Stars leave point on table in shootout loss to Flames
DALLAS—On the surface, gaining a point from a 4-3 shootout loss to the Calgary Flames on Friday night at American Airlines Center might construed as a positive by the Dallas Stars.
However, it was the way the Stars, who played as center Rich Peverley was in attendance, dropped that second point that was truly disappointing.
After a scoreless opening period where Dallas had the first seven shots of the game but was then outshot by the Flames 10-2 over the final approximately 12 minutes, the Stars lit the lamp three times in the middle frame compared to one tally by Calgary to lead 3-1 after two.
But in the third, Dallas left the door ajar just enough to give the Flames hope and they cut it first to 3-2 when Paul Byron scored on the power play. And then Michael Cammalleri, who already had one goal in the game, added a second after a shot by teammate TJ Brodie struck him in the leg and he poked in the carom to make it 3-3 with 4:30 remaining in regulation.
Following an overtime period that saw the teams combine for all of one shot, this one headed to the shootout. And in the fourth round, Flames rookie forward Corban Knight ended it, putting a shot through the legs of Stars goaltender Tim Thomas to seal their impressive comeback.
On both goals (in the third period), we got on the wrong side of the man," Stars head coach Lindy Ruff said. "We had some problems defensively. We spent more time in our zone than we needed to. We lost some battles.”
Dallas is now two points clear of Phoenix for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. However, the Coyotes could pull even with the Stars on Saturday night as they host these same Flames in Glendale.
And while it is cliché to say that every point matters, especially at this time of year, that’s exactly how Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon saw Friday’s result.
”Every point's crucial. That's one that got away," Dillon said. "We had a two-goal lead going into the third period in our rink. You can't let that happen. We'll take the one point, but we can't be happy about it.”
Antoine Roussel, Jamie Benn and Erik Cole scored for the Stars in that impressive second-period flurry. But it seemed like Dallas was on auto pilot for much of the third period, seemingly thinking the game was in hand.
However, Calgary is a team that epitomizes never say die, no matter the circumstances. Their grit and determination to pull the game level, force overtime and eventually prevail in the shootout was pretty impressive, especially coming from a team that won’t be in the playoffs this season.
But true to form, the man wearing the "C" for Dallas stepped up and summed up this shootout loss pretty well.
”We stopped playing," Benn said. "This time of year with these points being so valuable, you can't give up a 3-1 lead in the third. We were lucky to get one point. It was a must-win game for us.”
The Stars will hit the road on Saturday in advance of a Sunday matchup in Winnipeg against the Jets. Dallas will also play at Pittsburgh and Philadelphia later in the trip before returning home to host Ottawa on Saturday afternoon.
Still, if there has been one trait that has defined the Stars this season and honestly, there are many, it is their ability to bounce back from a rough showing and sort of atone for their misgivings on the pond. If that holds true, Sunday’s visit to Winnipeg should end in an impressive victory over the Jets.
”We'll be OK," Cole said. "We'll let this one eat on us a little bit, even before we get on the plane to Winnipeg.”