3 Keys: Stars at Flames, Game 7 of Western First Round

(WC1) Stars at (1P) Flames

9:30 pm ET; ESPN2, SN, TVAS, BSSW

Best-of-7 series tied 3-3

The Dallas Stars and Calgary Flames each will try to advance to the Western Conference Second Round when they play Game 7 of the first round at Scotiabank Saddledome on Sunday.

The Flames are looking to win their first Stanley Cup Playoff series since they defeated the Vancouver Canucks in six games in the first round in 2015. It is their first Game 7 since 2008, a 5-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks in the first round, and their first at home since a 3-0 loss to the Anaheim Ducks in the first round in 2006.

“You obviously know it’s a do-or-die game and from my experiences through Game 7s, you have to just go out there and play,” Flames forward Milan Lucic said. “The main thing is, you have to make plays, you have to execute plays, you have to finish plays. Your desire to win and will to win has to be there. That’s usually what it comes down to in winning a big game. It’s going to be exciting. “

The Stars last played in a Game 7 in 2020, when they defeated the Colorado Avalanche 5-4 in overtime in the second round at Rogers Place in Edmonton. They advanced to the Stanley Cup Final, losing in six games to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“It can get pretty crazy out there, but after the first shift it almost seems like a normal game again,” Stars forward Jamie Benn said. “You try and do all the little things right to try to help the team win. It’s just pretty exciting.”

[RELATED: Complete Flames vs. Stars series coverage]

Flames coach Darryl Sutter said defenseman Christopher Tanevwho left during the second period of Game 6 on Friday because of an undisclosed injury, could be an option in Game 7.

Stars forward Luke Glendeningwho cleared concussion protocol after taking a hit from Flames defenseman Nikita Zadorov during Game 6, is a game-time decision.

Home teams own a 109-78 (.583) advantage in the 187 all-time Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (2-1 in 2021).

The winner will play the Edmonton Oilers in the second round.

Here are 3 keys to Game 7:

1. Stars top line together again

Dallas reunited its top line of left wing Jason Robertsoncenter Roope Hintz and right wing Joe Pavelski midway through the first period of Game 6. Hintz had a goal and an assist, and Pavelski and Robertson assisted on Hintz’s goal. If the Stars are to move on, they’ll need this line at its best.

“It was good, and good to get production early from it,” Pavelski said. “We had chances … there are certain ways you want to play regardless of who you’re playing with, but yeah, it was nice.”

2. Stay the course

The Flames used a blend of consistent scoring and great goaltending to win the Pacific Division this season. Forward Tyler Toffoli said they must stick with what’s worked for them to advance.

“You’ve just got to play with the foundation that’s been laid,” said Toffoli, who is 5-1 in the six NHL Game 7s he has played. “You can not stray from what you’ve been doing all year, or since I’ve gotten here (Feb. 14 in trade with Montreal Canadiens). You just have to play the right way, basically do the things that we talked “about this morning. I know it’s not easy and the arena’s going to be loud and everyone’s going to be really excited. But you just have to stay calm and just try to have as much fun as possible.”

3. Tempering emotions

This series has been a fiery one (no pun intended). Tempers have flared at times, before and after whistles, and emotions are going to be high in Game 7. Controlling those emotions is going to be important.

“We took two penalties [in Game 6]. We’ll take that, and we did not shy away from any contact, “Stars coach Rick Bowness said.” It’s playoff hockey, man, and you play through everything. “

Stars projected lineup

Jason Robertson – Roope Hintz – Joe Pavelski

Michael Raffl – Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin

Jacob PetersonVladislav NamestnikovMarian Studenic

Joel KivirantaRadek FaxDenis Gurianov

Ryan SuterMiro Heiskanen

Joel HanleyJohn Klingberg

Esa LindellJani Hakanpaa

Jake Oettinger

Scott Wedgewood

Scratched: Alexander Radulov, Ty Dellandrea, Thomas Harley, Andrej Sekera

Injured: Luke Glendening (lower body)

Flames projected lineup

Johnny GaudreauElias LindholmMatthew Tkachuk

Andrew MangiapaneMikael Backlund – Tyler Toffoli

Dillon DubeCalle JarnkrokBlake Coleman

Milan Lucic – Trevor Lewis

Noah HanifinRasmus Andersson

Oliver KylingtonMichael Stone

Nikita Zadorov – Erik Gudbranson

Christopher Tanev

Jacob Markstrom

Dan Vladar

Scratched: Adam Ruzicka, Brett Ritchie, Ryan Carpenter, Connor Mackey

Injured: None

Status report

The Stars had an optional morning skate. … Tanev did not participate in the Flames’ morning skate after he left Game 6 at 13:36 of the second period. … Gaudreau and Backlund did not skate Sunday but are expected to play.

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