The Dallas Stars took down the Calgary Flames 2-0 in Game 2 on Thursday night. The series is now tied 1-1 as it heads back to Dallas.
Oettinger Shines Again
The talk in this series continues to center around the goaltending matchup of young Jake Oettinger in his first playoffs and Vezina-candidate Jacob Markstrom on the other end. Markstrom stopped 16 of 16 in Game 1 to shut out the Stars 1-0 while Oettinger was only beat once in an otherwise perfect game on his end. In Game 2, both goalies once again shined but it was the young Minnesota native that recorded his first career playoff win in shutout fashion, stopping 29 of 29 Calgary shots.
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“He’s played in some big games in his young career working his way up to the NHL,” Jamie Benn said. “He prepares well, does a lot of hard work that makes him ready for these games.”
The 23-year-old Oettinger has now stopped 54 of 55 shots in the series and has not allowed a goal in 114:59 of game time since the first period tally in Game 1. On top of the saves, he served as a calming presence behind the Stars in Game 2. When the Flames started to push and things got scrambly in the Dallas end, Oettinger was there to make a key save and swallow the rebound so that his team could reset and get back on track. It may seem like a small detail but it was a huge part of their success in maintaining the slim lead late in the game.
“I think it’s huge,” Oettinger said about his rebound control in Game 2. “Especially in the third when you are trying to hold a lead, just to get those whistles and get the matchups we want and try to calm the team down. It’s a great building and a great atmosphere and it’s my job to neutralize that. I can do that with whistles.”
The most impressive part of Oettinger still remains his maturity. No moment has felt too big for him and he continues to rise to the challenge, keep the right mindset, and silence any doubters around the league.
“Never,” Oettinger said when asked when he began to think about the shutout during the game.
Dallas Stars Hockey
The Stars constantly mentioned this term during the regular season. When they had success and played their best games, they referenced it as the style of play they were looking to establish. Tight checking, solid structure, creating offense when chances are there, and great goaltending. That is Dallas Stars hockey and they played it to the fullest on Thursday.
“It’s managing the puck and being hard to play against,” Benn said when asked if they were playing ‘Dallas Stars hockey’. “I thought we made it too easy on them in the first game but we were better tonight. They are going to have their pushes and their good shifts and we handled them well and found a way to dig in and get it done.”
The Stars held Calgary to 29 shots and zero goals on Thursday, and have now allowed just one goal in two games against one of the highest-scoring teams in the league, and in their home barn. This structure has allowed them to steal home ice away from the top seed in the Pacific.
“It’s the style you have to play,” Rick Bowness said. “Not a lot of room out there to make plays. They are playing hard, we are playing hard, it’s playoff hockey. You have to work for everything you are going to get.”
For Dallas, this is exactly where they prefer to be. It may not be the high-flying hockey of the Florida Panthers or Toronto Maple Leafs and it may have gotten frustrating at times during the regular season. However, this structure was a huge part of their success running through the 2020 bubble and it has given them a chance to win both games so far this postseason.
“It is the position you want to be confident and comfortable in,” Pavelski said of being in tight games.” You are going to find yourself in a lot of one-goal games in the postseason, so you just stay focused, stick with it, do your job when you get that shift.”
Klingberg Remains the Center of Attention
John Klingberg played only one period of Game 1. He was a target of physical play all night and eventually received a game misconduct after a fight with Rasmus Andersson. Coming into Game 2, he and his team knew that the Flames would go after him, especially following his postgame comments, but the 29-year-old defenseman just smiled and went about his business.
Related: 3 Takeaways From Stars Game 1 Loss to the Calgary Flames
“I think when he first touched the puck, I started laughing a little bit, I think that’s awesome and he has embraced it too,” Oettinger said.
In the first shift of the game, Klingberg was attacked by Matthew Tkachuk, and the two wrestled their way to offsetting minor penalties. Then, he was a huge part of the game’s first goal as he forechecked and forced the turnover that led to a Jason Robertson to Joe Pavelski deflection over Markstrom’s shoulder. As the game went on, the boos from the sea of red continued every time he touched the puck, but Klingberg just continued to make plays and had one of his better games in a while.
“He is a heck of a player, so of course, they are going to try to throw him off his game,” Benn said. “I don’t think it’s going to happen.”
He Said It
“At the end of the day, I’m just going to go out there and work my ass off and try to have fun and enjoy the moment,” Oettinger said.”
Sam’s Three Stars
- Third Star: Michael Raffl, DAL (1 goal, 4 hits)
- Second Star: Joe Pavelski, DAL (game-winning goal)
- First Star: Jake Oettinger, DAL (29-save shutout, first career playoff win)