The Five Takeaways: Flames vs. Stars
Five key elements from the Flames-Stars tilt
TAKEAWAY ONE: Returning Star
After sustaining a concussion in early February, Stars sniper Brad Richards spent over a month sitting in the press box. Dallas' offensive juggernaut has been missed greatly and on Wednesday, he made his highly anticipated return to the lineup.
Richards wasn't exactly in top form thanks to his time off. He didn't record a single shot during the game, was a minus-one and one giveaway.
The coaching staff opted to use him the in the shootout but Miikka Kiprusoff made a right save on the shot.
TAKEAWAY TWO: Firing away in the first period
Coming into the massive Western Conference matchup, many expected the Flames-Stars outing to be a low scoring affair. The first period negated that idea.
Rene Bourque was the first Flame to send the puck past goaltender Kari Lehtonen, notching his 23rd of the year. 62 seconds later, Tom Kostopoulos gave his team a two goal led with his first goal in nine games. Calgary ended their scoring spree with Anton Babchuk slamming a shot into the net from the blueline with authority.
The Stars managed to bounce back near the end of the period when Jamie Benn was able to pot a power play goal at 18:28.
TAKEAWAY THREE: Second period slump
After an excellent opening period, the Flames fell back on their heels in the middle frame. The Stars had gotten some jump from the Benn goal and carried that all the way through the net 20 minutes.
Mike Ribeiro pushed Dallas to within a single goal at 5:12 with a perfectly placed wrist shot from outside of the faceoff circle and they kept the pressure up from that point.
The Stars sent 15 shots at Miikka Kiprusoff in the second period while holding the Flames to a mere four. Their forechecking was relentless, running the Calgary defence ragged in their own end. No Star was afraid to take a shot and they simply outworked their opposition.
Kiprusoff, however, was able to bail his team out with several clutch saves. His play in that period singlehandedly held the Flames in the game.
TAKEAWAY FOUR: Second line splendor
The second line of Curtis Glencross, Olli Jokinen and David Moss was producing the bulk of the Flames offence when veteran Brendan Morrison went down with a knee injury. Shifting Moss up to fill the hole in the first line, Rene Bourque was placed on the wing with Glencross and Jokinen with the hope that the newly formed line would be able to keep up the offensive pace the second line was now relied upon for.
So far, the experiment is working.
Bourque opened the scoring in the game and Glencross played an integral role in the tally with his excellent passing play prior to Bourque taking the shot. Glencross then added the game winner in the shootout.
Overall, the line combined for seven shots, a plus-two rating and four hits.
TAKEAWAY FIVE: Spectacular in the shootout
Kiprusoff once struggled mightily with the shootout but has really flourished over the past couple years. His strength in the area came up big for his team once again as he was able to stone Jamie Benn and Richards.
Alex Tanguay and Glencross scored for Calgary, pushing them to 81 points on the season. They now are tied with the Chicago Blackhawks for fourth in the Western Conference.