noah Hanifin to beat Ben Bishop – who followed Tkachuk’s movement across the slot despite him not having the puck – to tie things up at 2-2.
Regulation time solved nothing, so it was off to overtime. Shots were 8-7 Flames and chances 7-5 Stars in the third period.
Overtime was a pretty interesting back-and-forth affair, as Dallas had a ton of pressure and Alexander Radulov hit a post. Mark Giordano hauled down Radulov with 20.9 seconds left in regulation, leading to a penalty shot but Rittich stopped him. Shots were 4-3 Dallas.
Off to the shootout the two teams went:
- Tyler Seguin scored for Dallas
- Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau scored for the Flames
Why the Flames Won
Well, they didn’t make it particularly easy on themselves. They took too many penalties and couldn’t get much going at five-on-five until the third period. The Stars’ forecheck and defensive structure gave them fits for two periods.
But the Flames managed to figure things out in the third period. They out-played Dallas when it mattered the most and they managed to eke out a road win.
We’ve got to go with Rittich, again, as he held the Flames in yet another game early on. He was credited with 34 saves, plus two stops in the shootout.
Also, stick-taps to Backlund. He led all Flames forwards in time on ice and despite getting his head kicked in at the face-off dot, he was easily the team’s most reliable forward in all three zones.
The Turning Point
Hanifin’s goal came three minutes after Lindholm’s PP marker and allowed the Flames to capitalize on their best stretch of even strength play of the entire game. It also guaranteed they got a sorely-needed point despite being outplayed for much of the game.
Data via Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5v5.
This and That
Michael Stone made his first appearance of the season. He was fine, though his pairing did spend a ton of time in their own end due to Dallas’ smart line-matching.
The fourth line of Mark Jankowski, Tobias Rieder and Michael Frolik played so little that the trio wasn’t ever on the ice at the same time for a face-off.
The Flames (2-1-1) head west. They have a tough back-to-back this weekend: Saturday they’re in Vegas and Sunday they’re in San Jose.
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