Let’s cut to the chase, shall we? The Dallas Stars stave off elimination by beating the Calgary Flames 4-2 in game 6. We are headed to a game 7. The Stars, after initially going up 2-0, had to fight to break a 2-2 tie, and then they capped it off with an empty net goal to seal the victory.
Truth be told, this was one of the most entertaining games I’ve seen the Stars play all season. Not just because this was the highest scoring game of this series, but it was fast paced, exciting, and, frankly, the best moments were the goals that didn’t go in. Jake Oettinger stood on his head all game, and Jacob Markstrom had some shining moments as well. Dallas actually outshot Calgary 40-38, and that’s after being down in the same metric 18-10 after the first.
That shot counter is basically the tale of the tape. Calgary seemed to have the better of the chances through the first period, with the game evening out for the rest. Let’s dive into what happened:
The first period played fast. Nearly 8 minutes passed between whistles in the middle portion of the frame. Both teams had chances, and more often than not, those chances were on the rush. The Flames did have a few good possessions in the Dallas zone, and Oettinger was outstanding to prevent a goal, and we’ll hit more on him later. Dallas was able to counter with one truly great possession in Flames territory, conducted by none other than the Robertson-Hintz-Pavelski line, whom had been reunited… right before said possession.
The real star of the first period was Jake “Doesn’t-Need-A-Stick” Oettinger. The Flames drew the first power play of the game on a flurry of chances around the Stars net, the most dangerous of which was from Matthew Tkachuk when he hit the post on a shot taken from his knees (I think it would have gotten called back with a high stick anyway, and I’ll hear nothing to the contrary). During the powerplay, Otter lost his stick, which, y’know, isn’t how you draw it up. But Jake held strong. He was marvelous in the first frame with four, maybe more, incredible and timely saves to keep the good guys in the game. Seriously, if you asked me “how about that Oettinger save in the first period?” I would need you to be more specific. The guy was great, and his play (along with some shot blocking help from his pals) was the reason the Stars weren’t out of this game before it really even began.
Roope Hintz (because who else?) scored the only goal of the period. A rush chance left Roope with an edge on the Flames defender as he cut down the left wall. Roope shot the puck just inside the faceoff dot, and it slipped right through the goaltender’s five-hole. Frankly, it was one Markstrom will want back. But, uh, I’m not complaining.
The first period went just about how you would expect. Flames had better chances and more possession. The Stars relied on ~very~ solid goaltending and got a goal off a rush chance. Flames held the edge in shots 18-10. Stars get the only goal.
End of 1, Stars lead by 1. This has never gone poorly before.
The Second period looked a lot more like a game from the 80s than 2022. Joe Pavelski caught a high stick less than a minute in to put the Stars on the Power play. Joe was also spitting blood after this, but the referees just didn’t… call… the double minor? Then, in a truly scary moment, Luke Glendening caught a shoulder to the chin from Nikita Zadorov, which got everyone excited, except the referees who did not call anything on the hit. Glendening went down hard and made his way to the locker room. Jamie Benn took exception to the hit, which led to some jawing at Zadorov later on, but really not much came from the hit, although a suspension to Zadorov may be on its way. Glendening did return to the Stars bench for the third period.
Raffl put the Stars up by 2 early(ish) in the second. Joel Kiviranta, yes, THAT Joel F*cking Kiviranta, broke into Flames ice, carving past defenders to set up the Raffl tap in. JFK made some defenders look silly and made sure the city of Calgary knew his name. And now we wait for the blonde assassin to show up on familiar Alberta soil in a game 7. Early money says he gets at least 4 goals on Sunday.
Flames then got one back, also on the rush.
Rough neutral zone defense A really good end-to-end breakout led to a 3 on 1 rush for Calgary. Gaudreua slipped a pass to Stone on the doorstep, and he didn’t miss. Nothing Otter could do. 2-1, good guys still up.
Dallas had a power play, not that that matters. So we’ll move on.
Calgary then scored its second goal of the frame in the dying seconds of its own power play. Ryan Suter was called for a Charmin-soft interference penalty mere moments after an interference non-call when Blake Coleman knocked the puck away from John Klingberg and then went back for seconds, hitting Klinger to the ice when the puck was way gone. Vide evidence of the two below. But back to the Flames goal. Really an unfortunate one, as a slapshot from outside the dot was knocked to the side by Oettinger, but standing right there was Miro Heiskanen, and the puck bounced off #4 and into the net. Tough break, but that made it 2-2. Flames scored 2 within 4 minutes of each other.
First hit: No call.— Joey Hayden (@_joeyhayden) May 14, 2022
Second hit: Interference call that led to a goal in a playoff game.
Seems fine. pic.twitter.com/Atai9CX0OX
But then, Miro scored a proper one for the boys in green. Dancing around the blue line in the offensive zone, he cuts directions near the top of the faceoff circle back toward the middle of the ice. He then waits for the traffic to be juuuuust right in front of the net and rips a bullet under the arm of Markstrom.
That’s where the period would end—Stars up 3-2. One goal lead going into the third?
This one was back to the open ice, high flying, maximum chance hockey we saw in the first period. Although, there weren’t many moments to write about with specificity, so I’ll just hit the talking points:
- Markstrom had one hell of a save on Joe Pavelski. The shot could have been better, but wow what a save. You expect that from Pavs to go in all the time.
- The Stars were actually not their usual selves with a lead. There wasn’t a “turtling” and they continued to try to score goals. It was cool!
- Roope Hintz with the empty net assist(?). He and Seguin had a 2 on 0 with about a minute left and the net empty. The two were tracking down a Raffl empty net bid that missed wide. Roope was the first one there with a SLAM dunk opportunity, but he bumps it to Tyler Seguin who ultimately scores. Bit strange to see, with the game still kind of on the line (I’d prefer he just knock it in the safe way). But cool, I guess.
- Jake stayed amazing. Our puck blocking son was dynamite for all three frames tonight.
Stars win, and the season is still very much alive. As an additional positive note, we don’t have to think about these questions yet:
Some things to consider tonight:— DefendingBigD (@DefendingBigD) May 14, 2022
1) If Dallas doesn't extend the series, is this the last game we see of John Klingberg, Dallas Star?
2) Where does the coaching staff go from here?
3) How does the team assess their salary cap situation to make upgrades?
4) Jason Robertson $$$$$$
We’re heading to a Game 7, folks. Sunday at 8:30 Central Time. Let’s get weird.