DALLAS - Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley turned to rookie Corban Knight when he needed a fourth shooter in the shootout against the Dallas Stars on Friday night. The 23-year-old made his coach look like a genius by scoring the deciding goal in a 4-3 shootout win before a sellout crowd at American Airlines Center.
Dallas captain Jamie Benn scored in the first half of the third round of the tiebreaker, but Sean Monahan beat Tim Thomas in the bottom half to extend the game. Joey MacDonald denied Tyler Seguin before Knight went five-hole to beat Thomas for the win.
"I thought that maybe we'd give a different look to Tim Thomas, like three left shots," Hartley said when asked why he picked Knight. "He made an unbelievable move."
Knight's goal capped Calgary's comeback from a two-goal deficit in the third period.
The Flames trailed 3-1 until Paul Byron scored a power-play goal with 7:09 left in regulation. Michael Cammalleri forced overtime when he scored his second of the night with 4:30 remaining. Joe Colborne had two assists and MacDonald made 22 saves in his first NHL start since Nov. 1.
"Joey's a very well-liked guy," Cammalleri said of MacDonald. "He's got that mentality when he gets in a game he's just going to battle. It's like your best buddy who was a street hockey goalie growing up who is just going to make the saves you need to. And tonight he did that."
Dallas (32-23-11) extended its lead over the Phoenix Coyotes by two points in the race for the second Western Conference wild-card spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But Benn was looking at the point the Stars left on the table, not the one they took home.
"We stopped playing," Benn said. "This time of year with these points being so valuable, you can't give up a 3-1 lead in the third. We were lucky to get one point. It was a must-win game for us."
The Stars registered the first seven shots of the game before Calgary got one, a backhander by Colborne 8:08 into the game. The Flames then outshot the Stars 10-2 during the final 11:52 of the scoreless first period.
"We were outshot 10-2 after we went up 7-0," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "Too much of our play was individual play. It's hard to get it done when you're alone."
But the Stars went ahead 13 seconds into the second period when Antoine Roussel blistered a wrister from the left circle past MacDonald. He took a pass from Vernon Fiddler near the Calgary blue line, got past defenseman Kris Russell and fired a shot over MacDonald's glove that rang off the far post before going in.
Calgary answered at 6:20 when Cammalleri beat Thomas top shelf from the left circle after Colborne dug the puck out of the corner. Cammalleri has goals in three straight games.
Dallas regained the lead at 14:16 when Benn scored his 27th of the season, tapping in a feed from the right circle by Trevor Daley on a sequence that began with Benn winning an offensive-zone faceoff. Benn has points in six consecutive games.
The Stars took a two-goal lead 2:13 later when Erik Cole deflected a right-point shot by Brenden Dillon over MacDonald's glove for his 16th of the season. Rookie center Travis Morin, who was recalled from Texas of the American Hockey League on Friday morning, got the second assist for his first NHL point. It came in his seventh NHL game.
But the Flames made Dallas pay after defenseman Kevin Connauton was called for delay of game for shooting the puck over the glass at 11:39 of the third. Byron buried a pass from Curtis Glencross for his fourth of the season.
Cammalleri scored his 19th of the season when he tapped in the deflection of TJ Brodie's shot to tie the game.
"I was just kind of engaged in a battle with Daley trying to get to the net thinking a point shot was coming and to be honest, it didn't quite get to the net and by the time the shot came, it hit me (pointing to his leg) and I was able to put it in," Cammalleri said of his second goal.
Ruff wasn't happy with his team's coverage on either third-period goal.
"On both goals, we got on the wrong side of the man," Ruff said. "We had some problems defensively. We spent more time in our zone than we needed to. We lost some battles."
Stars center Rich Peverley, who collapsed on the bench during the first period of a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday, was shown on the video board during the first period and received a huge ovation. Peverley experienced a cardiac event on Monday and was taken to a hospital after being resuscitated by a team of medical personnel in a hallway near the Stars bench. He was released from the hospital, visited his teammates at practice Thursday and is scheduled to have surgery in the near future.
"It was awesome that the crowd gave him a great ovation," Benn said. "There were probably 20 smiling faces on the bench banging our sticks for him."
MacDonald made several big saves in the third period to make Calgary's comeback possible.
"It's my job. When you're down by two, you don't want to give up that third one because it's going to kill us. I was just trying to make the key saves at the right time and I think I did that," MacDonald said. "The guys went down the other way and buried them when they had to."
The Flames visit the Coyotes on Saturday; the Stars begin a three-game trip Sunday against the Winnipeg Jets.