Stars Rally to Clinch Series Over Flames

the Calgary Flames during the second period of Game Six of the Western Conference First Round of the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on August 20, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta.
Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Denis Gurianov and the Dallas Stars pulled off quite a trick, turning a big early deficit into a lopsided series-clinching victory.

Gurianov scored four goals, including a hat trick in the second period while also assisting on the go-ahead score, and Dallas rallied from a three-goal deficit to a 7-3 win over the Calgary Flames on Thursday night to wrap up the first-round playoff series in six games.

The Stars, with their most goals in a playoff game since moving to Dallas, became the first team in NHL playoff history to go from a three-goal deficit to a four-goal lead. They were down 3-0 only about 6 1/2 minutes into the game before the they even had a shot on a goal and called a timeout.

“It was one of those moments where I think everyone understood it was, we haven’t played our game. We’re seeing their best game,” Joe Pavelski said. “It was a good timeout as far as catch your breath let’s try to get back to our game then.”

Gurianov, whose five points tied a Stars playoff record, had two goals in the first 3:25 of the second period to tie the game at 3, before his helper on Radek Faksa’s power play goal about 2 1/2 minutes later pushed the Stars ahead to stay. It was 6-3 after Gurianov’s next goal capped their five-goal second period, and he scored on a rebound midway through the third period.

Miro Heiskanen had a power play goal midway through the first period and later had three assists for the Stars in only the sixth playoff game in NHL history where both teams had a three-goal lead. Pavelski had a goal and two assists after his hat trick in Game 4 of this series, which was the first for the franchise since moving to Dallas before the 1993-94 season.

“That power play goal was enormous for us. It kind of stopped their push,” Pavelski said. “And a huge second (period).”

Stars goalie Anton Khudobin stopped the last 34 shots he faced after giving up three goals in Calgary’s first seven shots and interim head coach Rick Bowness called a timeout.

The Stars, the third seed in the Western Conference, will play Colorado in the second round. It is the first time they have won playoff series in consecutive seasons since a four-year stretch from 1998-2001 that included their only Stanley Cup championship in 1999.

The Flames, who won their best-of-five qualifying round series in four games against Winnipeg, have gotten past the conference quarterfinals only once (2015) in their eight playoff appearance since losing to Tampa Bay in Game 7 of the 2004 Stanley Cup Final.

“I personally feel empty. You wonder what happened,” Flames center Mikael Backlund. “Things just turned so quickly. We just couldn’t stop the bleeding. It happened so quick. It’s hard right now.”

A turnover by Pavelski led to the first goal by the Flames when TJ Brodie’s shot was deflected by Andrew Mangiapane’s stick that was parallel to the ice. It was 2-0 when Johnny Gaudreau scored with a shot from an awkward angle from behind the net with the puck ricocheting off the Khudobin’s skate and into the net. It was 3-0 after their seventh shot, with Rasmus Andersson scoring on an odd-man rush.

Heiskanen got the Stars on the board after a game-changing penalty against Milan Lucic for goal interference.

“Did it affect the rest of the game? I don’t know if I can say that,” interim coach Geoff Ward said. “I think to sit there and try to find where this went wrong or that went wrong, I’m not going to speculate on things that way.”

Another penalty by Lucic, for delay of game after knocking the puck over the glass, led to Faksa’s go-ahead goal.

The Flames pulled Cam Talbot after Gurianov scored with a deflection through the goalie’s legs. David Rittich allowed three goals in nine shots the rest of the second period before Talbot returned for the third period.

Ward had planned to get Talbot out briefly to allow him to refocus, but the goalie then needed to get some equipment fixed after coming off the ice.

“It’s probably an unfair spot to bring Ritter into with how little he’s played since returning. Tal’s has been awesome for us throughout the playoffs. The goals were a little bit unfortunate,” Ward said. “’I just felt like we needed to change momentum and that was the initial thought on how to do it. It ended up being longer.”

NOTES: Heiskanen has 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in the playoffs, second only to Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon’s 13 (four goals, nine assists). ... Pavelski’s 54 career playoffs goals are the fifth most among active players. ... Calgary was again without Matthew Tkachuk, who never returned after leaving late in Game 2 when he banged his head between two Stars. ... Dallas won all four regular-season games against Colorado.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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