Three Major Factors in the Stars’ Collapse Against Flames

DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 01: Calgary Flames goaltender Dan Vladar (80) blocks a shot against Dallas Stars center Joe Pavelski (16) as Calgary Flames defenseman Oliver Kylington (58) tries to defend during the game between the Dallas Stars and the Calgary Flames on February 1, 2022 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Dallas Stars blew a two-goal lead in the third period against the Calgary Flames, losing 4-3 in regulation. This game was crazy from the jump, as the Stars and Flames traded scoring chance after scoring chance in the first period. While the Flames struck first, the Stars exited the period with a 2-1 lead. Before the dam burst, Jamie Benn added to the lead in the second period. Then Calgary scored three unanswered goals in the third period. Here are the three major factors in the Stars’ collapse against the Flames.

No Forecheck From the Forewards

Though the first goal was scored inside the two-minute mark in the first period, both the Stars and Flames had plenty of dangerous chances. Both teams played wide-open hockey, with many rushes from either side of the ice. The Stars’ forwards gave way too much time for the Flames to set up their offense in the neutral zone. The forecheck, in general, got burned by pinching in to keep a puck out of their zone. This very aggressive strategy could leave your defense without solid protection, and it factored into the Flames scoring the first goal.

Three Stars forwards got caught in the neutral zone as the Flames controlled the puck. Milan Lucic entered the zone and was checked into the boards by Jani Hakanpaa. With Hakanpaa dishing the check, he left Joel Hanley alone for a two-on-one. Adam Ruzicka curled his pass past Hanley, finding Trevor Lewis, who scored on Jake Oettinger. These two-on-ones and odd-man rushes happened multiple times in the first period, but Oettinger was able to snuff them all out. In the third period, the Stars would eventually run out of gas and cost them the game.

“I thought we were lucky to be up 3-1.” Coach Rick Bowness said after the game. “Everything we did so well against Boston, in terms of managing the puck and getting above and crowding them, we did the complete opposite tonight. The other team picked up the intensity, and we didn’t.”

Leaned Too Much on Oettinger

The Stars were outshot 17-5 in the third period, spending most of the time in their own zone. Oettinger made 36 saves, the second-highest of his career. The Stars let too much happen in the defensive zone for Oettinger to get a fair shake. The defense left him out to dry on all of his goals against.

Lewis’ goal in the first was off of a two-on-one, as was the game-winning goal from Oliver Kylington. The Stars were too far into the offensive zone when the Flames got the puck. Calgary broke out of the zone with a three-on-one and easily evaded Ryan Suter on the path to Oettinger. Oettinger had no chance of stopping either goal. Kylington’s goal was scored with 1:47 left in the third.

The other two Flames goals were sent in on rebounds off of Oettinger. Andrew Mangiapane scored when Oettinger fully committed to a save on the opposite side of the net. Although there were two Dallas defenders on Mangiapane, he effortlessly scored on an empty side of the net. Johnny Gaudreau’s goal came within a minute of Mangiapane’s and tied the game with 4:47 left. Matthew Tkachuk tried to sneak a wraparound shot which Oettinger saved. The rebound was corralled by Gaudreau, who scored with Oettinger out of position.

Lost Their Mojo in the Third

The Stars held on for as long as they could but completely deflated around the six-minute mark of the third period. Stars were continuously stuck in their own zone and struggled to get clean line changes. They committed 21 turnovers to Calgary’s 12 and went 0-3 on the power-play. The Stars had a chance to regain the lead when Kylington was called for holding on Luke Glendening. The power-play couldn’t get anything going, as the momentum was fully leaning towards the Flames at that point. After Kylington left the penalty box, the Stars were pinched too far in the Offensive zone, setting up what would be the game-winning goal.

Reflecting on the first and second periods, the Stars weren’t dominant, but they converted their chances. Joel Hanley scored his first NHL regular-season goal when his shot was blocked, and it fluttered through Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom. His goal tied the game about three minutes after the Flames had scored.

“It was definitely nice. Something I’ve always wanted to do,” Hanley said. “Just nice to contribute offensively. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the win. It would have felt a lot better if we could get the win.”

Jason Robertson also scored in the first for his 17th of the season. Roberston ripped a shot from the slot that went up high on Markstrom. Jamie Benn out-deked Markstrom with 8:40 left in the second to make the score 3-1. The Stars then blew that lead towards the end of the third period.

“We wanted to keep forechecking, keep taking away the turnovers, but the results showed what happened,” Robertson said. Other than our turnovers, it was okay, but you can’t make those turnovers, then they get a lot of momentum going.”

What’s Next?

The Stars will take an eight-day break for All-Star week. Dallas will face the Nashville Predators on February 9, the third game of a five-game homestand. Going into the break, they sit at 23-18-2. They are fifth in the Central Division and two points out of the second Wild Card spot.

Here are some of my more recent articles:

Grading the Dallas Stars Over Their Last Four Games

Stars Get Blown Out By Caps After Honoring Sergei Zubov

Three Biggest Moments in The Stars Win Over Red Wings

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