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Flames rally in third, defeat Stars in shootout

by Aaron Vickers

CALGARY -- The struggling Calgary Flames found a familiar feeling Tuesday.

Johnny Gaudreau scored in the third period and the shootout to help the Flames rally for a 4-3 win against the Dallas Stars at Scotiabank Saddledome.

"It was a great team effort tonight," Gaudreau said. "It was another one of those comebacks like last season where guys were showing a ton of effort until the final buzzer there. We're just excited to get the win there. We love playing at home so we've got to string together a couple wins here in the next week."

Mikael Backlund and Dougie Hamilton scored for the Flames (9-14-2), who trailed 3-0 midway through the second period. Calgary has one win in the past four games, but have won five in a row at home.

The Flames were among the NHL's best late-game teams last season, tying for first place in overtime wins (nine), ranking second in third-period goal differential (plus-31), and third in wins when trailing after two periods (10).

"Games like this, it brings back the taste of last year, of those comebacks," Calgary coach Bob Hartley said. "You never want to get down in a game but gosh, those comebacks feel good. The boys were having fun in the room. The music and everything. ... For me, that's the best part of coaching and the best part of being in a team sport. You see those emotions, you see finally the rewards for hard work. I was very proud for the boys."

Jason Spezza, Cody Eakin and Mattias Janmark scored for the Stars (19-5-1). Dallas was 10-0-0 when leading after two periods and had won six consecutive road games.

"We just stopped playing hockey," Stars forward Jamie Benn said. "We knew they were a desperate hockey team over there. We knew they got some firepower and just a pretty embarrassing loss.

"That was pretty embarrassing. We really have to learn our lesson."

Gaudreau stickhandled through the slot before putting a quick shot between the legs of Dallas goaltender Antti Niemi in the second round of the shootout, and Sean Monahan beat Niemi to secure the win in the third.

"Both teams played really well defensively in the 3-on-3 (overtime)," Gaudreau said. "There wasn't really too many good chances to score there. It's good tight defense. We played well 3-on-3, couldn't find a goal, but we found the win in the shootout."

The Flames began the rally early in the third period. After getting waved out of the faceoff circle, Backlund cut off Eakin's clean draw back to Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski and jammed his second rebound attempt by Niemi at 1:51.

Gaudreau scored his sixth of the season 1:10 later. Niemi denied TJ Brodie's initial shot and Monahan's rebound attempt, but Gaudreau scored on a third opportunity to pull Calgary within one.

Hamilton completed the comeback with 2:18 remaining in the third when he took a pass from Monahan and put a shot over Niemi's glove to tie the game 3-3.

"[Monahan], great vision there," Hamilton said. "I found a little pocket and I'm just happy my shot didn't get blocked by that guy and went in. We had a lot of chances there in the third and it was nice to tie it up."

Jamie Benn hit the post 45 seconds into overtime and Tyler Seguin was denied by Karri Ramo seconds later, one of four saves in the extra period.

"They just rolled the momentum," Jamie Benn said. "We stopped playing, kind of let them jump all over us. That's what's going to happen in this league if you sit back."

Spezza struck early in the first. After an outlet pass from Jordie Benn, Spezza got a step on Flames defenseman Ladislav Smid and beat Ramo over the glove at 1:48.

Dallas doubled its lead with 3:32 remaining in the period. Ramo saved the initial point shot from Jyrki Jokipaaka, but the rebound went off Eakin's skate before Hamilton kicked it into his own net.

Janmark put the Stars up 3-0 at 11:16 of the second period during a delayed penalty, breaking down the wing off the rush and continuing behind the net to beat Ramo with a wraparound.

The goal came between two breakaway saves from Ramo, who denied Eakin at 10:30 and Jamie Benn's shorthanded attempt with 5:57 remaining in the period.

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