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Missed opportunities frustrate Stars in tough Game 3 loss

Despite 35 shots on net, Dallas struggles to convert any scoring chances as Calgary grabs the series lead

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

That was about as 2020 as it gets.

In a year where the NHL is playing in a bubble, and the Starts have struggled with converting their scoring chances, but have actually played some pretty good hockey, Game 3 in their first-round playoff series with the Calgary Flames was ridiculous.

Dallas had a 76-37 advantage in shot attempts and dominated time of possession, but still found a way to lose 2-0. Dallas hit posts, missed the net, and buried plenty of shots into Calgary goalie Cam Talbot, and now they find themselves down 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

It was a frustrating night for a team that tallied five goals on Thursday and looked like it was finding its offensive stride.

"We probably played better tonight than we did last night," Stars interim coach Rick Bowness said of a 5-4 win in Game 2. "The scoring opportunities were unreal. Talbot was great, so give him a lot of credit. I think we missed the net far too many [times]. Some of our best scoring chances were missing the net. It's hard to explain that one. We hit goal posts, we missed open nets."

Video: Bowness on scoring opportunities in Game 3 loss

Which, in fact, is what this team has talked about for several weeks. Bowness said several players were "driving down main street" and simply couldn't get the puck on net against Talbot in Game 1. He has cursed his team's inability to find a way to put the puck in the net.

Dallas had scored six goals in their first four games -- now you can make it six in five.

"A lot of good looks, just didn't find the back of the net," said Tyler Seguin. "A lot of positive to look at, just got to maybe put more shots on net. I think we missed the net a couple times and I missed high and wide a few times. We've got to be getting some more rebounds."

Seguin wasn't alone. He hit the crossbar on an early trip up ice and then Alexander Radulov whiffed on a perfect rebound chance. John Klingberg couldn't get the puck in on 10 shot attempts.

Video: DAL Recap: Stars shut out by Flames in Game 3

And, yes, Talbot made some great saves. The 33-year-old who served as the team's backup goalie for much of the season, bounced back marvelously from allowing five goals in Game 2.

"He was outstanding," Calgary coach Geoff Ward said. "He's the reason why we won the hockey game. He's been real good for us. I had no qualms at all. There wasn't even a question of changing goalies going into this game today (following a 5-4 loss in Game 2 on Thursday). He's been so solid for us. We knew he had confidence, (that) he would come out today and battle for us hard and give us a chance to win. He certainly did that.

"He was the difference in the hockey game."

Now, the Stars have to find a way to beat Talbot or this best-of-seven series could get rocky Sunday. On one hand, the Stars are dealing with so much of the same problem they have seen all year. On the other, they know they can break through at any given moment.

"It's a little frustrating, but we're a very confident team," Bowness said. "We know if we go in here Sunday afternoon and play like that, I like our chances a lot."

 

Game 4: Stars vs. Flames (CGY leads 2-1)

Sunday, 1 p.m. CT

Where: Rogers Place, Edmonton

TV: FOX Sports Southwest, CNBC

Radio: The Ticket 96.7-FM, 1310-AM

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for DallasStars.com and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika, and listen to his podcast.

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