The first period was the Dillon Dube Show. On a Flames powerplay, a beautiful three way passing play found its way from Milan Lucic to Dube, who one timed it past Anton Khudobin. Later in the frame, Dube made a great play to get around the Dallas defender and put the puck in far side. It would be 2-0 Flames at the end of of one.
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Dallas was not going to go away easily. They pressed and finally Denis Gurianov ‘s point shot took a deflection in front and beat Cam Talbot. Just nine seconds later, an uncleared puck found its way to Jamie Benn, who sent a knuckler through traffic which bounced off Joe Pavelski and beat Talbot. The game was tied at two.
For many teams allowing two goals just seconds apart may break them, but not these Flames. Towards the end of the period, Rasmus Andersson brought the puck into the offensive zone and took a shot which bounced off of Andrej Sekera‘s stick and past Khudobin to put the Flames back in front.
The Flames led 3-2 into the third, and although the Stars pressed, the Flames were excellent at keeping the Stars to the outside. The period finally came to an end, 3-2 was the final score, and the Flames took Game 1.
5v5 Player Stats
- Mikael Backlund had an excellent game, posting a team high 66.7% CF. He was on the ice for six scoring chances for
- Six players posted a team low 40.0% CF including the entire top line, T.J. Brodie, Mark Jankowski and Derek Ryan.
- Johnny Gaudreau and Derek Forbort led the Flames with five individual shot attempts
- Mattias Janmark led the way for the Stars with a game high 70.0% CF. He also led the team with seven shot attempts
- Former Oiler Sekera posted a team low 30.5% CF, and was on the ice for one goal against
- Defencemen Sekera and Stephen Johns was the only Stars’ skater on the ice for two goals against.
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick
Thoughts on the Game
Going into the playoffs, one of the things that we talked about was the Flames needed to have a strong will to win. They needed to have a winning mindset, and believe that even when things went wrong, they could battle back and win a series.
Unlike last year’s playoffs, the Flames showed their will to win in this game. After the Stars pulled even with two goals in the second period, the Flames did not let that get them down. Coach Geoff Ward did not call a timeout, but the Flames looked calm and determined. They pushed back right after that with a strong reply shift, and kept pushing until Andersson managed to score.
The third period, the Stars came back pushing for the tying goal, but the Flames played an excellent shutdown game, not allowing the Stars to set-up in the offensive zone. Even in the final few minutes, the Stars were unable to ull the goalie, as the Flames stacked the blueline and the Stars could not get the puck past the Flames defensive set-up. The frustration that this caused the Stars players was evident, showing just how well the Flames did in this game.
And from defense, the Flames were good at playing in transition to create offensive chances. All three Flames chances came off the rush, with two coming from around the right dot, and the last coming from a rush down the right side by Dube. The Flames played a very strong transition game, and were able to convert on their chances.
Speaking of Dube, he was incredible in this game. Touted as one of the best players coming into camp, he has not disappointed. Not only did he have two goals in this one, he also had a partial breakaway, which was stopped by Khudobin.
Once again, Coach Ward elected to put them out to start the game, and trusted them to play in all situations, even with just minutes left in the game. They finished the game with the most shot attempts of any of the Flames’ lines.
The Flames played a very strong tight game, where all four lines were able to mostly keep the Stars to the outside. Although only the 3M line was above 50% CF, only the third line was below 50% SCF by one scoring chance. On top of that, no line allowed more than one high danger scoring chance against, while the Dube line was on the ice for three high danger chances for.
In the final analysis, the Flames played an excellent, tight checking game. They allowed only three high danger chances all game, none of which were on the man advantage. The Flames’ defencemen kept most of the chances to the outside, and were otherwise sound defensively. If they can continue to play this way throughout the series, they will give themselves an excellent chance to win.
The Gaud, the Bad, and the Beautiful
Good: A quietly excellent game by the Flames defencemen. A goal from Andersson, three collective assists, and strong play at both ends of the ice made the difference for the Flames
Bad: The Flames allowed two quick ugly goals in the second. Making clean outlet passes, and keeping lanes clear for Talbot to see would help.
Beautiful: Dillon Dube and his eyebrows were just incredible all game long. An awesome effort.
Opponent: Dallas Stars
Standings: 3rd in the Central
Regular Season Series: 2-1-0
Photo by: Dave Sandford/ Getty Images
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