3 Keys: Stars vs. Flames, Game 6 of Western First Round

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No. 3 Stars vs. No. 6 Flames

10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, SN360, TVAS, FS-SW

Dallas leads best-of-7 series, 3-2

The Calgary Flames will try to avoid being eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they play the Dallas Stars in Game 6 of the Western Conference First Round at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Thursday.

“We’re in a situation right now where it’s do-or-die,” Flames forward Milan Lucic said. “All you can do is, if you want to live tomorrow, you’ve got to channel those nerves and emotions and express them out in your play on the ice. That’s the mentality that you’ve got to have. You hope that it brings the best out of you.”

Dallas defeated Calgary 2-1 in Game 5 for their second consecutive win Tuesday in Edmonton, the Western hub city.

Four of the five games in this series have decided by one goal (Calgary won Game 3, 2-0).

“They know if they lose the game, they’re going to be going home,” Stars forward Blake Comeau said. “We know we can expect Calgary’s best game and we’re going to have to be ready to go right from the start. We’re going to have to match their intensity, their tempo and try to get some momentum early.”

Teams that have a 3-2 lead are 316-87 (78.4 percent) winning a best-of-7 NHL series.

Here are 3 keys to Game 6:

 

1. Embrace the moment

A nervous or uptight start from the Flames won’t do them any favors getting to a Game 7.

“The biggest thing is you just need to relax,” coach Geoff Ward said. “You need to be looking forward to the opportunity and get yourself ready to play and understand that all you need to do as a player is get to your game and put your game on the ice. When the game starts, it’ll be like any other game, but with a lot of intensity. You have to get ready to match or surpass the intensity of the other team and get to your game. That’s all we’re really focused on.”

 

2. Shooting Stars

Dallas has outshot Calgary in each game and 191-144 for the series. To counter, Flames goalie Cam Talbot is fifth in the postseason with 281 saves and his .934 save percentage is sixth among goalies who’ve played at least five games. A shooting mentality is required for the Stars to keep rolling.

 

3. Top line arrival

Flames forwards Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm have combined to score one power-play goal (Gaudreau in Game 4) and are without a point at even strength.

“I think we have played pretty well against that line and we need to keep doing that,” Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen said. “That’s a great line, three great players there, so we’ve got to be ready for them. I just think we need to keep doing what we are doing right now.”

 

Stars projected lineup

Jamie BennTyler SeguinAlexander Radulov

Mattias JanmarkJoe PavelskiDenis Gurianov

Roope HintzJason DickinsonCorey Perry

Andrew CoglianoRadek Faksa — Blake Comeau

Esa LindellJohn Klingberg

Jamie Oleksiak — Miro 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

 

Flames projected lineup

Johnny Gaudreau — Sean Monahan — Elias Lindholm

Andrew MangiapaneMikael BacklundTobias Rieder

Milan Lucic — Sam BennettDillon Dube

Zac RinaldoDerek RyanAlan 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

 

Status report

Ward said Tkachuk is an option for Game 6 and the forward’s status will be determined at game time. … Johns, injured in Game 1, and Bishop, who started and won Game 2 but was scratched from Game 4, remain unfit to play. As part of the NHL Return to Play Plan, a team is not permitted to disclose player injury or illness information.

NHL.com staff writer Tim Campbell contributed to this report

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