The NHL’s round of sixteen kicks off on August 11 with four games up on the board. One of these matchups will be between the Calgary Flames and the Dallas Stars. These two teams will look to earn a leg up in Game 1 as they try and set the pace for the series. Puck drop between these two teams will be at around 5:30 PM Eastern time on NBCSN.
Calgary earned a record of 36-27-7 throughout the regular season, which had them in eighth place of the Western Conference. The Flames met up with the Winnipeg Jets in the Qualifying Round and knocked them out in four games. Now Calgary will look to keep it going as they meet up with the Stars in the round of sixteen.
The Stars earned a record of 37-24-8 during the regular season. Dallas went 1-2 throughout their Round Robin matchups, which has them in third place of the Western Conference. The Stars were able to knock off the St. Louis Blues in a shootout in their final matchup of round robin play and will look to earn some momentum off of that.
The Flames had a much better start to the NHL return to play, but Dallas will look to bump up that intensity as the elimination series begins for them. The Stars had two close ones, with their only blowout loss to the Colorado Avalanche. Dallas will look to bounce back though as they meet up with the streaking Flames. Calgary will look to keep their dominant play up as they play the Stars.
The first meeting of the regular season between the Flames and the Stars was in Dallas on October 10. Jamie Benn and Joel L’Esperance scored for Dallas, but it was not enough. Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindholm scored to force overtime, where Johnny Gaudreau scored the game winner. David Rittich stopped 34 of the 36 shots against him in the 3-2 comeback win for Calgary.
The second game of the season series was hosted by Calgary on November 13. Sean Monahan scored the lone goal for the Flames, which was not enough. Joe Pavelski found the back of the net twice for Dallas, while Justin Dowling scored one goal. Ben Bishop had 24 saves on 25 shots to help give the Stars a solid 3-1 win on the road.
The most recent matchup between these two teams was on December 22 in Dallas. Denis Gurianov scored the lone goal for the Stars, which would not be enough. Elias Lindholm registered three assists on the night, while Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and two assists. Sean Monahan and Derek Ryan both had a goal and an assist. David Rittich stopped 26 of 27 shots as the Flames won 5-1 to finish out the season series.
These two teams met up three times, with the away team winning in all three games. The Flames ended up with two of the three wins against Dallas, stumping their offense twice. The Stars will look to register some goals early in this series to avoid their offense struggling. Calgary had a lot of production from their top players and will look for them to lead them in this series.
The Flames had a strong special team showing throughout the regular season. Calgary was able to earn a 21.2 percent success rate on the power play, while posting an 82.1 percent penalty kill. In their Qualifying round matchup with the Jets, the Flames posted a 29.4 percent power play and a penalty kill percentage of 88.2 percent.
Dallas also had a solid special teams throughout this season. The Stars power play was able to capitalize on 21.1 percent of their opportunities. Dallas killed off 79.7 percent of the penalties against them during the regular season as well. The Stars have struggled on the power play in round robin play, earning a power play percentage of 11.1 percent, while having an 83.3 percent kill rate.
If Calgary can continue to find a tremendous amount of success on special teams in this series, they will be a serious problem for the Stars. Dallas will need to find a way to get their power play going in this series, which could be difficult. The Flames have a nice edge on special teams coming into this one, which could give them an advantage in Game 1 of the series.
Cam Talbot will get the nod in net for the Flames in Game 1 of this series. Talbot had earned a save percentage of .919 and a 2.63 GAA throughout the regular season. He posted a .945 save percentage and a GAA of 1.51 throughout the series with Winnipeg. If Talbot can keep playing at this elite level, it will be tough for the Stars to break through on him.
I expect Ben Bishop to get the start for Dallas in this matchup. Bishop earned a .920 save percentage and a GAA of 2.50 throughout 44 appearances in the regular season. He played in the round robin matchup against Vegas, where he stopped 28 of the 32 shots against him in a losing effort. Bishop was unfit to play on Sunday against the Blues, but is reportedly healthy for Game 1 of this series.
Bishop was the better goalie throughout the regular season, holding down the fort for the Stars, but it is Talbot who is playing great right now. Talbot shut down Winnipeg in the best of five series and will cause some issues for Dallas if he keeps it up. I expect Talbot to keep it up as he meets up with the Stars in Game 1.
Dallas may be the higher seed in the matchup, but I believe that the Flames are the more dangerous team right now. Calgary’s power play and penalty kill were clicking in the Qualifying Round and Talbot has found his rhythm. The Flames did play a depleted Winnipeg team, but they will look to use that confidence as momentum moving into this series.
BetOnline has the Stars listed as a -110 against the money line in Game 1 of this series. This implies that Dallas will win this game around 52.4 percent of the time. I like Calgary in Game 1 of this series and as underdogs, I believe they have a lot of value. The Flames looked really good in the Qualifying series, while the Stars stumbled a bit in the round robin. I expect Calgary to open up this series with a win.