Miro Heiskanen scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period for the Dallas Stars, who recovered after blowing an early two-goal lead and beat the Calgary Flames 4-2 on Friday night to force a deciding Game 7 in their first-round Western Conference series.
The first goal in these playoffs for Heiskanen came on a 40-foot shot with a bunch of traffic in front of Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom. That came with 2:28 left in the second period, in which both teams scored twice.
The series wraps up Sunday night in Calgary, where the Flames last hosted a Game 7 in 2006 and lost their first-round series to Anaheim. This is the third consecutive playoffs that the Stars will play a Game 7 — they beat Colorado in the second round in the NHL bubble in Canada two seasons ago, and lost at St. Louis in a second-round series that went the full distance in 2019.
Roope Hintz and Michael Raffl also scored for the wild-card Stars, and Tyler Seguin added an empty-netter in the final minute. Jake Oettinger, their 23-year-old goalie who had never started a playoff game before this series, stopped 36 shots.
Markstrom also had 36 saves.
Pacific Division champion Calgary had tied the game at 2 with 8:01 left in the second period on a goal by Mikael Backlund, which came 1 second after the end of what officially went down as another unsuccessful power play in this series when both teams have struggled with a man advantage.
That made the Flames 0 for 2 on the power play in the game, to match Dallas at 2 for 21 in the series.
The Stars made it 2 for 22 midway through the third period when Joe Pavelski had an almost point-blank shot that ricocheted off Markstrom’s skate that was on the line.
Backlund’s third goal of the series came on a slap shot, about four minutes after Johnny Gaudreau’s nifty pass across the front of the Dallas net to Michael Stone for the easy tip-in.
The Stars had a 2-0 lead about six minutes into the second period when Raffl finished off a wild play.
Joel Kiviranta was trying to follow up his own shot, even reaching back after skating past the net, while two Calgary skaters and Markstrom all went down on the ice. Defenseman Christopher Tanev was one of the ones down, and tried to push the puck away with his hand before Raffl was able to stuff it just inside the post
Hintz got his second goal of the series with 5:08 left in the first period, right after Oettinger withstood a flurry of shots at the other end.
Matthew Tkachuk and Gaudreau, both 100-point and 40-goal scorers in the regular season, got off quick shots in succession that had Oettinger scrambling and diving across the crease.
Once the Stars had the puck going the other way, Pavelski poked the puck behind him for the charging Hintz, who pushed the puck under the legs of Markstrom.
GAME 7 HISTORY
Calgary is 5-7 in Game 7s, but has lost six of the last seven it has played. The only Game 7 victory for the Flames since 1990 was in the first round against Vancouver in 2004, before they then advanced to the Stanley Cup Final and lost to Tampa Bay in the seventh game.
Dallas is 6-8, including a Game 7 win over Colorado in the second round of the 2020 playoffs, when the Stars went on to make the Stanley Cup Final in the postseason played in a bubble in Canada because of the pandemic.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism