Dallas Stars vs Calgary Flames: 2022 First Round NHL Playoffs Series Preview

Via NHL.com

Dallas Stars vs Calgary Flames: 2022 First Round NHL Playoffs Series Preview

Hockey

Dallas Stars vs Calgary Flames: 2022 First Round NHL Playoffs Series Preview

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Via NHL.com

The Rundown

Calgary reached the 50-win mark and tallied 111 points this season. That was enough for a Pacific Division title.

The Flames were led offensively by Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk. Gaudreau finally had a bounce-back season quietly notching 115 points. The 28-year-old scored 40 goals and assisted on 75 more. Tkachuk found the back of the net 42 times, which is tied with Elia Lindholm for the team lead. The 24-year-old winger totaled 104 points in 2021-22. Calgary has the depth necessary to win the Stanley Cup and only got better at this season Trade Deadline.

The Flames will send Vezina candidate Jacob Markstrom to the blue paint. The Swede went 37-15-9 in 63 games this season. Markstrom was third in the NHL with a .922 save percentage and led the league with nine shutouts.

Dallas was the last team to clinch a playoff berth but ended up as the first wildcard with 98 points. The Stars were led in points by 37-year-old Joe Pavelski. The veteran center tallied 27 goals and 54 assists. Breakout winger Jason Robertson led Dallas in goals with 41 this season. Roope Hintz was the only other Star over 50 points as he notched 72 (37-35-72).

Dallas will rely on Jake Oettinger in goal. Oettinger went 30-15-1 in 46 games with a .914 save percentage. He was 0-2-0 against Calgary this season.

The Matchup

The Flames took two of the three regular season meeting between these two teams this season. All three games finished 4-3 and Dallas’ win was in overtime. Calgary and Dallas met in the 2020 first round which saw the Stars win the series in six games. Dallas would lose in the Stanley Cup Finals that season.

Players to Watch

Calgary’s player to watch is Andrew Mangiapane. The winger tallied 23 of his 35 goals on the road this season. Series are won by taking care of business at home and stealing a game on the road. Mangiapane’s knack of scoring away from home could be the difference in this series.

Dallas has multiple players to watch but for all the wrong reasons. The Stars old “big three” of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov all had down years. Benn tallied 46 points in 82 games and was a -13. Seguin notched 49 points in 81 games and was a -21. Radulov only scored 22 points and was a -20. 

Other household names John Klingberg and Radek Faksa also struggled this season. Klingberg was a -28 in 2021-22. Faksa only tallied 19 points in 77 games and was a -20. If the Stars want to win this series, something must change.

My Prediction: Flames over the Stars in seven games

This is another series that is lopsided on paper. The Flames should roll here but that will not be the case. The Stars will hang around but Calgary will escape with a seven-game series win.

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