Dallas Stars First Round Playoff Reactions: Game Three

DALLAS, TX - MAY 07: The Dallas Stars celebrate a goal scored during game 3 of the first round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Calgary Flames and the Dallas Stars on May 7, 2022, at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX. (Photo by Steve Nurenberg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Dallas Stars outmuscled and outscored the Calgary Flames en route to a 4-2 win in Game Three of their first-round matchup. Dallas is starting to tilt the series as they subdued Calgary’s aggressive forecheck and high-powered offense. Joe Pavelski scored twice, while Radek Faska and Roope Hintz also netted goals. Despite the few blemishes Dallas had in Game Three, the Stars seem to have a handle on the Flames’ current strategy. Here are the reactions to Game Three.

The Good

This series has by far the fewest goals scored between both teams. Watching teams like the Penguins and Rangers taking turns blowing each other out is fine, but the Stars and Flames series has a different tone. The matchup has been more traditional, with experienced coaches Darryl Sutter and Rick Bowness facing off against each other. The more physical and defensive-sided play has caused fewer goals through the first two games.

However, in Game Three, Bowness and the Stars gained an edge over Sutter and the Flames. Matthew Tkachuk and Rasmus Andersson continued to target John Klingberg, as they did earlier in the series. The Stars’ response made the difference. Klingberg and Micheal Raffl tried to fight anybody in their way. Dallas has also been more aggressive in the after-whistle scrums.

While the Stars used that momentum in Game Two to pick up a win, Game Three was no different. The Flames looked tied and outmatched, plus a few scary moments where Andersson and Andrew Mangiapane took heavy hits and was shaken after the play. Calgary will have to re-adjust the strategy for the next game in Dallas. There have been 45 penalties and 124 penalty minutes combined in the three games.

Joe Pavelski scored twice in Game Three to tie and give the Stars the lead. Pavelski’s first goal came with 8:19 remaining in the second period. Pavelski beat Calle Jarnkrok in front of the net before banking a Miro Heiskanen rebound past Jacob Markstrom. His powerplay goal came at 10:05 into the third period and gave the Stars the lead for good. Pavelski scored his first goal of the playoff during Game Two on Thursday.

The Bad

Although Roope Hintz netted an empty-net goal to ice the game, he was abysmal in the faceoff dot. Hintz went 1-9 on faceoffs and didn’t show much when on the ice. Hintz skated for 21 minutes during Game Three, his highest of the series. The Stars need more out of the 25-year-old former second-round pick from Finland. Joel Kiviranta, Denis Gurianov, and Marian Studenic had less than ten minutes of ice time in Game Three, paving the way for Hintz, Pavelski, and Jason Robertson to lead the team in ice time.

The Stars, again, tied the Flames in penalty minutes. Eight of the total nineteen penalty minutes were offsetting calls that caused the game to go four-on-four. The Stars continue to take penalties in pile-ups, usually instigated by the Flames. Despite coming away with Games Two and Three, Calgary has the faster team, and four-on-four hockey gives an advantage to them. Neither team is yet to score on one of these four-on-four moments, but Calgary would favor the extra open ice.

Tips for Game Four

Stay out of the penalty box. Although the Flames’ powerplay is 1 for 12 in the series, it doesn’t mean it isn’t threatening. How often do the broadcast announcers need to remind us that Johnny Gaudreau placed second behind Connor McDavid in goals scored? In one of these games, the Flames will find the back of the net. The Stars need to force them to do it the hard way, at full strength.

Crash the Net. Jacob Markstrom didn’t have his best game on Saturday, and he was giving up juicy rebound after juicy rebound. If Dallas’ mentality were to crash the net, the Stars would’ve had more goals in Game Three. Pavelski scored both his goals close to the net and off rebounds. I would love to see Robertson and a mid-liner, maybe Raffl or Glendening, score in-close to Markstrom in Game Four.

Don’t let Calgary breathe. As we pass the midway point of the series, the Stars have been great defensively, especially against a team like Calgary. However, Game Four and beyond is the dog days where fatigue sets in and opposing pressure to tie the series. The Stars will need to maintain a strong forecheck and avoid sloppy in the neutral and defensive zones.

Game Four will be in Dallas on Monday at 9:30 EST.

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