The Calgary Flames spent much of Game 3 in their own zone, defending. But between a combination of eliminating juicy second chances, strong goaltending by Cam Talbot, and Dallas lacking puck luck, it didn’t really hurt them. The Flames rode hot goaltending and timely goals to a 2-0 victory in Game 3.

They lead their best-of-seven first round series 2-1.

The Rundown

The first period was tight-checking and nobody scored. But Dallas had a couple great chances early on, as Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov did everything but score.

Shots were 11-8 Flames and scoring chances 6-5 Flames in the first period.

The second period was weird. On one hand, the Flames spent most of the time in their own zone defending. But Dallas didn’t generate a ton of grade-A, super-duper chances.

The Flames got on the board first shorthanded off a great individual effort by Mikael Backlund, jumping on a loose puck in the neutral zone and putting the puck on net. (Elias Lindholm may or may not have poked it over the goal line.) That made it 1-0 Flames.

Shots were 16-4 Stars and scoring chances were 18-0 Stars in the second, but high-danger chances were “only” 5-0 for Dallas.

The Flames continued to defend in the third period. Midway through the frame, a TJ Brodie point shot found a way through and gave them a bit of insurance by inflating their lead to 2-0. Derek Ryan was pushed into Anton Khudobin after the puck went in and Dallas declined to challenge the goal.

The Flames held on for the 2-0 victory. Shots were 11-8 Stars and scoring chances 4-2 Stars in the third period.

Why the Flames Won

Let’s get the mean stuff out of the way first: the Flames were out-played but not out-worked. By that I mean, they did a lot of stuff but their execution super sloppy. Case in point? Basically all of their puck management on attempted defensive zone exits – tons of turnovers, tons of missed passes and general ugliness.

But they did enough defensively to eliminate the 10-bell chances and Talbot was simply superb in net. He made first chances, they scrambled around to eliminate second chances, and Dallas simply couldn’t bury a damn thing all evening.

The Flames’ defensive zone strategy resembled Homer’s boxing strategy in the classic Simpsons episode “The Homer They Fall.” But it was enough to grind out a win.

Red Warrior

Talbot. He was the best Flame by a country mile.

The Turning Point

Backlund’s shortie gave the Flames a lead that they never gave up.

But this moment in the third period really summed the whole evening up for the Stars.

The Numbers

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

Rieder 50.0 75.0 0.000
Forbort 47.4 42.9 0.000
Gustafsson 47.4 33.3 0.275
Backlund 45.5 50.0 0.880
Ryan 44.4 40.0 0.100
Mangiapane 41.7 50.0 -0.150
Quine 33.3 60.0 0.790
Lindholm 33.3 55.6 0.545
Giordano 33.3 57.1 0.700
Brodie 33.3 62.5 0.425
Rinaldo 33.3 60.0 -0.150
Gaudreau 29.6 55.6 -0.250
Monahan 28.6 55.6 -0.245
Dube 25.0 66.7 -0.435
Lucic 25.0 25.0 -0.605
Hanifin 25.0 45.5 -0.775
Andersson 21.6 45.5 -0.950
Bennett 20.0 22.2 -0.510
Talbot 3.500

This and That

Blake Comeau broke some glass near the Dallas bench with 38 seconds left in the second period, so it was tacked onto the third period (and gave Dallas fresh ice for a power play).

The Flames are now 28-1-3 when leading after 40 minutes in 2019-20 (between regular season and post-season play), including 5-0 in the post-season.

Up Next

The Flames lead their best-of-seven series 2-1. Game 4 goes Sunday afternoon in Edmonton. Puck drop is just after noon MT on CBC and Sportsnet.