Game Six in Dallas — Killer Instinct vs. Desperation
We head into game six tonight with the Flames holding a 3-2 lead.
If you’ve been tuning in to other series this first round— you will have seen several teams fail to close it out.
The Leafs collapsed in overtime, the Kings couldn’t keep pace in the third, and Andrew Svechnikov couldn’t will the Hurricanes through the final stanza on his own. The only team able to finish out their series in six so far have been the St. Louis Blues who rolled over the Minnesota Wild 5-1.
3-2 Series Entering Tonight
PIT vs. NYR
FLA vs. WSH
CGY vs. DAL
Three teams get their kick at the cat tonight including the Flames. Let’s get into it.
It’s difficult to predict on the resilience either team might show during tonight’s matchup. The Stars were 2-0-1 when trailing the series during their cup run in 2020, but as this series has made quite clear: the Dallas Stars are missing some core elements from the team they rolled out two years ago.
That said, when the Stars were down 2-1 to the Flames: “Little Joe” Pavelski responded with a hat trick in game four including two power play markers.
When the Stars went down 2-1 to Tampa Bay in the Finals? Pavelski scored another two goals in game four. They lost that game 5-4 in overtime.
The next game while down 3-1? Another goal for Joe. This time the Stars won in OT.
Pavelski in 2020 playoff games when Dallas trails the series: 4GP 6G 0A 6Pts
So take that 2-0-1 with some salt aside from Little Joe who will be a presence. What else can we look at?
It’s a reach, but it might not be entirely irrelevant to point out Calgary’s record in games immediately following winning the first game of a back-to-back during the regular season. The idea is “how good are the Flames at closing out a micro-series when the instinct of desperation is less present due to a previous win?”
Flames record after winning game one of a back-to-back in the 2022 regular season: 8-3-1
After taking in the Flames this season, this feels right. The Flames have been excellent at keeping a foot on the pedal. In fact, the Flames have outscored opposition 47-34 in those instances.
Maybe grasping at straws here, but the Flames have shown remarkable resilience this season. At least there is a bit of data to back that up.
Per Wes Gilbertson, here are are this morning’s practice lines. No word on whether they’ll go 12/6 or 11-7 for forwards/defence.
It will be interesting to see if the 26 year old Ontario boy picks up where he left off last game. His assist to tie the score and subsequent goal to pull ahead made the difference in Calgary. One has to wonder if he can do it again or if whatever issue he is nursing keeps him subdued like it did in games one to four.
We’ve seen tight-to-the-belt hockey the majority of every game this series. It seems quite unlikely for that to change.
Calgary Flames goals against per game played: 1.60
Dallas Stars goals against per game played: 2.00
On one hand, surely the Law of Averages would have these absurdly impressive defensive statistics return towards a median eventually, but who actually believes this series opens up offensively tonight? Dallas head coach Rick Bowness has the Stars playing smothering, low percentage hockey and his counterpart, Darryl Sutter, is all too happy to oblige.
If the dam does break, expect it to be at the hands of either team’s secondary scoring in similar fashion to last game.
Game time is 7:30pm mst on CBC in Canada and TNT in the States.
Stats via naturalstattrick and nhl.com.