Dallas Stars Falter in Third, Fall in Shootout to Calgary Flames 4-3
That comeback thing happened again. Only in reverse this time.
Remember that three-goal comeback against the Minnesota Wild from Saturday night? Well the Dallas Stars did that again on Tuesday.
Just, you know, in reverse.
This time, it was the Calgary Flames who took advantage of some coverage mistakes from Stars in the third period to stage a three-goal comeback. The only difference was they completed the comeback in the skills competition rather than overtime for a 4-3 win.
Things started out well for Dallas. It didn't take the Stars long to get on the board as an extremely sharp angle shot from Jason Spezza somehow got behind Karri Ramo just about two minutes into the game. Jordie Benn picked up an assist on the play, but it's really a goal NHL-quality goalies shouldn't give up. The Stars understand that pain all too much after last season.
Dallas doubled their lead with 3:31 left in the period on a weird play at the Calgary crease. Cody Eakin was clearly crosschecked into Ramo with the play still alive in front, and in the aftermath of their crash, the puck snuck across the goal line. Dougie Hamilton was the actual goal scorer, kicking the puck into his own net, but it was credited to Eakin with assists to Jyrki Jokipakka and Valeri Nichushkin.
Most of the period in the Stars end was basically uneventful, though not for a lack of effort from the Flames. Two of their first three shots came on breakaways where Antti Niemi was forced to come up big.
Calgary's big push came midway through the second period as they had a few long stretches of sustained pressure in the Stars zone. But it was the Stars who picked up the period's first goal as Mattias Janmark broke into the zone alone and, despite being forced to the outside, completed the generally rare simple wraparound tuck. Again, it's the type of goal that should be stopped by NHL quality netminding, but Ramo got drifting way to his right on the initial zone entry and somehow never recovered.
The Flames finally broke through in the second minute of the third period when Nichuhskin got on the wrong side of Mikael Backlund off a face off, which allowed Backlund to get off multiple consecutive shots, the final one of which sailed over a sprawled Niemi.
Then Jokipakka got caught out of position near the defensive blueline in transition and overcorrected in his attempted recovery, giving Johnny Gaudreau an open look at a puck that beat Niemi. What had been a comfortable three-goal lead was down to one with more than 16 minutes left to play. The two goals occurred within 1:10 of each other.
It should be noted that during this meltdown, Jason Demers disappeared from the Stars bench with an upper-body injury and did not return to the game. Apparently he is the glue that holds the blueline together this season.
The Stars tried to tighten things up defensively and were at least somewhat successful until the final 2:30, when they got messed up on a Flames transition and let Hamilton walk into a shot that tied the game.
In overtime the Stars had the better of the play and drew a late power play - their only one other than a very brief one to start the second - but couldn't make 50 seconds of 4-on-3 work for them.
In the shootout, Joe Colborne, Gaudreau, and Sean Monahan all scored for Calgary while only Patrick Sharp could score for the Stars. Tyler Seguin hit the post as the first shooter (in what was an apt parallel for the third period), and the Stars did not use their third shooter.