Less than one second separated the Dallas Stars from a shutout victory over the New York Rangers on Thursday.
Instead of returning home for Saturday’s matinee matchup with the Calgary Flames riding high, the Stars must recover from a shocking loss in which the Rangers scored in the final tick of the clock during regulation and escaped with a 2-1 overtime victory.
“Everyone obviously wanted to win that one as bad as I did,” said Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger. “It just sucks when guys play that great in front of you.
“We’ll probably be thinking about that for a while.”
The Stars, who remain atop the Central Division — one point behind the Vegas Golden Knights for first place in the Western Conference — and are on a 6-2-1 run, must turn the page quickly. After all, every team will earn wins snatched from the jaws of defeat and vice versa.
“Over a long season, you’re going to win some games like that, you’re going to lose some games like that,” Dallas coach Pete DeBoer said. “It was a little bit of the hockey gods evening things out. I thought we played a much better game than we did (in beating the New York Islanders on Tuesday).
“Our execution, our attention to detail was where it needs to be playing against a good team.”
There was no word Friday whether the Stars would have top-line center Roope Hintz, who has missed the last two games due to an upper-body injury.
The Flames arrive in Dallas finally back in the win column after scoring a trio of third-period goals in Thursday’s 4-1 win over the St. Louis Blues. The Flames, who lost a pair of overtime games to kick off this road trip, have only won 10 of their last 20 games but have a 10-4-6 record in that span.
Coach Darryl Sutter said his club, which is sitting in the first Western Conference wild-card spot, executed the way it must.
“You need saves. That’s the way the league is, big saves and timely goals, and our team … is not an explosive team,” Sutter said. “We all got to play the same way to give ourselves a chance to win.”
The key for Calgary was to keep pushing after taking a 2-1 lead and put away the Blues.
“They had their push and it was good for us to get one back and keep going from there,” said forward Dillon Dube, who scored twice, including the game-winner. “At 2-1, it’s easy to just defend, but I think we kept to it, stuck to the way we needed to play.”
The Flames are also feeling positive after watching rookie Walker Duehr score his first NHL goal. Duehr became the first player from South Dakota to play in the NHL when he made his debut last season, and now, in his third game, the first to score a goal.
He hopes his story — an undrafted college player who works his way through the minors to earn his chance — will provide a map for others from South Dakota.
“It probably puts the belief in their head, which it should,” he said. “Anybody who puts their head down and goes to work can achieve pretty great things. Hopefully they can look at it and dream big.”
Players born in 39 different states, as well as the District of Columbia, have scored an NHL goal.
–Field Level Media