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Goals a problem both ways for Stars in loss to Flames

Gurianov scores the lone goal for Dallas, which gives up three on the penalty kill as Calgary cruises

by Jeff Odom @jeffodom /

DALLAS -- It's the season of giving, and the Stars found themselves in quite the giving mood on Sunday.

Unfortunately for Dallas, the Calgary Flames weren't feeling the same.

Hoping to bounce back from a pair of rough road outings -- a come-from-behind, overtime win Thursday over the Tampa Bay Lightning in which Anton Khudobin bailed Dallas out with 45 saves and a 7-4 lashing Friday at the hands of the Florida Panthers -- the Stars didn't get the result they sought heading into the holiday break.

Instead, despite a nifty early marker from Denis Gurianov, Dallas allowed Calgary to score four unanswered goals en route to a 5-1 defeat before 18,532 at American Airlines Center.


[WATCH: All Stars vs. Flames highlights]


The loss dropped the Stars to 20-14-4, now just one point ahead of Calgary, which owns the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference playoff race.

"We're off our game, clearly. These last three games, we are," Stars interim coach Rick Bowness said. "This is obviously not the way we wanted to go into the break, but it is. We will come back on the 27th in a better frame of mind and get back on track."

Video: CGY@DAL: Gurianov speeds past defender for goal

After Dallas allowed an opening goal to Calgary's Andrew Mangiapane at the 12:11 mark of the first, Gurianov responded with his eighth of the season and second in as many games just 38 seconds later. Taking a feed from Justin Dowling, Gurianov turned on the jets, racing along the boards and sending Noah Hanifin tumbling before depositing a sweet shot past netminder David Rittich.

"We were much better in the first period tonight," Bowness said. "We only gave up a couple of scoring chances. We didn't create much, but we had a great response to their goal."

For a time, it looked like Gurianov's goal had sparked the Stars. They opened the second period outshooting the Flames 6-0 through the first six minutes.

That spark, however, was quickly dimmed.

Corey Perry, who has been playing some of his best hockey in a Stars uniform of late, was whistled for hooking at 11:22 of the middle frame, and the Flames turned that into a Matthew Tkachuk power-play goal. Then, after Jamie Benn was sent to the box for hooking with six minutes left, it took Sean Monahan all of 21 seconds on the man advantage to add another digit to the visitor's side of the scoreboard, doubling Calgary's advantage.

Despite an early power-play opportunity of their own to open the third, Rittich held off the Stars for the rest of the game. He finished with 26 saves. Ben Bishop, back in net after being yanked for Khudobin during the loss to Florida, stopped 25 for Dallas.

Mikael Backlund sealed the victory with the Flames' third power-play goal with 9:39 remaining. Derek Ryan made it 5-1 on a shorthanded empty-netter at 17:56.

The Flames finished 3-of-5 with the man advantage on the night. The Stars came up empty in all three of their tries.

Bah humbug.

"I think we've got to regroup -- maybe get a little more energy from the Christmas (break) and everything," said Stars defenseman Roman Polak, who was on the penalty kill for a game-high 4:29. "We've got to be prepared to be ready and work on the 27th and have a good practice and play back-to-back games.

"I don't worry about us. We're going to be fine."

Video: CGY@DAL: Bowness says Stars have 'work to do'


Janmark 'day-to-day' after leaving with injury

After taking a hard shot off his leg and being helped to the dressing room in the first period, Mattias Janmark did not return with what the team called a lower-body injury.

Bowness said after the game that Janmark is day-to-day.

"I would say day-to-day," he said. "I haven't gotten an update. He blocked a shot, usually those are some bruises and day-to-day."

The Stars were also without winger Alexander Radulov for the second consecutive game because of a lower-body injury.

Video: CGY@DAL: Perry dissects what went wrong for Stars in loss to Flames


Fast fact

Gurianov now has points in a career-long three straight games. He scored in Friday's loss to Florida and tallied a helper on Radek Faksa's second-period goal against Tampa Bay on Thursday.

Video: CGY@DAL: Gurianov's eighth goal not enough in loss


They said it

"I trust our coaches. If they said challenge it, we challenge it. I will go with their word all day. If it's wrong, we're wrong. I know it's a big gamble at that point in the game -- it's 4-1, you've got nothing to lose."

-- Bowness on the Stars' decision to challenge for goaltender interference on Backlund's PPG in the third. The ruling on the ice was upheld and Dallas was given a bench minor for delay of game, putting Calgary back on the power play


"I think we're pressing too much. Just take a deep breath and good things are going to happen."

-- Perry on the key to getting Dallas back on track


Up next

The Stars have a few days off for the league's holiday break before opening a weekend back-to-back ahead of the NHL Winter Classic. They will face the Avalanche on Saturday at 6 p.m. at American Airlines Center and then travel to meet the Coyotes on Sunday.

Don't miss your chance to see the Stars take on the Colorado Avalanche at American Airlines Center on Saturday at 6 p.m. Get your tickets now!

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

Jeff Odom is the manager of and writes about the Stars/NHL. Follow him on Twitter @jeffodom.

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