|Stars aim for better start vs. Flames in Game 2|
Even though their Game 1 clash with the Calgary Flames was tied late in the second period, the Dallas Stars believe the cause of Tuesday's 3-2 defeat stemmed from the opening frame.
The Stars, who will look to even their best-of-seven Stanley Cup playoffs opening round series on Thursday in Edmonton, know a better start is paramount.
"We're not getting the early momentum in terms of creating enough offense," coach Rick Bowness said. "Hey, we'll just keep addressing it. We need everyone on their toes early. That team's coming off of basically a playoff round win with Winnipeg. They were playoff ready. We were just a little slow out of the gate."
Dallas has surrendered the first goal in nine consecutive games and won only once, dating to before the season was suspended in March.
Thanks to a pair of goals by rookie Dillon Dube, the Flames staked a 2-0 lead. They saw the edge disappear because of a pair of Dallas goals nine seconds apart just past the midway point of the second period, before Rasmus Andersson's game-winning tally came with four minutes left in the middle frame.
The Stars held the edge in play in the final period but couldn't net the equalizer.
"They had a few extra days off. They were ready. I thought our last two periods is a better way we want to play," said Dallas forward Corey Perry, who even fought with Calgary's Matthew Tkachuk in the hopes of sparking his team.
So, now the onus falls on the Stars to rebound and provide a complete start-to-finish effort.
"Coaches can say whatever they want, but it's up to us guys on the ice to make it happen," said defenseman Andrej Sekera, who had a particularly rough outing. "Everybody has to do something to get ready for the game. We've got to learn from that and bring it next game."
For the most part, the Flames were happy about their performance in the opener. They were physical -- especially on the forecheck against Dallas's top two defensemen, Miro Heiskanen and John Klingberg -- while using their team speed to an advantage and attacking well as five-man units.
To top it off, their special teams were perfect, as they scored on their only power-play chance and killed two Dallas power plays.
"I think it's just everyone pulling in the right direction," said Dube, who was drafted by the Flames in 2016 with a pick acquired from the Stars. "Guys are going to have their nights. It's going to be different every single night. It's just our group willing to accept that and just go in the right direction together.
"It was good to see Ras (Andersson) get that game-winner. I think it's just going to lead throughout the team for the rest of the time here."
That said, they Flames are well aware Dallas will have another gear.
"For us to get the lead is nice, but it's a best-of-seven series, and there's an awful lot of hockey left," coach Geoff Ward said. "The biggest thing is that we gained some confidence. I think we learned some things as a team that I think we can apply for the rest of the series. It was a good first game, but we have to park it and get ready for Games 2, 3 and 4, because they're going to come fast now."
Game 3 will be Friday night, scheduled 24 hours after Thursday's puck drop.
Dallas may be forced to make one lineup change. Defenseman Stephen Johns left the game late in the second period. A possible replacement is Taylor Fedun.
--Field Level Media