Stars will play Flames in Western Conference First Round

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The Dallas Stars will play the Calgary Flames in the Western Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

 

Dallas, which went 1-2-0 in the round-robin portion of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers, is the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. Calgary eliminated the Winnipeg Jets in a best-of-5 series and will be the No. 6 seed.

“They play fast. They play loose hockey,” Stars goalie Anton Khudobin said. “They move the puck really well. In the playoffs there’s never going to be easy games, and at the same time, they’ve been in playoffs for last couple of years. They know how to play, what to do. They have young guys (and) at the same time they have veteran guys who’ve been in the playoffs.”

Miro Heiskanen led the Stars with four assists, and Joe Pavelski scored two goals in the round-robin. Ben Bishop allowed four goals on 23 shots in a 5-3 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Aug. 3. Khudobin was 1-0-1 with a 2.44 GAA and .921 save percentage, including a 2-1 shootout win against the St. Louis Blues that decided the No. 3 seed.

Sean Monahan scored six points (two goals, four assists) in the Qualifiers, which Calgary entered as the No. 8 seed. Mikael Backlund, Sam Bennett, Johnny Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm each had two goals and one assist. Cam Talbot was 3-1-0 with a 1.51 GAA, .945 save percentage and one shutout playing ahead of David Rittich.

“We’re ready for sure,” Monahan said. “We just went through a pretty intense series. We know what’s coming. I mean, it’s playoffs. Whoever we’re playing against is going to be ready too. As a group, we’ve got to step up, and whoever we’re playing here in Game 1, it’s going to be an important one.”

The Stars were 1-1-1 against the Flames this season. Pavelski scored two goals, and Denis Gurianov (one goal, one assist), Justin Dowling (one goal, one assist) and Radek Faksa (two assists) each scored two points. Bishop started each game and had a 2.29 GAA and .916 save percentage.

“They’re playing very, very well right now,” Dallas coach Rick Bowness said of Calgary. “They’re getting the goaltending, they’re getting timely goals. They played Winnipeg, a team that was beat up, obviously with some key injuries, but they’re a very confident team right now and they’ve got some very dangerous players, and they’ve got some elite defensemen back there that play big minutes. We know we have a very, very tough opponent coming into this. We have a ton of respect for that team. We’ll be ready for them.”

This will be the first playoff series between Calgary and Dallas. The Minnesota North Stars defeated Calgary in six games in the 1981 Division Semifinals.

The Stars lost to the Blues in the Western Conference Second Round in seven games last season. The Flames lost to the Colorado Avalanche in the first round in five games last season. 

This best-of-7 series will be played at Rogers Place in Edmonton, the hub city for the Western Conference.

NHL.com staff writers Jon Lane and Tim Campbell contributed to this report

 

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