Curtis Glencross got the winning tally in the shootout as the Flames completed a sweep of the season series with the Dallas Stars with a 4-3 win at American Airlines Center on Wednesday night. However, the Flames allowed the Stars to go home with a point after leading 3-0 late in the first period.
Flames coach Brent Sutter wasn't worried about giving up a point -- not when his team went home with two.
"The end result was what we wanted," Sutter said. "We had a good start to the game, got off our game in the second. They kept coming and didn't quit."
Dallas overcame an early 3-0 deficit and stormed the Flames' zone in the third period and overtime. But after Calgary's Alex Tanguay scored in the first round of the shootout and Mike Ribeiro tied it for Dallas in the first half of the third round, Glencross ripped a 15-foot wrister past Kari Lehtonen for the winner.
"I watched the first couple from the bench," Glencross said. "He [Lehtonen] dropped low on Tangs and left the glove wide open. The second one, he kind of stood up a little more. The third one, he stood right up on me and took everything high. So I had to change my game plan and go somewhere else. It worked out for me."
The win gives Calgary 81 points and sole possession of fifth place in the West. Dallas, which started the night even with the Flames, is sixth with 80 and 5-0-2 in its last seven games.
Getting a point after being down three goals left Dallas coach Marc Crawford not unhappy.
"It's a positive point, given that we came back from a three-goal deficit, it's not often that you do that," Crawford said. "We had a glorious opportunity to win it in overtime, and lost in a shootout, so you can't be disappointed by it. At this point, it's about getting all the points you can get, and tonight we managed to find a way to get one."
The Stars had hoped for a boost from the return of All-Star center Brad Richards, who returned after missing 10 games with concussion-like symptoms. Instead, the Flames scored three times in a 3:15 span of the first period to grab the lead.
Rene Bourque opened the scoring by beating Lehtonen from the left circle at 10:26 for his 16th of the season. Tom Kostopoulos made it 2-0 at 11:28 by knocking in a rebound for his sixth, and defenseman Anton Babchuk's unassisted goal, a shot off Lehtonen's glove after he intercepted a clearing pass at the right point, made it 3-0 at 13:41.
Lehtonen kept the damage from being worse when he stopped Tanguay's shorthanded breakaway late in the period, and Dallas got on the board with 1:32 remaining when Jamie Benn scored a power-play goal. Kiprusoff stopped his original shot, but Steve Ott collected the rebound and fed Benn, who scored his 18th of the season. He has goals in five consecutive games.
The Stars cut it to 3-2 at 5:12 of the second period when Jeff Woywitka found Ribeiro, who beat Kiprusoff high to the glove side from the slot for his 14th of the season.
"We were sluggish in the second period," Tanguay said. "But we knew it would be tight. We were happy with the position we were in after two periods."
Rookie Tomas Vincour capped the comeback by scoring his first NHL goal at 5:39 of the third period. Vincour got the puck behind the net from Toby Petersen, then skated into the left circle before beating Kiprusoff high to the far side from a bad angle.
"It was nice to see our rookie get his first goal," Crawford said. "It came at an opportune time and hopefully that bodes well for us. Hopefully now he plays with a little more confidence."
The Stars had a chance to win in regulation after Calgary's Cory Sarich took a boarding penalty with 2:28 left. Dallas had several quality chances on the power play as Alex Goligoski was denied at close range by Kiprusoff and another attempt by Loui Eriksson sailed high.
Both goaltenders stopped 31 of 34 shots.
Richards finished with 22:39 of ice time, but had no points, no shots on goal and was minus-1. He acknowledged it might still take him a few games to get back to his old self.
"When I hold onto pucks, good things happen," Richards said. "Tonight I was probably a little tentative doing that, but as the game went on, I felt better and better. After another practice tomorrow, I'm sure that things will start feeling a lot more normal. We'll keep working on it and I'll get more comfortable as we go."
|Rene Bourque (23) ASST: Curtis Glencross (16), Steve Staios (5)|
1 - 0 CGY
|Tom Kostopoulos (6) ASST: Tim Jackman (11), Mikael Backlund (10)|
2 - 0 CGY
|Anton Babchuk (11) ASST: NONE|
3 - 0 CGY
|PPG - Jamie Benn (18) ASST: Steve Ott (16), Alex Goligoski (28)|
3 - 1 CGY
|Mike Ribeiro (14) ASST: Jeff Woywitka (7)|
3 - 2 CGY
|Tomas Vincour (1) ASST: Toby Petersen (4), Jeff Woywitka (8)|
3 - 3 Tie
|1||J. Benn||A. Tanguay||0 - 1|
|2||B. Richards||R. Bourque||0 - 1|
|3||M. Ribeiro||C. Glencross||1 - 2|
|Matt Stajan Tripping against Loui Eriksson|
|Rene Bourque Hooking against Loui Eriksson|
|Stephane Robidas Hi-sticking against Olli Jokinen|
|Cory Sarich Boarding against Brenden Morrow|