3 Keys: Flames vs. Stars, Game 5 of Western First Round


No. 6 Flames vs. No. 3 Stars

5:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, FS-SW

Best-of-7 series is tied, 2-2

Anton Khudobin is expected to make his third straight start for the Dallas Stars when they play the Calgary Flames in Game 5 of the Western Conference First Round at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Tuesday.

Khudobin, who made 36 saves in a 5-4 overtime win in Game 4 on Sunday, is 1-2-0 with a 2.85 goals-against average and .899 save percentage in three starts in the series. Ben Bishop started and won Game 2, but he was scratched from Game 4 and Dallas coach Rick Bowness said he remains unfit to play.

“We have full confidence in [Khudobin],” Bowness said. “You go back to 2018-19, we’re not in the playoffs without [Khudobin]. [Bishop] was hurt. When he went down, [Khudobin] stepped up. We’re seeing that now.”

The team that wins Game 5 to take a 3-2 lead is 211-58 (78.4 percent) winning a best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series.

Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk, who has not played since he was injured in Game 2, remains day to day and will be reevaluated Tuesday morning. As part of the NHL Return to Play Plan, a team is not permitted to disclose player injury or illness information.

Here are 3 keys to Game 5:


1. Forgetting Game 4

The Flames were 12 seconds from taking a 3-1 series lead before Stars forward Joe Pavelski completed his first playoff hat trick to force overtime. Alexander Radulov scored the game-winning goal to complete the comeback, and the emotional letdown can’t affect Calgary moving forward.

“In the playoffs, you can’t get too high or too low,” Flames goalie Cam Talbot said. “The emotions can get the better of you sometimes; you have to stay even-keeled. I think our team has done a good job of that after losses so far, and we’re looking to rebound again.”

Video: Pavelski, Radulov lift Stars to OT win in Game 4


2. Compete level

Three of the four games have been decided by one goal (Calgary won Game 3 2-0), meaning there’s little room for error on either side.

“There’s very, very little separating these two teams,” Bowness said. “We know their strengths, they know our strengths. The games are going to come down to battles on the boards, the games are going to come down to battles around the net and who is going to win those battles. Really, the X’s and O’s are out if it, pretty much. We know what they’re going to do, they know what we’re going to do. Now it becomes 1-on-1 battles.”


3. Discipline

The Flames, who lead the NHL in times shorthanded in the postseason (34), can’t afford to keep taking penalties. Although they have scored as many goals shorthanded as the Stars have scored on the power play (three), they took seven penalties in Game 4, including three in the first 10 minutes of the third period.

“It was a bit of a theme,” Calgary coach Geoff Ward said. “We’ve been through it before. We talked about it after the first two games of the Winnipeg [Jets] series (in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers), and we talked about it last night, so I don’t think we really had to touch on it again. But the thing we have to remember is that it was a pretty even hockey game at the time of the penalty parade.”


Flames projected lineup

Johnny GaudreauSean MonahanElias Lindholm

Andrew MangiapaneMikael BacklundTobias Rieder

Milan LucicSam BennettDillon Dube

Zac RinaldoDerek Ryan — Alan Quine

Mark GiordanoTJ Brodie

Noah HanifinRasmus Andersson

Derek ForbortErik Gustafsson

Cam Talbot

David Rittich

Scratched: Austin Czarnik, Byron Froese, Mark Jankowski, Buddy Robinson, Oliver Kylington, Michael Stone, Juuso Valimaki, Alexander Yelesin, Jon Gillies, Artyom Zagidulin

Unfit to play: Matthew Tkachuk


Stars projected lineup

Jamie BennTyler Seguin — Alexander Radulov

Mattias Janmark — Joe Pavelski — Denis Gurianov

Roope HintzJason DickinsonCorey Perry

Andrew CoglianoRadek FaksaBlake Comeau

Esa LindellJohn Klingberg

Jamie OleksiakMiro Heiskanen

Andrej SekeraTaylor Fedun

Anton Khudobin

Jake Oettinger

Scratched: Nick Caamano, Ty Dellandrea, Justin Dowling, Joel Kiviranta, Jason Robertson, Gavin Bayreuther, Joel Hanley, Thomas Harley, Landon Bow, Jake Oettinger

Unfit to play: Stephen Johns, Ben Bishop

NHL.com staff writer Tim Campbell contributed to this report

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