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Flames playoff hopes dashed in Dallas
The Calgary Flames headed into action Sunday night just four points back of the eighth placed Dallas Stars, but unfortunately their large opportunity to climb back into the playoff race was stymied as the Stars managed to prevail in the shootout by a 3-2 margin.
Calgary - March 5, 2012 - The Calgary Flames headed into action Sunday night just four points back of the eighth placed Dallas Stars, but unfortunately their large opportunity to climb back into the playoff race was stymied as the Stars managed to prevail in the shootout by a 3-2 margin. A familiar storyline played out in this game as Calgary would score the opening goal of the game for the 8th consecutive outing but would fail in their attempt to hold the lead as the Flames much documented struggles in the second period would once again end up costing them a valuable two points.
The first period proved to be a rather exciting twenty minutes of hockey as both teams appeared to be geared up for such a pivotal matchup in the Western Conference. You could certainly sense the high level of intensity from both these teams as at times throughout the opening frame it felt much like a playoff game. This atmosphere would lead to a very physical style of play that would see both teams go out of there way to finish a check and limit the space and opportunity for scoring chances. Calgary would however get the edge in puck possession and shots on goal in the first, but would fail to hit the score sheet after being unable to convert on two early power play opportunities. To cap off a very well rounded period of play, Curtis Glencross would drop the gloves with super pest Steve Ott in a tilt that saw a very small number of punches thrown before they were separated by the officials.
Curtis Glencross would again make an appearance in this game as he would continue to add onto his torrent scoring pace since returning from injury. At the 7:18 mark of the second period Curtis Glencross would score his 22nd goal of the season after he received a gorgeous pass from behind the net from David Moss. The Flames recent struggles to hold a lead would reoccur on this night when just seven minutes later they would give up a shorthanded goal to Loui Eriksson to tie the game at one’s. The game tying goal would be a perfect example of the risks a coach takes when he chooses to get a forward to quarterback his power play from the blue line. In this case, Loui Eriksson would identify that a forward was caught back playing the point and proceeded to make Alex Tanguay look like a pylon before backhanding a beautiful goal past Miikka Kiprusoff. This goal would without a doubt dramatically shift the momentum of the game as Dallas would go on to draw a penalty and subsequently score the go ahead goal off of the stick of Michael Ryder.
For the sixth time in seven games Calgary had failed to hold onto a lead after opening the scoring, and as a result began the third period trailing by a goal. A positive sign for most fans would be that Jarome Iginla was clearly ready to play on this night as he continually rained havoc on the defense of the Dallas Stars. After registering an impressive six shots on net through forty minutes of play, Iginla would finally break through at the midway mark of the third when he would score his 25th goal of the season to knot the game at even. Calgary would make a mild push to win the game in regulation but failed to do so as Dallas goaltender Karri Lehtonen would hold steady in between the pipes. This game would require extra time to determine a winner.
In overtime Mike Cammalleri would be called for a hooking penalty after making a careless turnover in the defensive zone. The Dallas Stars would set up shop on the 4 on 3 power play but were unable to generate any grade A scoring chances as Miikka Kiprusoff would help send this game to a shootout. The shootout would ultimately end in a hurry as Dallas forwards Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson made quick work of Kiprusoff, while both Olli Jokinen and Alex Tanguay would fail to score on their attempts. With the loss Calgary drops five points back of the Stars for 7th in the conference, and three back of the 8th placed Sharks who have two games in hand on the Flames. In short, this was a crippling blow to the playoff hopes of the Calgary Flames this season.