You just can't spot someone three goals, seemed to be the consensus in the press box after this one despite an overall gritty and determined effort by the Dallas Stars against the Calgary Flames.
The Stars out played the Flames for the better part of 45 minutes after falling behind by a trio of tallies, forced overtime and then the shootout, but couldn't seal the deal. They earn an important point in doing so and still have two games in hand on Calgary, who earns a win that doesn't count in the tie breakers.
The result assures the Stars a drop from 5th to 6th place in the morning. The Los Angeles Kings move closer with a 2-1 win in Detroit and the Ducks are currently beating the NY Rangers at home to move within three points of Dallas. Chicago gets a SOL point in Tampa and remains a point ahead. Just another night in the Western Conference.
The season sweep of the Stars is the first for Calgary over the Dallas Stars, and the first over this franchise since the 1991-1992 season.
It has been said by many that the first game at home after a road trip can be a tricky proposition and this was the case for Dallas tonight. Calgary was hungrier on the puck and more physical, winning the battles, earning the bounces and just flat out taking it to the Stars early.
A Marc Crawford timeout after the second Flames goal was meant to calm his team down but Calgary came right back and scored again to take a three goal lead. Then Kari Lehtonen started doing his thing. He made a monstrous save on a short handed breakaway to keep it 3-0 and it turned out to be worth a point in the end, even if it felt pointless to the crowd at the time.
Dallas poured it on in the second, out-shooting the Flames 15-4 and climbing back to a single goal deficit at the 2nd intermission, but it presented a problem. Despite the heroic effort it was going to have to be their third consecutive game coming back when trailing after two periods.
They fell just short, but not for lack of trying. Dallas has now earned 21 of their points (9 wins, 3 OT/SOL) when trailing after two periods and they're hoping right now that will be difference come April 10th.
The brightest spot for Stars fans in this one, despite the comeback itself, was the fact that the third goal was the first of 20 year old Tomas Vincour's career and he could not have looked more pleased.
It's easy to be mad about this one but the Stars showed us something after being strafed like that and it should not go overlooked.
More thoughts on the game after the jump...
- Like Art did in the last recap we must throw a bit of cold water on a big come back. The Flames are about the last team on Earth the Stars want to be giving points to right now. Same with the Wild coming up, same with the Kings after that. These are all out wars and the Stars, while technically needing to finish out .500 to have a chance at the 8 seed need to do better against the teams closest to them. We'll be looking for the full 2 points in regulation on Friday.
- Jamie Benn, Jamie Benn, Jamie Benn. He had a couple of bobbles tonight and some pucks that were hopping on him but other than that he was his usual dominant self. He is a bull. He doesn't take no for an answer. He has memorable face off wins, for crying out loud. Brad Richards may have been back but Benn was the Star of the show (PUN!) once again.
- Speaking of Brad Richards, perhaps an inauspicious outing for the All-Star but he played over 20 minutes and that's a great sign. Crawford said after the game that Richards was rusty and that was to be expected. If everything checks out tomorrow then it looks like he's really back back.
- Kari Lehtonen probably could have stopped that third goal but besides that he was brilliant. His stops on the breakaway in the first period and the CGY PP to end that period were brilliant and he made several more in the third period. Lambaste him if you want for allowing
all threetwo goals in the shootout but once again, without him they don't get that far.
- Toby Petersen does so many little things you don't notice. I like him. Same with Tom Wandell who is having a quite a strong surge lately. His time with Vincour and Richards tonight was great.
- Alex Goligoski had a pretty rough first period and was a little turnover happy today, still, he has 7 points in 8 games as a Dallas Star so we're happy with that. He and Richards on the third period power play looked effective and we're just seeing the tip of the iceberg there as they haven't practiced yet.
- I am tired and I am going home.
1. Kari Lehtonen
2. Mike Ribeiro
3. Jamie Benn
That's right, I'm going all Anaheim on you tonight. Forget the Flames.