For the second time in three years, the Stars and Flames will be going head to head in the playoffs. They say that rivalries are built in the playoffs. So why not this one? Plus the teams already have a history together that revolves around a certain former player/hall of famer: Joe Nieuwendyk.
First we look back to 2020 in the bubble. For the first round after the Stars would round robin they draw the Calgary Flames who had just defeated the Winnipeg Jets in the qualifying round. The Stars would go on to win the series 4-2 after trailing 2-1 in the best of seven series. This series for Dallas fans was highlighted by the four goal explosion from Denis Gurionov in the series finale.
For this year, the biggest matchup on paper is going to be how the top lines stack up against the other team’s defense. Most people will be looking to these two lines for point production, and goals. Home teams have the advantage of line matchups with the last line change. However with the Stars, Roope Hintz has earned himself as a dependable two way forward.
“Roope, he’s the guy right now, he’s our best forward on both ends of the ice,” Bowness said. “When he’s on, he’s tough to stop. You talk about [Colorado’s Nathan] Mackinnon and [Edmonton’s Connor] McDavid, they’re elite, but you get Roope going and he’s as fast as any of them, he’s as powerful as any of them and he’s as exciting to watch as any of them.”
For the history between the two teams we start with a pivotal trade that would go on to benefit both clubs. Joe Nieuwendyk won a Stanley Cup with the Flames in 1989, and would go on to do so again with the Stars ten years later.
Before this year’s playoffs, the team’s have met twice in the playoffs. Both times the Stars’ franchise would go on to the Stanley Cup Finals. Both as the Minnesota North Stars, and the Dallas Stars. We very well could see one of these teams make a run at the Stanley Cup. Dallas plays with that playoff calibur type of defensive, and physical play. Calgary is about as good of an all around team you’re going to find in the NHL.
And of course, you’re not going to find a good playoff rivalry without some fisticuffs bring thrown around during a game. Fights like these are when teams come together, and develop a competitive hate for the opponent. Such as when Matthew Tkachuk, a guy known to play aggressively, hits John Klingberg then fellow Star Michael Raffl goes after Tkachuk to stand up for his teammate, and helps to keep the game honest.
John Klingberg in particular has become the villain for the Flames, and the fans of Calgary. Getting hit alot, a fight, and being the recipient of alot of boos at the Saddle dome. He could very well be the leading face of this rivalry.
While John Klingberg has been getting the headlines for his sponge like play and unfamiliar physicality it is Joe Pavelski, and Jake Oettinger who are leading the Stars as they are currently up two games to one in their best of seven series vs the Flames. Next game on deck is Monday May 9th at 8:30 central time.
Featured photo: Candace Ward/USA Today Sports