It finally happened. After three winless games at home, the Dallas Stars claimed a significant victory against the Calgary Flames last night with a final score of 4-3. The two points earned boosted the Stars in the Conference standings, to a point where consecutive wins may place the team in a formidable playoff spot as the regular season draws to a close.
In unprecedented fashion, the Stars stormed out of the locker room to kick off the game, both outshooting and outscoring the Flames for the entire first period. The Stars were up six shots on goal before Calgary had a chance on Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen. Antoine Roussel had the first opportunity to get the Stars on the board after Dennis Wideman tripped him in his attack of the net. Roussel’s penalty shot went wide of the net and of Calgary backup goalie Joey MacDonald though, but the missed shot didn’t discourage the enlivened Stars. The onslaught of Stars goals started just minutes later, with Erik Cole giving the Stars the first, and ultimately final, lead of the game. Just two and a half minutes later, Eric Nystrom, assisted by Roussel and Lehtonen, put the Stars up 2-0. A scuffle arose after Cody Eakin clashed with Jerome Iginla to launch the first fight of the game. With only two minutes remaining in the period, Loui Ericsson launched a wrist shot at the net, giving the Stars a comfortable three-goal lead headed into the first intermission.
The comfort seemed to get the best of the Stars though, and while players continuously pelted MacDonald with shots, they also got sloppy. Halfway through the second period, Cody Eakin collided with Matt Stajan in the neutral zone, prompting an all-out brawl between the teams. Eakin was called for interference and roughing, with Reilly Smith serving his roughing time. Wideman was also called for roughing after the altercation. Shortly after the Flames went on the man advantage following the scrum, Juri Hudler flipped the puck behind Lehtonen, denying the Stars the shutout.
Just two minutes later, Jordie Benn was called for hooking, and the Flames scored again on the ensuing power play. Jay Bouwmeester slammed a backhanded shot that Lehtonen seemed to miss completely. The Stars three-goal lead had been cut to one as the teams headed to the locker rooms for the second intermission.
The first half of the third period was rather uneventful, with both teams trying to impose their wills up on each other. With eight minutes gone from the final frame, Loui Ericsson gave the Stars a bit of scoring comfort back, picking up a deflected pass from Jamie Benn he then snuck up and behind MacDonald. Only five minutes remained in the game when Calgary’s Alex Tanguay slipped behind the Stars defense and landed a backhanded shot past Lehtonen. The Flames pulled MacDonald with 1:46 remaining in the game, but the Stars wouldn’t let Calgary’s man advantage shake the confidence they had built up during the first period.
Up next for the Stars is the Colorado Avalanche, who currently sits in last place in the Western Conference. The game will begin at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday at the Pepsi Center in Denver. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Southwest Plus.
UPDATE: The Dallas Stars have called up Texas Stars goalie Jack Campbell and reassigned Richard Bachman, yet again, to the Austin-based AHL team. Dallas also placed Ryan Garbutt on injured reserve due to a hand injury and stated the move was retroactive to the March 14 game against the Anaheim Ducks.