Thanks to a remarkable 35 saves from Cam Talbot, the Calgary Flames were able to emerge with a 2-0 victory over the Dallas Stars in Game 3 on Friday night. Calgary got a shorthanded goal from Mikael Backlund midway through the 2nd, and T.J. Brodie provided some insurance in the third with a point shot through traffic. It was not a great game, probably not even a good one, but in the playoffs you have to take the win no matter how you get them. Here are three reasons why the Flames were victorious.
1. Cam Talbot
The Flames were the second best team on the ice last night by a pretty wide margin. Dallas took over the game pretty much right from the start of the second period through to the end of the game. Dallas had 47 of the final 59 shot attempts at even strength and peppered Talbot with 21 shots to just 7 for the Flames in the final two periods. At all strengths Dallas had eight high danger chances to two for the Flames in the final 40 minutes.
Simply put, the Flames aren’t winning the game without a mammoth performance for Talbot which is exactly what they got. He had a shaky performance in Game 2 against the Stars the night before, but the Flames went with Talbot again and he rewarded them with one of the best goaltending performances of the postseason so far.
Talbot was amazing, I don’t really know what else to say.
2. Penalty Kill
The Flames had another solid game on the penalty kill, giving up only two high danger chances in 6:40 of Stars PP time. Calgary also managed to pick up a key shorthanded goal for the second straight game, this time it was Mikael Backlund and Elias Lindholm combining to put Calgary ahead 1-0 during a 2nd period that they had no business leading.
Calgary now has three goals for and three goals against in roughly 45 minutes of PK time over seven playoff games. That’s pretty impressive.
I’m really not sure how else to describe it. As good as Talbot was, there was also a good amount of luck in yesterday’s victory. This was best exemplified by Tyler Seguin hitting the cross bar behind Talbot early in the game, and then Alex Radulov missing a completely wide open net. It seemed to be indicative of what would come.
The Flames played with fire all night long (no pun intended) and they were extremely lucky to not get burned. One thing is for certain, they need to be much better if they want to win the series.