After their massive comeback win in game four, the Dallas Stars continued this momentum with a 2-1 win in game five over the Calgary Flames. It wasn’t the prettiest of games, but it was enough to give the Stars a 3-2 series lead and a chance to end the series on Thursday.
It was the Dallas Stars who dominated the early parts of the game. With a strong physical presence, they established themselves in the Flames zone but without really challenging Cam Talbot.
It was Denis Gurianov who got the first real opportunity of the game. After a defensive faceoff, Gurianov was sprung on a partial breakaway. However, his backhand effort went just wide of the net.
The sequence did give powerplay to the Stars, but it was offset by an Alexander Radulov interference minor, which led to a minute of 4 on 4. Here Miro Heiskanen almost gave the Stars the lead on a two on one chance. He shot the puck himself but saw his attempt swallowed by Talbot.
A missed chance, but seconds later the Stars finally took advantage of their dominance. On another two on one rush, Tyler Seguin found Jamie Benn, who easily could poke the puck into the net. A great rush by the Stars who for the second game in a row drew first blood.
There wasn’t much that Anton Khudobin had to do for the first 15 minutes of the game, as the Flames rarely had the puck in the offensive zone. But when called upon, he was sharp. On a powerplay, the Flames almost tied things up. A great shot from Mark Giordano was just tipped onto the crossbar by Khudobin.
The Flames were slowly working their way into the game and, with less than a minute left in the period, the Flames tied up the game. Mikael Backlund made a wonderful deke at the blueline on Esa Lindell. With a fake shot, he got space to fire a heavy wrister that went past traffic and into the back of the net.
The Stars almost managed to retake the lead seconds later, but the crossbar prevented a goal by Roope Hintz. A great chance, but the period ended with tied at one.
After the highly entertaining end to the first period, fans might have hoped for more of the same in the second. However, the game slowed down majorly in the second period. Chances and noteworthy events became scarce.
Both teams were playing physical hockey and, the refs allowed them to hit each other harder than what seemed to be the case in the first period. It wasn’t pretty, but it was intense hockey. The best chance for the first half of the period was a shot from the point that almost took a very odd bounce in front of Khudobin.
Midway through the game, the Stars found their first chance of the period. Radek Faksa stole the puck deep in the Flames zone. He found Blake Comeau, but he just shot it wide. Minutes later, Corey Perry had a similar chance, but Talbot got out of his net and made an excellent save to keep the score level.
The Stars had found their footing and were creating chance after chance, but Talbot was standing tall and kept the Flames in the game. It was turning into pure survival for the Flames. They were behind in almost every aspect of the game for most of the last ten minutes. However, they held on for a much-needed break for the Flames.
Klingberg Wins It For The Stars
The Flames had managed to make it to the third period with a tie hockey game, but less than two minutes into the last frame, the Stars had taken the lead. Mattias Janmark won the puck behind the net and, after creating space, he found John Klingberg on the point. With a perfect wrist shot, the Swedish defenseman gave the Stars a deserved lead.
Rasmus Andersson almost found the perfect response a few minutes later. After a bad clearing attempt, he found space for a shot. A small deflection had Khudobin beat, but the post came to the rescue for the Stars goaltender.
With 12 minutes left, Elias Lindholm had a glorious chance, but like Andersson’s shot, it was denied. This time by a spectacular stick save by Khudobin. The Flames were gaining momentum, but the Stars did have a few good looks as well. Their best came from Andrej Sekera who rattled a shot off the crossbar.
Time was winding down fast for the Flames and, they needed to get some pressure towards the Stars net. An effort that took a severe setback after Giordano took a delay of game to prevent a goal from Benn. The Stars, while looking dangerous on a few instances, failed to capitalize on the chance to ice the game.
Instead, it was the Flames who had the chance to bring the game into overtime on a late powerplay . 6 on 4 with 23 seconds left in the game, the Flames didn’t manage to set up properly and, the Stars hung on to win game five 2-1.
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