Game one of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs brought the Dallas Stars to Calgary to face the Flames. The Stars locked in the meeting with the Flames with their win last Friday over the Anaheim Ducks and the Nashville Predators loss to the Arizona Coyotes. The series for the Stars and Flames marks the second straight playoff for both teams that they drew each other in the first round. In NHL history it is the third time the teams have played (1981 and 2020). In the previous series, both won by the Minnesota/Dallas franchise, the team who claimed the victory appeared in the Stanley Cup Final.
The Flames came into the playoff date with the Stars as the Pacific Division champions and arguably their best team since the 2004 run to the finals. Led by Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau, the Flames boast a team with a deep offense and plenty of ability on the defensive end of things. As the favorites in the series, the Flames look primed for a run. The Stars come in expecting to compete with a team that is built to play in the post-season. The team is looking to make a return trip to the finals where they were beaten by the Tampa Bay Lighting in the 2020 bubble.
First Period Observations:
Calgary came out in the first few shifts and were committed to playing the body on the Stars defense corp. The early pressure forced the Stars into quick plays with the puck that fed the Flames forwards for extended zone time. The result of the early strategy was a four-to-nothing shot advantage for the home team. The first five minutes were dominant for a Calgary team playing in front of a raucous crowd at the Saddledome. Dallas wouldn’t help themselves steady the game when Jani Hakanpaa committed the series first penalty when he was whistled for an illegal check to the head on Blake Coleman. The following five seconds would be all the Flames powerplay needed to complete the perfect start. Off a faceoff win Elias Lindholm would direct the puck past Jake Oettinger to give the Flames the first goal of the series.
Dallas would be given a chance to create some momentum in the game when Nikita Zadorov was called for holding, sending the Stars to the power-play. Unfortunately for the Stars they would record no shots on goal on a powerplay that was entirely ineffective. After the Stars powerplay the Flames would pick up right where they left off in their domination of the hockey game. Jake Oettinger was sharp from the outset, keeping the Stars in a hockey game that was out of hand everywhere else on the ice. The Stars were a step slower all over the ice and were failing to clog up the Flames zone exits and entries.
Brett Ritchie gave the Stars another opportunity on the powerplay when he took an interference penalty with just about five minutes to go in the period. The second Stars powerplay would be easily extinguished once again with Dallas failing to register a shot on goal. Right as the powerplay ended for the Stars the parade to the box continued when the Stars were called for a bench minor. The too many men call gave the Flames their second advantage of the period. The Stars would successfully kill the Flames penalty but that wouldn’t be the story of the end of the period.
After Matthew Tkachuk threw a massive hit on John Klingberg, the Stars Michael Raffl returned the favor. Tkachuk and Raffl dropped the gloves and the Flames forward probably wished he hadn’t, as he was fed a few punches by the Stars forward. Klingberg himself would drop the gloves with Rasmus Andersson, in a quick affair when the jersey was pulled up over John’s eyes. Overall, it was a nice spark from a Stars team that was shell shocked by a relentless Calgary offensive in the opening period.
Dallas 3 Calgary 11
Dallas 0 Calgary 1
Second Period Observations:
Following the events at the end of the first period the Stars would be without John Klingberg for the remainder of the hockey game. The Flames Andersson would also be out of the game with a game misconduct assessed to both players for fighting after the whistle. Raffl would receive the extra minor for unsportsmanlike conduct, giving the Flames their third powerplay of the evening.
Dallas successfully killed the Flames penalty and resembled a team with a pulse in the following minutes. The Stars put more pucks on Markstrom in the first five minutes of the second period than the entirety of the first. The Stars would catch another opportunity on the powerplay when Blake Coleman took a roughing penalty. The Stars powerplay did look better than their previous two attempts, working the puck around the zone for clear lanes at the net. The best chance came from a Tyler Seguin one-timer that ended in the glove of the Flames net-minder. Still, the Stars came away with nothing on their third chance, dropping to 0-3 on the evening.
At the half-way point of the period the Stars held an eight-to-five shot advantage, able to generate those chances with their newly established forecheck. Overall, the Stars were able to chip the puck in behind the Flames defense and used their speed to retrieve effectively. The Stars shot attempts weren’t of the dangerous variety, but any chance towards the net after the first period could be taken as a positive.
Dallas received a fourth chance on the powerplay when Blake Coleman took his second penalty of the period for interference. Through the first sixty seconds of the advantage the Stars again struggled with the speed and physicality of the Calgary killers. The Stars were mauled all over the ice, not able to settle the puck and find their powerplay sets. The Stars would fail to register a shot again, falling to a putrid 0-4 on the night. Dallas wouldn’t make their lives any easier when the Flames were handed their fourth powerplay of the night when Raffl was whistled for roughing. With twenty second remaining on the original minor, Jamie Benn committed a tripping penalty to put the Flames on a five-on-three powerplay for twenty seconds. The penalty was the ninth penalty that resulted in a powerplay in the hockey game.
The game was an absolute slog with all of the penalties in the game, reducing the period to stops and starts. Oettinger for his part was sensational when called upon, keeping the game within one on the five-on-three with a sparkling pad save in the slot. On yet another Stars powerplay, their fifth of the night, Jason Robertson came a post away from tying the game on a bomb from just above the circle. The period would end with the Stars carrying over forty second of powerplay time.
Dallas 14 Calgary 20
Dallas 0 Calgary 1
Third Period Observations:
Dallas began the final frame on the carryover powerplay from the Flames bench minor late in the second period. However, the Stars would see another powerplay come and go, leveling the game back to even for the first time in what seemed like an eternity. Dallas picked up from where they left off in the second period, able to generate plays off the rush in the first five minutes of the period. The best chance came on a smart play by Denis Gurianov, who found Ryan Suter for a wide open chance in the slot that caught Markstrom in the shoulder.
Ten minutes into the third period the Stars showed signs of making a late game push. Dallas was much better along the wall, closing off the puck and working the puck through the Flames defenders. The Flames also seemed content with allowing the Stars to exit the zone freely when Dallas had possession. Where Dallas ran into problems was when the Flames possessed the puck in the offensive zone. Calgary appeared dangerous at all times, always looking to funnel the puck towards the Dallas net. The physicality of the game hadn’t abated either, arguably picking up as the game dwindled down into the later stages.
Dallas would generate some chances late in the period and with under two minutes remaining the Stars pulled Oettinger for the extra attacker. Dallas would fail to score in the final minutes and drop game one by a score of one-to-nothing.
Dallas 16 Calgary 26
Dallas 0 Calgary 1
Series: Calgary leads 1-0