Calgary Flames vs Dallas Stars, 3:30 PM MT, Rogers Place, Edmonton AB
TV: NBCSN, CBC, SN - Radio: Sportsnet 960
Calgary Flames (2) - Dallas Stars (2)
The Flames and Stars will meet in Game 5 of this best of seven series this afternoon with a chance to swing the series in either team’s favour. Calgary had a chance to take a commanding 3-1 series lead on Sunday, but they couldn’t hold a one goal lead with 12 seconds left in regulation and eventually lost in OT 5-4. Not the best way to end a game, but this is the playoffs and Calgary must regroup and take the ice like nothing ever happened.
What did happen that needs to change is Calgary’s penchant for taking stupid penalties.....and lots of them. The Flames visited the box seven times on Sunday, including gifting Dallas five straight power plays on the afternoon. There’s no way of getting around it: that’s just not good. The Flames PK units were overworked on the day and no group is going to have a perfect afternoon when they are called on that many times. Thankfully the Flames PK was able to shut down Dallas five out of seven times, which in the end is more than could have been asked. Discipline is the key for this team and they must be better in Game 5.
Calgary’s next issue is shots. Not their own, as they had 40 on the day, which is more than acceptable. It’s the amount of shots they allowed. Cam Talbot has been fantastic, he’s also not Superman and the Flames need to recognize this and help. In Sunday’s 5-4 loss, Talbot saw an unthinkable 62 shots. That’s just unacceptable. Back that up into Game 3 and the Flames goalie has seen 97 shots in two games. Even with that work load over a two game stretch Talbot’s Save% is .948 and even in surrendering five goals on Sunday he still had a .919% in that game. Talbot has been outstanding and a workhorse, but it’s time for Mark Giordano and company to lighten the load a bit before Cam Talbot just breaks down completely.
On the Dallas side Calgary needs to find a way to slow down Joe Pavelski. The former division foe had the game of his life, notching his first career playoff hat trick and the first career post season hat trick in Dallas Stars franchise history. Pavelski was the reason Dallas ended up tying it with 12 seconds left after he was left sitting on the door step to collect a rebound and slide it past Cam Talbot. Coming into Game 5 Pavelski had only two goals in six games and now he has five and looks like he’s getting into gear. The Flames need to find a way to stop him or it’s going to be a long day.
Finally, the Flames are getting a ton of secondary scoring and it’s the Dube/Bennett/Lucic line that’s doing most of the damage. That unit has combined for 18 points and 9 goals so far in the playoffs. That’s all well and good, but the Flames need more from their top scorers. Elias Lindholm hasn’t scored since Game 3 of the Flames/Jets series. Mikael Backlund has only a goal and an assist against Dallas so far. Sean Monahan finally got on the board on Sunday with two PP assists, so hopefully that will ignite him a bit and Johnny Gaudreau started to look extremely dangerous on Sunday as well. He scored a goal and had an assist, giving him three points in the series.
So, just do all that and things will come up roses for the Flames....right?
Starting Goalies (E=Expected, C=Confirmed)
Flames- Talbot (E): 5-3-0, 2.19 GAA, .933 Save%
Stars- Kuhdobin (E): 2-3-0, 2.86 GAA, .907 Save%
Flames- Goals: Bennett (5) Points: Monahan (8) PIM: Lucic (13) Save%: Talbot (.933)
Stars- Goals: Pavelski (5) Points: Heiskanen (8) PIM: Perry (9) Save%: Khudobin (.907)
What’s Happening With The Opposition?
Dallas Stars Coverage: Defending Big D
Last Time Out
Calgary Flames 4 - Dallas Stars 5 (OT)
Players To Watch
Sam Bennett (C): 3 goals, 1 assist and 13 SOG in the series so far
Joe Pavelski (C): 3 goals on 8 shots in Game 4