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Stars squander three-goal lead, fall to Flames in shootout

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Another Dallas Stars game, another big third-period comeback. But this time around the Stars were on the wrong end of the rally. The Calgary Flames overcame a 3-0 deficit in the third period and defeated the Stars, 4-3, in a shootout at Scotiabank Saddledome Tuesday night.

The Stars, who overcame a 3-0 deficit in the third period to defeat Minnesota Saturday night, were outplayed over the final two periods Tuesday in Calgary. The Flames had a 28-11 shots advantage over the final forty minutes, including a 16-4 edge in the last 20 minutes of regulation.

“We just stopped playing hockey,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn. “We knew they were a desperate hockey team, and we knew they have some firepower. It was a pretty embarrassing loss.”

The Stars came into the game one of the league’s top third-period teams, having outscored the opposition 37-21. They had a 3-0 lead going into the third period on Tuesday but ended up losing a game for the first time this season when leading after two periods.

“I have to give [the Flames] full marks. The last 30 minutes they were all over us,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “We got caught playing in our own end, just dumping it out and they kept coming at us. If our goaltender didn’t make some of the saves he did, they would have been in the game a long time before that.”

The loss snapped a six-game road winning streak for the Stars, who are 19-5-1 on the season. Jason Spezza, Cody Eakin and Mattias Janmark scored goals. Antti Niemi got the start in goal and stopped 29 of 32 shots but was 0-3 in the shootout.

The Flames (9-14-2) won their fifth straight home game and snapped a three-game winless streak overall.

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

Mikael Backlund got the Flames rally started early in the third, banging away at a couple of rebounds before putting a puck past Niemi at the 1:51 mark to make it a 3-1 game.

“That gave them life,” said Ruff. “That was the energy right there.”

Just 70 seconds later, Gaudreau scored off a rebound off the rush. Dougie Hamilton tied the game with 2:18 remaining, taking a pass from Sean Monahan and scoring from the slot.

In the shootout, Joe Colborne, Gaudreau and Monahan all scored for the Flames. Patrick Sharp scored the lone goal for the Stars, who are now 4-1 in games that have gone beyond regulation.

The Stars dominated play in the first period and scored twice to take a 2-0 lead. Jordie Benn set up the first goal. Lifting a long pass to Spezza, who scored from a sharp angle off the rush to put the Stars up 1-0 at the 1:48 mark.

Niemi, who faced only four shots in the first period, had a couple of big saves, turning away breakaway bids by Sam Bennett and Mason Raymond to keep the Stars up by one goal.

Dallas extended the lead to 2-0 late in the first when Jyrki Jokipakka put a shot on goal and the rebound bounced off the skate of Eakin, off the skate of Flames defender Dougie Hamilton and into the net at the 16:28 mark.

Janmark made it a 3-0 game at the 11:16 mark of the second, scoring on a wrap-around off the rush during a delayed-penalty call.

The Flames had chances in the second, but they hit a couple of posts, and Niemi stopped a point-blank bid by Monahan late in the period. But the Flames kept coming in the third, tying the game and eventually winning it in the shootout.

“We didn’t skate well. We didn’t execute well,” Ruff said. “A couple reads on the last couple goals against weren’t very good. If you make those kinds of mistakes, teams are going to take advantage. They sensed we were on our heels. Give them full marks for it.”

Stars defenseman Jason Demers left the game late in the second period with an upper-body injury and did not return.

Stars coach Lindy Ruff had no update on Demers following the game. Demers missed time recently, including last Monday’s game against Ottawa, with a lower-body injury.

*The Flames outshot the Stars 32-29 and had a 72-60 advantage in attempted shots.

*Jamie Benn led the Stars with 4 shots on goal and 9 attempted shots.

*The Stars are 10-2-1 on the road.

*The Stars are 4-1 in games settled beyond regulation.

*The Stars are 5-0-1 vs. the Pacific Division.

*The Stars are 10-1-0 when leading after two periods.

*The Stars were 0-2 on the power play and 3-3 on the penalty kill.

*The Stars won 27 of 55 faceoffs (49 percent).

*Jamie Benn won 6 of 7 faceoffs (86 percent). Tyler Seguin won 7 of 14 (50 percent). Cody Eakin won 8 of 16 (50 percent). Jason Spezza won 4 of 10 (40 percent). Vernon Fiddler won 2 of 7 (29 percent).

*Alex Goligoski led the Stars with 27:15 of ice time.

*Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin had eight-game points streaks snapped.

The Stars continue their road trip with a game at Vancouver on Thursday. It is the front end of a back-to-back for the Stars, who will play at Edmonton on Friday.

Jamie BennTyler SeguinPatrick Sharp

Mattias JanmarkJason SpezzaPatrick Eaves

Antoine RousselCody EakinValeri Nichushkin

Colton SceviourVernon FiddlerAles Hemsky

Alex Goligoski
John Klingberg

Johnny OduyaJason Demers

Jyrki JokipakkaJordie Benn

Antti Niemi

Jack Campbell

Kari Lehtonen (upper body)

Scratched: Travis Moen, Patrik Nemeth, Jamie Oleksiak

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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