DALLAS — When there seems a hole too big to climb for the Dallas Stars, it almost seems like a challenge fo them more than a reality that they have not been playing their best hockey before some of the stirring comebacks they have completed during the season. Somehow, the Stars were just one tally away from pulling off their biggest rabbit-out-of-a-top-hat trick, a five-goal deficit with just 21 minutes of regulation time to go.
From sailing on easy street, the Calgary Flames were pulled into the alternate universe where time stands still and the Stars go from beaten hockey players to world beaters. Somehow, the Flames did just enough to transport themselves back into reality, and did so with two points in hand.
Nazem Kadri, Rasmus Andersson and Chris Tanev each had a goal and an assist as the Flames opened up a 6-1 lead late in the second period before holding on to dear life in defeating the Dallas Stars 6-5 at American Airlines Center on Saturday evening. Dan Vladar made 29 saves for the Flames, holding out just long enough against the onslaught thrown at him from the Stars in the last two period to allow Calgary to win its second straight.
Calgary looked to be home and dry after Tanev’s unassisted goal with 2:03 remaining in the second period gave the Flames a 6-1 lead. But when Tyler Seguin scored with 46 seconds left before the end of the period, the Stars turned what appeared to be a window-dressing goal into one that was the catalyst of yet another third-period comeback for Dallas.
“We talked a lot about that Dallas is good at home, and we wanted to have a good first period and make sure we did things right,” Calgary coach Darryl Sutter said. “We did that. A really good first period and we had momentum all the way through the second. We lost [Jason] Robertson late, and he feeds Seguin, and they make it the 6-2 goal. They got the momentum, and that comes into the third.”
Joe Pavelski scored back-to-back goals in the third period, at the 7:19 and 12:54 marks, to cut the Flames four-goal lead in half before Collin Miller scored from the blue line with 4:37 remaining to move Dallas to within 6-5.
“We already know we can battle back in games,” Pavelski said. “That’s something this room has established already. There are nights over 82 games [like this], but something you pride yourself on is working. If things go wrong and you’re working, then they go wrong. But our effort, our compete, wasn’t there. We were late to battles and not coming up with pucks, and that’s something that’s on the guys, and we addressed it a little bit better there in the third. But that’s something you pride yourself on first.”
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Saturday evening’s game, with all photos taken by Dallas-area photographer Ross James. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 27 pictures in total.