The Dallas Stars lost 3-1 to the Calgary Flames in game 5 of the first-round series. The Flames now lead the series 3-2 as it heads back to Dallas.
Stars Offense Has Left the Building
The Stars are in serious trouble. Not only are they on the brink of elimination in a 3-2 series heading into Game 6 but they have completely lost their offense throughout this entire postseason. Through five games, the Stars have scored 0-1 goals in four of them, excluding an empty-net goal in Game 2. They have scored zero, one, three, one, and one. That is nowhere near good enough to win in the playoffs and they are probably lucky to even have two wins in the series.
“We didn’t handle the puck well to give us the opportunity to spend time in their zone,” Rick Bowness said. “When you get in that third, you want to manage the puck and spend some time in their zone and we didn’t do that.”
The Stars finished the night with only 21 shots, despite three power-play chances. After going 0-3 on Wednesday, Dallas is now 2-20 (10%) with the man advantage in the series. To put that into perspective, that would rank them dead last in the league during the regular season. After sitting in the top 10 for most of the year and scoring seemingly every game, this issue remains a mystery.
“Our power play is getting outworked,” Bowness said. “Their penalty killers had two shots, our power play had two shots. It’s as simple as that.”
Flames Dominate Third Period
The Stars were in control of this game through two periods. They had a 1-0 lead and were completely smothering the Flames attack, playing Dallas Stars hockey. The third period began the same way and all looked well until the Flames started opening up a bit and creating a little more offense. Then, at the 6:49 mark, Mikael Backlund got Calgary on the board, ending a home shutout streak that had been on them since the first period of Game 1. Just minutes later, Andrew Mangiapane ripped a wrister past Jake Oettinger after a poor play in the neutral zone by Dallas and the Flames had a 2-1 lead that they would not relinquish.
“They came at us hard and made two good plays,” Jamie Benn said. “We tried to get some energy going, get some forecheck shifts going, but they came at us hard and we need to learn from it. We did a pretty good job for 40 minutes but this game is 60 minutes.”
Other than a broken play in front of the Flames net, the Stars did not threaten to tie the game. They looked like the sloppy version of themselves that lacked intensity in Game 4 and Calgary easily halted their efforts before eventually slamming the door shut with an empty-net goal. Like in Game 4, the Stars collapsed in the third period, and now those collapses have put them within one loss of the end of their season.
“We have to find a way to play 60 minutes the way we have been playing 40 minutes,” Roope Hintz said.
Dallas Remains Confident
The Stars are a very calm team, or at least on the surface. They do not panic when things go wrong and they are normally very good at responding to adversity. That is exactly what they will need to do on Friday if they want to keep their season alive and give themselves a chance at a Game 7.
“We’re going to look at some stuff from this game, get ready for the next game, and it’s not over yet,” Hintz said.”
The Stars are 1-1 at home and 1-2 on the road in the series. In order for them to move on to the next round, they will need to win back-to-back games for the second time, and scoring more than one goal is likely the first step to doing just that. They have trailed in series before and come back to win them, but trailing 2-1 is a different animal than 3-2. In the history of the NHL, only 20% of teams trailing heading into Game 6 win the series. Can the Stars defy the odds once again and put the pressure on the Flames in Alberta? First, they need to win Game 6 at home and that is exactly where their focus lies.
He Said It
“We’ve got to win one game,” Bowness said. “We will reboot it and reset it for Friday night.”
Sam’s Three Stars
- Third Star: Jake Oettinger, DAL (24 saves on 26 shots)
- Second Star: Mikael Backlund, CGY (1 goal, 1 assist, +3)
- First Star: Andrew Mangiapane, CGY (game-winning goal, 1 assist)
Sam Nestler is a credentialed Dallas Stars contributor for the ‘The Hockey Writers’. Growing up in New Jersey, Sam has been playing hockey since he was 7 years old. Developing a love for writing in college, Sam uses his hockey knowledge to create analyses and articles on every aspect of the game. Sam also hosts his own podcast on Spotify, the “Slapshot Sammy’ podcast, breaking down action across the Stars, the NHL, and college hockey. Check out the podcast here, and give his latest article a read!