DALLAS -- After surrendering three unanswered goals in the second period, the Calgary Flames erupted for three unanswered of their own in the third to hand the Dallas Stars a 4-3 defeat before 17,340 fans at American Airlines Center on Sunday.
"We showed lots of character. I'm very proud of our players. We had a good talk after the second period," Calgary coach Bob Hartley said. "I told them if we want to build some foundation to be a playoff team, it's games like this that we need to win. Those are good wins. We're starting a two-game road trip. We're heading to Phoenix with plenty of smiles."
In that decisive final 20 minutes, Calgary got goals from Roman Horak, Matt Stajan and Steve Begin, who all scored for the first time this season. The Flames also received a 27-save performance from Joey MacDonald, who made his first start since joining the team on Feb. 13. It was also MacDonald's first NHL start since March of last year, when he was with Detroit.
"Joey played good. I thought that he was calm. That's what veteran goalies bring," Hartley said. "He had a great first period, then we gave those three quick goals. I don't think that he could have done much on any of those goals. But he stayed focused in the game just like the rest of our team."
Richard Bachman stopped 22 of the 26 shots he faced for Dallas in a losing effort.
"I thought he [Bachman] made some big saves," Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. "All three goals were rebound goals, with no coverage."
The Flames took an early 1-0 lead when Michael Cammalleri netted his fourth goal in two games against Dallas this season just 8:11 into the game. Shooting from one knee from just inside the right circle, Cammalleri's wrister sailed over Bachman's right shoulder for a power-play tally.
After trailing 1-0 at the first intermission, Dallas took a 2-1 lead with goals by Cody Eakin and Reilly Smith just 56 seconds apart early in the second period. After the Stars began the period on the power play, Eakin tied it at 1-1 with a 45-foot wrister that beat MacDonald short side as he was screened by Dallas forward Antoine Rousssel.
Smith then netted his second career tally and second in as many nights, lifting a backhand into the left side of the Calgary net at 2:47. The Stars' rookie had initially collected a rebound off a long-range shot by Derek Roy and after his initial attempt was denied by MacDonald, Smith was able to put it home to give the Stars a 2-1 lead.
The Stars added a third unanswered tally late in the second when Ryan Garbutt netted his third goal of the season off a rebound at 15:23. Garbutt had laid the puck off to Robidas as the two were streaking up the ice and after Robidas' initial shot was stopped by MacDonald, Garbutt collected the rebound at the far post for an easy tap-in to make it 3-1.
Dallas finished the second period with a season-high 22 shots. The Stars played the final period with just five healthy defensemen after Trevor Daley was unable to return after suffering an upper-body injury late in the second.
"It's a different dimension," Gulutzan said of having only five defensemen in the third. "You don't get the same matchups because you're rolling five. You have to switch partners. But the mistakes were the mistakes and you can't make those mistakes."
However, Calgary tied the game early in the third with a pair of goals within 45 seconds. Horak beat Bachman with a wrister at 1:39 of the third after the Dallas netminder had made a pad save on a shot by Jay Bouwmeester. Horak then flicked the ensuing carom into the right side of the Dallas net to make it 3-2.
Stajan then tied it at 2:24 with a 15-foot snap that Bachman had little chance of stopping. Curtis Glencross started the play from behind the Dallas goal by flipping the puck to Lee Stempniak, who was in front of the crease. Stempniak then fed Stajan for the easy goal.
The Flames then took the lead at 10:30 of the third, when Begin netted his first of the season, beating Bachman to his left with a wrister. Chris Butler had taken a slap shot from near the blue line, but that blast was deflected with the carom falling to Begin, who quickly converted to make it 4-3. It was Begin's first regular-season goal since May 1, 2010 when he was with Boston.
"Steve is a true soldier. He's ready to battle. He's ready to fight. What you see from Steve Begin is what you get -- a real loyal player," Hartley said. "He's going to go for his teammates. He's going to go hard for the entire team, and it couldn't happen to a better guy tonight to get the game-winning goal."