Coming off of a thrashing in game four, the Dallas Stars headed to Calgary to take on a Flames squad that was head and shoulders better in the last outing. Dallas struggled with every aspect of the game in game four, surrendering fifty-four shots in a game that should have been far worse if not for Jake Oettinger. Following the game Rick Bowness mentioned that the Stars had things to fix before game five.
Calgary had to be feeling like they had finally taken control of the pace in the series. Over the two games in Dallas the Flames fired over a hundred shots on goal and generally controlled the game. Markstrom had been a wall for the Flames, shutting the Stars offense down, and allowing the Flames to work into their style of play. With the series tied up at two games apiece, game five was pivotal for two teams looking to come back to Dallas with a chance to close the series out.
First Period Observations:
Jake Oettinger picked up right where he left off in games one-through-four by stoning Matthew Tkachuk on an early breakaway. The opportunity for the Flames forward was caused by over-pursuit by the Stars in the Calgary end. While the early aggressiveness was a welcome sight, the overall breakdown defensively was inexcusable with the Flames top line on the ice. Through the first five minutes of the contest the Stars were able to possess the puck more effectively than they had in all of game four. The result was early zone-time for Dallas and some decisive puck movement. The shots were tied at two a piece, but the Stars carried the majority of the play to start.
Dallas received the first power-play of the game when Zakita Zadorov was whistled for tripping in the neutral zone. The penalty against the Flames followed up their best shift in the game to that point. Calgary was able to cycle the Stars low in the defensive zone and opened up shooting lanes from the point. The result was an awkward bounce off of the glass that Oettinger lost track of as it came to rest in the slot. The puck was cleared by the Stars without further incident.
The power-play for the Stars saw the first ninety seconds elapse without a chance directed towards the Calgary net. The Stars looked disconnected and displayed a special teams unit that was without confidence. Zone entries were a struggle and once in the zone the Stars were unable to possess for any length of time before the Flames were able to clear. The missed opportunity dropped the Stars to a miserable two-for-eighteen on the power-play in the series.
Following a stretch of play where both teams were able to generate chances, Michael Raffl committed a cross-checking minor deep in the Calgary end of the ice. The call gave the Flames their first power-play late in the period. The Stars would successfully kill the penalty keeping the game level as the period reached the final minutes. Following the kill, Dallas would go right back on the attack and continue a strong stretch of play. With the game in the final two minutes the Stars held a slight seven-to-six shot advantage.
Dallas 7 Calgary 7
Dallas 0 Calgary 0
Second Period Observations:
Period two started abruptly with a power-play for the Stars. Rasmus Andersson was called for hooking sending Dallas on their second advantage of the game. Through the first ninety seconds the Stars power-play was largely ineffective, culminating in an icing call. Again, Dallas was unable to settle into their set plays, struggling with the Flames aggressive play on any bobbled pucks. Dallas would come close right after the power-play when Joe Pavelski nearly opened the scoring on a net mount scramble. Pavelski was stopped on his stuff attempt by Markstrom.
Ten minutes into the period the Stars and Flames continued the trends established in the first period. The Stars would make a push that would be followed by a furious push by the Flames. Calgary nearly scored the opening goal of the game when Tyler Toffoli missed when the puck danced in the crease following his sharp angle attempt on Oettinger. Overall, both teams were playing an extremely structured and disciplined style of hockey. The game also was without the post whistle scrums that have been a main event through the first four games of the series.
Following a nice up by Esa Lindell, Dallas was able to attack the Flames blue-line with numbers. Jamie Benn fought through a check to work the puck up to Jason Robertson who skated towards the net on a two-on-one with Tyler Seguin. Robertson elected to shoot and was able to pick his spot over the shoulder of Markstrom, who got a piece but not enough to deny the Stars the first goal of the game. Robertson, who admitted to fighting the style of playoff hockey, had been working his way to the middle of the ice throughout the night. The tally was his first career playoff goal.
Two minutes short of the second intermission the Stars found themselves killing their second penalty of the game. Miro Heiskanen was called for slashing on Dillon Dube, who traipsed in on Oettinger for a quality chance. On the kill the Stars displayed the kind of tenacity that chokes the life out of a power-play. The Flames were harassed on the puck and the Stars were more than happy to step into shooting lanes to block a shot. The combined effort resulted in an impressive penalty kill for Dallas as the period ended.
Dallas 16 Calgary 16
Dallas 1 Calgary 0
Third Period Observations:
Thirteen seconds into the final frame and Jake Oettinger was called upon to be special once again. Backlund was stoned by the glove of Oettinger, who was competing for space with Blake Coleman. Calgary was intentional with the puck to start, firing the puck on net three times in the first minute and change.
With the game approaching the final ten minutes the Flames were finally able to breakthrough Oettinger and the Stars. Coleman rushed into the Stars zone and allowed the Flames to gain possession. Andrew Mangiapane directed the puck towards the Stars net and found the stick of Backlund who placed it behind Oettinger. The goal tied the game and capped off a strong start to the period for the Flames. Following the goal the Flames relentlessly attacked the Stars, on their toes for the first time in the game.
Calgary continued their attack on Dallas and were rewarded for their efforts again when Mangiapane ripped the puck over the shoulder of Oettinger. The goal completed the comeback for the Flames in the third period. The goal occurred on the thirteenth shot of the period for Calgary. Dallas in the same timeframe only recorded two shots.
Dallas received their third power-play of the game when Oliver Kylington committed a tripping penalty on Pavelski. If there was ever a time for the Stars power-play to come through it was then, but to start the set was as bad as every other attempt before it. The Flames would easily kill the penalty without a dangerous chance against.
With under two minutes remaining in regulation the Stars sent Oettinger to the bench for the extra attacker. Like the Dallas power-play the club was unable to maintain meaningful possession of the puck. The Flames would clear the puck out of the Stars end and Trevor Lewis would deposit the puck into the empty net to ice the game.
Dallas 1 Calgary 3
Series: Calgary Leads 3-2