The Dallas Stars’ “FCC line” composing of Radek Faksa, Blake Comeau, and Andrew Cogliano prides itself in shutting down opposing teams’ top lines. That’s exactly what they’ve done with the Calgary Flames’ top players so far in this series.
When the [Sean] Monahan line and the Faksa line are both on the ice at 5 on 5, the Stars’ checking line has turned the game into, well, a whole lot of nothing. Dallas owns an edge in shot attempts (16-7), the teams are even in shots on goal (5-5) while the Flames own the only high-danger chance during that time.
The Stars haven’t driven play offensively themselves during that time, but they’ve essentially dulled the threat of Calgary’s best players by simply not allowing them to play offense.
Some teams — like the Colorado Avalanche — have the scoring depth to overcome such hurdles. But as their roster currently stands, the Flames don’t have much offensive talent, and as a result 5-on-5 offense has dried up as a whole:
Since the Flames are without leading scorer Matthew Tkachuk, the absence of top-line production echoes through the rest of the lineup. Rieder isn’t a top-six quality option, and Andrew Mangiapane hasn’t shown it this series. The heavy third line of Milan Lucic, Sam Bennett and Dillon Dube has done nothing since the first period of Game 2.
You can read more from Matthew DeFranks here.
It’s game day! Dallas looks to close out the series tonight with a Game 6 win over Calgary:
Stars enter Game 6 'ready to attack,' advance to next round https://t.co/Uck3i6SdDb via @NHLdotcom— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) August 20, 2020
My bet is that Tkachuk will still be out, but a return to action would be huge for the Flames:
Game 6. Do or die. This is the type of moment Matthew Tkachuk lives for.— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) August 19, 2020
If Tkachuk remains unavailable due to injury, the Calgary Flames will miss him more than ever.
Friendly reminder that John Klingberg is awesome and we should all know it:
"He makes big-time plays."— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) August 19, 2020
Kling is king this postseason https://t.co/fSVKxcHkFb
And Tyler Seguin is too, while we’re at it:
Different Animal: @THNRyanKennedy on how Tyler Seguin has evolved in Dallas https://t.co/ahSunFx7VD— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) August 20, 2020
Around the League
And then there were fewer...
- This time, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets only needed one period of overtime, as Tampa Bay won 5-4 to take the series in five.
- The Boston Bruins also got business done in Game 5, eliminating the Carolina Hurricanes with a 2-1 victory.
- Meanwhile the Colorado Avalanche also advanced after scoring another touchdown against the Arizona Coyotes, winning 7-1.
- The sole team to win their Game 5 elimination game was the Montreal Canadiens, who beat stay alive with a 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers.
- Finally, the Vancouver Canucks reclaim the series lead after beating the St. Louis Blues 4-3.
Those first round exits probably didn’t pull too many heartstrings, so here’s a list of 25 that did:
New post: Ranking the 25 most heart-breaking first-round losses of the cap era. https://t.co/f2QsIffPrE pic.twitter.com/4k2J8Mwfqx— Down Goes Brown (@DownGoesBrown) August 19, 2020
Friendly reminder that, should they advance, the Stars will have to face off against Nathan MacKinnon and the high-scoring Avalanche:
The best player in the world right now is Nathan MacKinnon of the @Avalanche. Who's with me? https://t.co/o7BEAOY4Gs— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) August 20, 2020
Anton Khudobin is one of many pending-UFA goaltenders who has the chance to make some money this offseason:
Lehner, Markstrom expected to set tone for UFA goaltending market | @PierreVLeBrun https://t.co/NbTWUSfIkD— The Athletic NHL (@TheAthleticNHL) August 19, 2020
Finally, give a big hand to the NHL for continuing to keep their bubble intact, despite the odds stacked against them:
The league vowed it would make the safety of its players its top priority and some people scoffed. But not only has the NHL successfully pulled off the Stanley Cup tournament, it's keeping everyone safe.@THNKenCampbell has more: https://t.co/w7ILJmk5Iq— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) August 19, 2020