3 Takeaways From Stars’ Game 4 Loss to the Calgary Flames

The Dallas Stars dropped Game 4 at home 4-1 to the Calgary Flames on Monday night. The series is now tied 2-2 as it shifts back to Alberta for a best-of-3. 

Stars With Way Too Many Turnovers

When the Stars get beat, it is often due to issues with their puck possession. Monday was no different. The Stars burped pucks up early and often and looked to be one step behind both mentally and physically. The turnovers occurred in all aspects of the game from breakouts and neutral zone, to the power play and offensive zone time. Eventually, it cost them as two bad turnovers in their own zone led to unnecessary penalties and a 5 on 3 Flames goal that opened the scoring. 

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“The responsibility is on the players,” Stars coach Rick Bowness said. “The players sitting on the bench can see what’s going on. We’re turning pucks over so let’s get it going. If one line is turning it over, you’re telling the next line, okay you guys have got to get it deep so we can change momentum. If the next line turns it over the momentum stays on their side so it’s the responsibility of the players to go on the ice, see what’s there and make the right decisions. You saw that one shift we had in the second period where we’re in their zone for a minute-and-a-half, our forward gets the puck and tries to stick handle his way out, and all of a sudden we’re another minute in their zone. That’s just bad decisions and bad puck management. We can address it but the responsibility is on the player to make the right decision at the time.”

Unfortunately, that was not the only goal that resulted from a Stars mistake. A bad turnover up ice and a poor read led to a Johnny Gaudreau breakaway in the third period. Klingberg got his stick in the hands and Gaudreau scored on the ensuing penalty shot to put Calgary up 2-0. In the final minutes, the Stars were swimming in their own zone and eventually, Elias Lindholm walked down the slot all alone and beat Jake Oettinger for the third goal of the game. It was a constant issue and the main reason for the 4-1 defeat on home ice. 

“I don’t know,” Tyler Seguin said. “They’re a good team. They came at us hard from the first shift, they responded well and now it’s our turn. They played a great hockey game, and we were off a little bit, and when you’re off a little bit against a top-tier team like that, a big favorite in this league, they’re going to make you pay. They made us pay tonight. I don’t know how many shots they finished with but that’s a lot of work for our goalie, we need to do a lot better job in front of him defensively.”

Stars Offense & Power Play Still Quiet

The Stars power play and overall scoring have been big topics so far in this series. After scoring just one goal through two games (not including the empty-netter), they finally broke through and tallied three in their Game 3 victory. However, in Game 4, they looked sloppy and were outworked by a hungrier Flames team.

Related: Playoff Series Preview: Dallas Stars vs Calgary Flames

The power-play did tally a goal but it came in the final minutes with the Stars already down 3-0. On the first four attempts when they needed it to break through most, they were turning pucks over and not threatening as the sellout crowd grew impatient. 

“We’re trying to free up Robo, he’s struggling,” Bowness said. “We tried to free him up a little bit and see if we could get something going offensively. We got some really good shifts. If in those first five minutes we could have scored, that would have turned that whole period around. We had some looks but we didn’t score. The power play went out and they had a chance to tie the game up but they were ineffective and all of a sudden it’s 2-0. As badly as we played, there were times we had the chances to get momentum and we didn’t capitalize.”

Jason Robertson Dallas Stars-3 Takeaways From Stars Game 4 Loss to the Calgary Flames
Jason Robertson, Dallas Stars (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

The power-play is now 2-17 in the series with both goals coming during fairly ugly extra-man chances. On Monday, the unit allowed multiple shorthanded chances including a 3-on-1 from center ice. Dallas currently sits 12th of all 16 teams in the playoffs and will need to find a way to make a bigger impact on the game. 

Flames Pepper Oettinger

The Flames love to get shots on goal. They were among the leaders during the regular season and they continue to pepper Oettinger in the first round. After recording 41 shots in Game 3, they fired 54 at the Stars net in Game 4, scoring four goals in the process. For a Stars team that prides itself on tight checking, this is unacceptable. 

“We were on the wrong side of them too many times in all three zones,” Bowness said. “We were very slow to close on them in the defensive zone which is why they were able to cycle the puck as much. It started with the first shift where our forward got caught on the wrong side and we didn’t close quick enough in our zone.”

Despite the barrage of shots, the 23-year-old Oettinger answered the call once again. Although he allowed three goals, he also stopped 51 of 53 shots while he was in net. The youngster is now 2-2 with a .960 save percentage in his first-ever Stanley Cup Playoffs experience. 

“Listen, he was the only reason we were in the game,” Bowness said. “I told the coaches after the game that we just wasted a great goaltending performance. Their guy made some big saves, he didn’t get a lot of them but he made some big saves at the right time. Otter was outstanding and so that’s why it was 1-0 going into the third and we had some looks to make it 1-1 and then they got the penalty shot. He’s a pro.”

He Said It 

“We’ve gone a couple of times in there this year, it’s a hostile environment,” Seguin said. “The momentum is huge in this series. We’ve had it, they’ve had it and it’s our time to respond”

Sam’s Three Stars 

  • Third Star: Jacob Markstrom, CGY (34 saves on 35 shots) 
  • Second Star: Rasmus Andersson, CGY (game-winning goal)
  • First Star: Johnny Gaudreau, CGY (1 goal, 1 assist)
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