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Stars Limp to the Finish Line on a 3-1 Loss to the Calgary Flames

Not precisely what I wanted to do with my Friday night, if I’m honest.

NHL: Dallas Stars at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Stars western road trip has been lackluster at best. They won last night against the Vancouver Canucks but lost 7-1 to the Edmonton Oilers and 5-1 to the San Jose Sharks.

The Calgary Flames, meanwhile, had been on a 10 game winning streak before Wednesday’s game against the Boston Bruins.

So, clearly the Flames had something to prove, and the Stars had nothing to lose. Guess which one served their team better.

First period

The first five minutes of this game felt like a battle between two teams that didn’t particularly care about scoring goals, they were just happy to be out on the ice with their friends. Sure, there was a big hit in the corner from Remi Elie that might get a phone call from a Flames mom, but that was all in good fun, right?

There were no shots on goal. Not for four whole minutes of this game. The first shot came from the Flames, followed about a minute later by a close chance from the Stars, and then it was just skating around the neutral zone for another ten minutes or so.

Mark Giordano’s mom is definitely receiving a phone call from Mrs. Lehtonen after Giordano ran over Kari Lehtonen midway through the period. The rather offensive rush led to a penalty and also a few good whacks from Lehtonen’s blocker.

The Stars? Did not manage to get a shot on goal for those two minutes.

They did, however, let Michael Frolik score a goal after a pretty egregious neutral zone turnover. I’m calling all of their mothers for that one.

And that was pretty much it. The Stars got a few more shots on goal, but were generally outplayed. Not hard to do when you keep gift wrapping the puck at center ice for your opponent. The Stars are so giving.

Second period

In keeping with their giving nature, the Stars never truly seemed to gain control of the puck in this period, though they were able to even up the shots on goal. They also let the Flames score twice, so the shots, while a step in the right direction, didn’t ultimately help them on the scoreboard.

The first goal came after an extended period in the Stars zone, when they were simply unable to clear the puck. If we’re keeping with the school yard game of hockey, this is when the high schoolers finish their lunch early and invade the younger kids’ game, probably. No moms are getting called, one side is just going to get violently outworked.

So on this first goal, Giordano got the puck to Matthew Tkachuk, who had parked himself in front of the net. An easy redirect on Lehtonen put the Flames up 2-0.

About three minutes later, because his mother taught him the value of sharing and reciprocity, Tkachuk assisted on a goal for Giordano. Except, if you were watching, you’re aware it was actually a deflection from Dan Hamhuis.

That’s right, so far this game they’ve had a turnover, an own goal, and a “we just can’t clear the puck” goal. Taking bets on what comes next!

Third period

The third period was very much more of the same. The Stars still didn’t get many shots on goal. They were out-hit by a factor of 2. The Flames had more scoring chances. It was just not a good look at all for the Stars.

They did manage to get a goal off the worst turn over of the game (a distinction which does not go to the Stars, thank goodness) when Brett Ritchie capitalized on perfect chance right in front of the net.

Other than that, Tkachuk took a puck to the neck off a face off clearing from Patrick Nemeth.

He definitely went to the school nurse.

The Stars got a late power play opportunity when Kris Versteeg took John Klingberg down, but the Flames managed to hang on through the end of the game.

And that’s it. Stars road trip falls to 1-3-0. They’re back in Dallas on Monday to take on the San Jose Sharks.