We all knew that the Flames would have tough game ahead in Dallas, but I sure didn't expect them to play up to the Stars level. They did. The starting lineup included Karri Ramo in net with Dougie Hamilton and Kris Russell on defense while Sam Bennett, Mikael Backlund, and Michael Frolik were on the front line.
The first period was a surprise as the Flames defense was focused and ready to rumble. Dougie Hamilton took a blocked shot to the leg, but shook off the trainer on the bench, proving just how focused he was to win this game. He played hard and fast for the first 20 minutes. Michael Frolik was the forward that stood out in the first period with his breakaway shot on net and his speed coming out of the sin bin. It was a fast-paced period that ended up scoreless going into the middle frame.
The second period started off not so great as the Stars got the jump on the Flames with not just one goal but two. Just when I expected the Flames to breakdown, they played harder, faster hockey and matched the Stars play. Kris Russell made some good saves while Joe Colborne was showing off his confidence again by playing physical. Josh Jooris made a great drop pass to Johnny Gaudreau, but they couldn't bury it, Johnny's frustration was evident. In the Dallas end, the Flames put on a lot of pressure through three power plays, but Niemi was on point tonight. The home team stole passes from the visitors that ended any chances Calgary had to create plays. Enter Mark Giordano who fought fire with fire and did the exact same thing. Markus Granlund was doing Markus Granlund things - drawing penalties out of the opposition and making them count. Lance Bouma seemed to be struggling to find his skating legs tonight (and it pains me to say that), but I think he may still be a little tender from his last injury. The score remained 2-0 after 40 minutes.
Wow, the Flames came out swinging in the third. It was great to see. Mikael Backlund had a good game on a good offensive line with Sam Bennett and Michael Frolik. Calgary put the pressure on the Stars and it finally paid off when Jiri Hudler had possession of the puck behind the net and passed to Joe Colborne, who was standing out front, and the Flames were on the board with a score of 2-1. It seemed that almost every player had stepped up their game tonight in Texas and the effort put Dallas to the test. In the end, the Flames last period push just wasn't quite enough to tie the game and the Stars stole this one with a final score of 2-1.
Flame Of The Game
Michael Frolik. He's been a consistently dependable player all season long and I think he's been one of the best acquisitions for the Flames in the past year. His bursts of speed help the Flames to generate offense, he's an intelligent player, and he relies on instincts during key plays and those instincts are rarely prove wrong. He has some great chemistry with Bennett and Backlund and he always seems to read his line mates next moves on the ice and in plays.
The Flames travel home to take on Nashville to take on Shea Weber and the Predators on Wednesday before the All Star break.