Klingberg gets winner, Stars beat Flames 2-1 for 3-2 lead
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — John Klingberg didn’t have the decisive goal taken away this time.
The Dallas defenseman scored his first goal since the NHL’s restart early in the third period, and the Stars held on for a 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames in a crucial Game 5 of their Western Conference playoff series Tuesday.
Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin teamed up for the first goal as the Stars took a 3-2 lead in the first-round series. They can reach the second round for the second straight year with a victory in Game 6 on Thursday.
It’s been 19 years since the Stars won playoff series in consecutive seasons. Calgary is trying to get out of the first round for just the second time since going to the Stanley Cup Final in 2004.
“We’ve got to be ready to attack that team,” Seguin said. “They’re a heck of a hockey team. They’ve got a lot of good players. I’m sure they’re going to come out firing. So we’ve got to be ready.”
Klingberg’s go-ahead goal came two days after he was initially credited with the overtime goal in a 5-4 win that evened the series. But his hard shot grazed Alexander Radulov’s stick, and the Russian was eventually credited with the winner.
“It doesn’t matter who scores the goals,” said Klingberg, who ended with three assists in Game 4. “The big thing is to be up 3-2 in the series.”
Anton Khudobin made 28 stops, including a glove save on a good look for Erik Gustafsson in the final two minutes before the Flames called timeout and pulled Cam Talbot.
Calgary spent most of the remaining 1:52 in the offensive zone with the 6-on-5 advantage, then had a two-man edge for the final 21 seconds when Andrew Cogliano was called for slashing.
But the Flames couldn’t get a shot past Khudobin. In Game 4, Calgary gave up the tying goal when Joe Pavelski completed a hat trick with 11.9 seconds left in regulation.
“I’m confident we’re going to put a good game on the ice in Game 6,” coach Geoff Ward said. “The game demands that we do. I don’t expect anything less based on everything they’ve gone through.”
Elias Lindholm had a good chance to get the Flames even midway through the third, but his shot was deflected wide by Khudobin, who lost his stick after stabbing at the puck with it.
Klingberg’s wrist shot from above the right circle came on a pass from Mattias Janmark, who slid past defenders along the boards and found open space on the other side of the ice.
“He makes big-time plays,” Stars coach Rick Bowness said of Klingberg. “He’s got great skills. He’s got a tremendous amount of confidence in himself.”
Benn put the Stars in front 1-0 in the first period when he tipped in a pass from Seguin in the slot going full speed, just barely before running into the crossbar chest high, knocking the net loose as he tumbled to the ice.
“It’s an instinctive play,” Seguin said. “Been shooting a lot and just try to take them out and Jamie was going hard to the back post. The crossbar got the best of him there. It was a big hit, but a good goal.”
Mikael Backlund pulled Calgary even with his fourth goal of the playoffs, an unassisted tally when he beat Khudobin with a slap shot in the final minute of the first period.
Roope Hintz hit the crossbar shortly after Backlund’s goal, and the Stars had several good chances again at the end of the second period.
The Flames controlled the pace in the second period, but had just seven shots to show for it — the same number from Dallas’ dominant first period.
“I thought our guys were a little nervous in the first,” Ward said. “But I thought we did a good job regrouping, and I thought our game got stronger as the hockey game went on. And that third period was our best one.”
NOTES: Talbot had 30 saves. ... Stars D Stephen Johns and Flames LW Matthew Tkachuk were out again, as was Stars G Ben Bishop, who has been unfit to play the past three games. ... There were no penalties in a scoreless second period.