After 82 regular season games, a Pacific Division crown, and a plethora of exceeded expectations, the Calgary Flames officially kick off the postseason tonight against the Dallas Stars. It’s the PAC1 vs WC1 matchup that only was decided during the last possible game of the year (excluding the WPG vs SEA irrelevant show on Sunday).
The Flames enter the season with all of the hype, the betting odds, and postseason predictions in their favour. Of course, this hasn’t necessarily been the best trend for the team in recent years, but somehow this feels much different.
Knowing this team, and their head coach, their vision doesn’t fall far past the next game they are playing. The long-term goal is on their horizon, but the real business starts tonight.
Round 1, Game 1
Dallas Stars @ Calgary Flames
*Note that John Klingberg and Vladislav Namestnikov should be in the lineup for Game 1. Jacob Peterson is expected to draw out for Namestinikov.
Series so far
|Date||Score||CF% (CGY)||xGF% (CGY)||SCF% (CGY)||HDCF% (CGY)||SV% (CGY)||Leading Scorer|
|11/4/21||DAL 4 – CGY 3||57.3%||55.8%||55.9%||64.3%||90.0%||Nikita Zadorov (1G 1A)|
|2/1/22||CGY 4 – DAL 3||64.8%||55.3%||59.6%||50.0%||85.0%||Elias Lindholm (2A)|
|4/21/22||DAL 2 – CGY 4||50.0%||43.4%||43.8%||38.5%||94.7%||Andrew Mangiapane (1G 1A)|
The season series between both teams was interesting to say the least. The Flames won two out of three games, all ending in regulation. The first two games were much closer than the last, but all three were decently high-scoring, high-event games.
The Flames, as they did most of the season, dominated the first two games in the statistical categories. Out-chancing and controlling the puck more than Dallas, the Flames were only able to get one win out of two, which required a third period comeback no one saw coming for Calgary.
The third game however, the Flames didn’t have their best game on the stats sheet, but had outstanding goaltending that gave them the win.
The Flames have a much deeper lineup and have been the more consistent team, but the Stars have a wealth of weapons to use as well. Should be a very high-event series between both top lines, but the Flames have the edge in terms of depth up front and in the crease.
Players to watch
Dallas: Jason Robertson
Jason Robertson is coming off a 40-goal campaign and is truly establishing himself as one of the best young goal scorers in the NHL. With him alongside Joe Pavelski and Roope Hintz, they form one of the most dangerous lines in hockey. The trio can quietly make something out of nothing, with Robertson being their heartbeat.
If the Flames can focus their defensive game on him and take him out of the play early, it should be harder for Dallas to find goals.
Calgary: Johnny Gaudreau
Johnny Gaudreau has to be the most watched player for the Flames to start the series. Not just because he is the most skilled player in the series, but he will be looking to quickly silence the haters that say he cannot produce in the postseason.
Seeing Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews get some monkeys off their backs yesterday was liberating, and you bet Gaudreau will be looking to do the exact same.