The Calgary Flames came into Game 5 of their first round series with the Dallas Stars looking for a big game to regain momentum (and the series lead). That isn’t what they got, as they never had a lead en route to a tight-checking 2-1 loss to Dallas.

The Stars lead the best-of-seven series 3-2.

The Rundown

The Flames were rough in the opening 20 minutes, flailing around on several attempted zone exits and spending tons of time scrambling in their own zone. But special teams is what tilted things early on.

As a four-on-four sequence expired, the Flames turned over the puck in the offensive zone leaving TJ Brodie defending a two-on-one. Tyler Seguin fed a streaking Jamie Benn for a redirect past Cam Talbot to make it 1-0 Stars. The goal was, technically, a shorthanded goal for Dallas. Dillon Dube rushed back to help defend, but he couldn’t get between Benn and the puck.

But the Flames got a late goal to draw even. Mikael Backlund made a great individual effort, waiting for traffic to stack in front of Anton Khudobin. His low shot from the high slot found its way through to knot the game at 1-1.

Shots were 14-7 Stars and scoring chances 11-5 Stars in the second period. High-danger chances were 5-2 Stars.

Neither team scored in the second period, but the Flames seemed like they had woken up during the first intermission as they were more engaged and active. But they couldn’t generate a ton of high-octane chances, as Dallas defended well.

Shots were 12-7 Stars and scoring chances 12-8 Stars. (High-danger chances were even at 3-3.)

Dallas retook the lead early in the third period. Mattias Janmark drove towards the front of the net, then passed to the point. That left plenty of bodies in front as John Klingberg uncorked a shot. Talbot wasn’t screened, but seemed tricked by the shot and it beat him high glove-side to make it 2-1 Stars.

For the rest of the game, the Stars were content just to clog up the middle of the ice and make the Flames run around trying to generate chances. It wasn’t enough and they held on for the 2-1 victory over the Flames.

Shots were 15-6 Flames and scoring chances 6-3 in the third period.

Why the Flames Lost

The old phrase goes “the devil is in the details.” The Flames were lacking in Game 5. Pucks missed the net. Passes out of the defensive zone and through the neutral zone frequently missed their intended recipient, or were turned over to the Stars. Minor details in defensive positioning snowballed and allowed Dallas some great scoring chances.

And the special teams, which have been so good for the Flames, were not. They had 4:41 in first period power plays. They generated zero shots on net and allowed a Dallas shorthanded goal.

The Flames hustled, especially in the second and third periods, but their details were lacking and as a result they’re one loss away from their off-season.

Red Warrior

Backlund had the lone Flames goal, so let’s give him the nod. But Sam Bennett was also quite noticeable and Talbot did his best to keep the Flames in it.

The Turning Point

The Flames got scored on 72 seconds into the third period, before they could really get their feet under them. They chased for the remainder of regulation and Dallas was able to hang back and defend.

The Numbers

Data via Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5v5.

Backlund 64.6 36.4 1.520
Lucic 61.3 60.0 0.360
Mangiapane 60.9 36.4 0.550
Andersson 59.7 66.7 0.525
Dube 58.8 60.0 0.625
Bennett 55.9 60.0 0.575
Hanifin 54.2 61.5 0.400
Gaudreau 50.0 87.5 0.200
Rieder 50.0 50.0 0.075
Gustafsson 48.4 62.5 0.300
Lindholm 48.0 57.1 0.270
Giordano 47.4 28.6 0.025
Monahan 44.7 87.5 -0.150
Brodie 37.1 45.5 -0.300
Rinaldo 33.3 50.0 -0.300
Ryan 31.6 33.3 -0.340
Forbort 31.3 50.0 -0.300
Quine 28.0 50.0 -0.390
Talbot 1.200

This and That

Tobias Rieder and Elias Lindholm swapped spots to open the second period. It seemed to have the desired result, as the first line was suddenly noticeable.

The Flames had zero high-danger scoring chances in the third period.

Up Next

Dallas leads this best-of-seven series 2-1. Game 6 goes Thursday in Edmonton. The start time will depend on whether Vegas and Chicago go to Game 6 in their series.