The 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs started out just the way Calgary Flames fans had hoped, as their team was able to get the first win of the series after a 1-0 victory on Tuesday night. As mentioned by many coming in, the Dallas Stars’ offence outside of their top line has struggled all season long, and that was the case in the opening game of this series as they were not only shutout but fired just 16 shots on Jacob Markstrom.
While the game was relatively quiet overall compared to some others we have seen early into the first round, there were still some moments of physicality, some of which are expected to continue not only into Game 2 but throughout the remainder of the series. One incident, in particular, will be on the minds of everyone watching Thursday night’s game, that being the situation between Stars defenceman John Klingberg and Flames defenceman Rasmus Andersson.
Klingberg Calls Out Andersson After Game 1 Fight
At the end of the first period between these two clubs on Tuesday night, Andersson and Klingberg dropped the gloves with one another, with the Flames’ rearguard appearing to get the upper hand. Unfortunately, camera crews missed what happened in the seconds prior, as they were focused on Matthew Tkachuk and Michael Raffl who had fought just seconds beforehand.
While Andersson did get the best of Klingberg in the scrap, the Stars defenceman wasn’t happy with how it all went down. According to him, he thought that Andersson had no interest in fighting, and that resulted in him not being ready the second the Flames’ rearguard dropped his gloves.
“I’m not saying I’m a tough guy, but he’s acting tougher than he is,” Klingberg told reporters postgame. “I feel like he’s the one guy there in the scrum who doesn’t have a guy. I’m standing there with (Blake) Coleman and he’s standing there shaking his gloves to me like ‘you want to go against me.’ Probably the least fighter on our team on the ice there. I’m skating over to him and dropping my gloves and I want to go but he’s just standing there for two seconds and then all of a sudden he drops the gloves.
“He’s acting a little tougher than he is and we’re going to go after him.”
Unfortunately for these two, they were both ejected from the game after their fight, as rule 46.7 in the NHL rulebook states “a game misconduct shall be imposed on any player who is assessed a major penalty for fighting after the original altercation has started.”
Losing Andersson was not an ideal situation for the Flames, as he has been arguably their best defenceman this year, posting a career-high 50 points in 82 games this season. Losing Klingberg may have had an even bigger impact on the Stars, however, as mentioned before, they struggle as a team to score, and he has been one of the league’s most consistent offensive blueliners for eight seasons now.
Flames Not Concerned Over Klingberg’s Comments
As far as the Flames’ potential response to Klingberg’s comments, it appears that anything they may say will come on the ice, as no one had much to say when asked about the topic. That isn’t to suggest they didn’t get a rise out of what was said but instead hints to them being in the mindset that their play will do the talking, something Sutter alluded to when asked his thoughts on the entire situation.
“Just play. It’s the playoffs,” Sutter said when asked about what Andersson’s response should be. “Guys get hit, that’s the way it works. Guys that don’t get hit usually lose.”
These comments from Sutter are similar to what we have seen from this team all season long. The veteran bench boss doesn’t seem to be a fan of giving the opposing team bulletin board material and appears to have given his players that same message. In fact, if anything, we have seen him often give major props to opposing teams, something many believe is done out of strategy.
Series Intensity Has Picked Up
Whether or not you agree with Klingberg’s comments, it is impossible to deny the fact that they have helped add to the excitement of this series. While the 29-year-old may be right in that his teammates will go after Andersson moving forward, you can bet many Flames players will have the same mindset moving forward when it comes to Klingberg. That makes Game 2 tonight a must-watch, as the rivalry between these two clubs has now picked up in a major way.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Yahoo Sports, Las Vegas Chronicle, Oil On Whyte, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.