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Dallas Stars vs Calgary Flames Series Ends In a Battle of the Goalies

Dallas Stars vs Calgary Flames

After a long-fought battle, the first-round series of the Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Dallas Stars vs Calgary Flames has concluded. The Flames took the series and will be moving on to the second round. Despite all odds, the Dallas Stars pushed the series to seven games, where the winner was decided in overtime. Most analysts counted the Stars out before game six, writing the biggest underdog story of the playoffs. Though the Flames were the favourite, this series played out to be the most evenly played series of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Dallas Stars vs Calgary Flames Goes the Distance

Top Lines of this Series

The Dallas Stars vs Calgary Flames series got to see two of the best top lines in the National Hockey League go head to head. The Stars top line consisted of Jason Robertson, Joe Pavelski, and Roope Hintz. The Flames top line consisted of Elias Lindholm, Johnny Gaudreau, and Matthew Tkachuk. During the regular season, the Stars top line produced 105 goals and 232 points in 72 games together. The Flames top line recorded 124 goals and 301 points in 82 games together during the regular season.

Both lines scored six goals each in the series, which is almost half of the goals scored by each team. Pavelski, who had a career-high year, scored three goals during the series, two of them in one game. Pavelski and Robertson are two of three players to have three assists during the series, which is a team-high. Hintz, who was out for Game 7 due to an upper-body injury, scored two goals and two assists during the series.

Gaudreau, who scored the game-winning goal in overtime in Game 7, recorded two goals during the series. He also had the series high in assists, recording six in seven games. Tkachuk follows with the second-highest, tallying five assists and just one goal. Lindholm, a Selke award contender, gave the Stars trouble early on in the series, scoring three goals in the first four games.

Notable Players

Both Dallas and Calgary have a roster full of elite players, but it never fails the playoffs bring out something special in players that you least suspect. For the Stars, that player was Michael Raffl. Raffl, who only recorded seven goals this season, scored two goals during the seven-game series. He stepped up in every way imaginable; moving lines in multiple games, holding down the penalty kill, and creating scoring chances. He even squared up with Tkachuk, dropping the gloves in Game 1, something he did not do in the regular season.

The Dallas Stars second honourable mention is Miro Heiskanen. Heiskanen, who had a career-high in points during the regular season is no subtle player. Arguably one of the best defencemen in the league, he turned it up even more in this playoff series. He averaged 25:41 minutes of ice-time in seven games and recorded 33:07 minutes during Game 7 which went into overtime. Not only did Heiskanen play elite defence all series, but he also recorded the game-winning goal in Game 6, saving the Stars from elimination.

For Calgary, Mikael Backlund stepped up and scored a fifth of Calgary’s total goals in the series. Though he only has 12 goals on the season, Backlund put up three goals in the seven games against Dallas. He spent a good portion of the season on the second line, who, in total, put up 63 goals in 52 games played together. His biggest feat in the series was finding a way to beat the wall that was the Dallas Stars goalie multiple times. He tied Lindholm and Pavelski for most goals scored in the series.

Battle of the Goalies

There won’t be a better duel between goalies in this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. Both Jake Oettinger and Jacob Markstrom played some of the best playoff hockey seen in years by goalies. In the lowest-scoring series of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, these goalies held almost identical numbers throughout seven games. Each team only scored 14 goals, until the Game 7 overtime goal, which gave Calgary the 15th goal in the series. Both goalies also recorded a shutout in the series.

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Calgary Flames head coach, Darryl Sutter, referred to Oettinger as “the best player in the series.” Oettinger finished the series with a goals-against-average of 1.81 and a save percentage of .954%. Averaging about 40 shots on goal a game, the 23-year-old goalie faced 287 shots on goal, stopping 272 of them. He breaks the franchise record for most saves in a Game 7, with 64 saves. Without a doubt, Oettinger kept the Dallas Stars in a series that was very tilted before it started.

Markstrom, a Vezina Trophy finalist for this season, had a notable season, leading the league in shutouts with nine. The 32-year-old goalie finished the series with a goals-against-average of 1.53 and a save percentage of .943%. He broke the franchise record of the highest save percentage in a playoff series, beating the previous record that was set in 2007. He also broke the franchise record for the lowest goals against average in a playoff series. Unlike the high numbers that Oettinger faced, Markstrom faced 192 shots on goal in seven games, stopping 178 of them. Markstrom also recorded an assist during Game 7. He is the first goalie since Ben Bishop in 2015 to record an assist in Game 7.

A Series for the Books

The Calgary Flames might have walked away with this series, but the Dallas Stars did not go down in the fashion that was expected by players, analysts, and fans around the league. For a team that barely scraped up enough points to clinch a Wild Card spot, to missing the second round by one goal, the Stars did not make it easy on the Flames. The Flames now move onto the second round where they will face the Edmonton Oilers in the Battle for Alberta that starts this week.

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