The Dallas Stars play their final road game of the regular season Thursday against the Calgary Flames on the second night of a back-to-back.
Stars Trying to Salvage Something on Trip
The Stars are in the middle of a dismal road trip. They watched the Vancouver Canucks swarm them 6-2 on Monday night in a game where they were completely overwhelmed. Then, they chased the high-flying Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday after falling behind 2-0 early in the first, eventually dropping that one 5-2. With the playoffs on the line for a team that is supposed to be playing the best hockey at the most important time, this trip so far has been alarming. The two losses dropped them to .500 on the road with a 19-19-2 record on the season.
“Short memory,” Raffl said. “Forget about this one.”
On top of falling in three of their last four games, they have also sprung a leak in their own end. Dallas allowed 50 shots and five goals against Edmonton and six goals in Vancouver. They have also lost their last two overtime games after dominating in that stat all season long. So, you can say that they have picked a very poor time to struggle in all of the important areas.
“We’ve got to get our team game back.,” Bowness said. “We will. We’ll get it back. I have full faith in this group.”
Dallas Can Set Themselves up Nicely
The Stars are still in a decent spot in their playoff push. After their loss last night and a Vegas overtime victory, they have a two-point cushion with one game in hand on the Golden Knights. This game in Calgary, however, is very important. Not only do they want to end this two-game skid and restore some of their confidence and structure, but they also come home to play the final four games at home next week. If they can secure two points against the Flames, they put themselves in a very nice spot down the stretch.
“The playoffs already started for us,” Stars forward Radek Faksa said. “Obviously, it’s disappointing because every game is huge for us. I would say defensively, we have to tighten up and be stronger around the net, especially. Block shots and do everything to keep it out of the net. Sometimes, you’ll get scored against, but you have to find ways to keep the puck out of the net.”
Flames Scouting Report
Calgary has had themselves a very good year. They sit safely atop the Pacific Division with 104 points and are on a 7-2-1 streak heading into tonight. The biggest secret to their success? Jacob Markstrom. After having some success in Vancouver, the 32-year-old netminder came to Calgary last season and has found his game during the 2021-22 season. In 61 starts (4th in the NHL), he has a 36-15-8 record with a solid .923 save percentage and a 2.21 goals-against average.
On the other side of the ice, the Flames are no joke either. 5-foot-9 Johnny Gaudreau leads the way with 38 goals and 108 points and Matthew Tkachuk sits just behind and only one point shy of the century mark with 39 goals and 99 points on the season. For Calgary as a team, they are coming off a shootout loss to the Nashville Predators, a matchup that will likely take place in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In tonight’s tilt, they will approach it the same way they have playing Nashville, Vegas, and other teams chasing a playoff spot.
“We had this pretty exact same game against Vegas, playing a desperate team coming in,” Tkachuk said. “We obviously know what happened there and we were not happy with that at all, so we should be the desperate team tonight. We’ve got a lot to play for – still. That should be our motivation.”
- Jake Oettinger will start tonight for the third time in the last four games
- Rick Bowness said there will be other lineup changes tonight but did not disclose any specifics
He Said It
“I’d say just the basics, we need to be better at everything, in all things,” Esa Lindell said last night.”
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!