Flames gain some serious mojo with monumental ‘Dismantling in Dallas’

The Calgary Flames mounted a three goal third period comeback to defeat the Dallas Stars 4-3.

There are wins, and then there are, well, we’ll let Kirk Muller tell ya.

“I think someone said, ‘the only thing better than a win is a comeback win,’” said the Calgary Flames’ associate coach Tuesday night. “We don’t have a lot of those this year.”

In fact, they had none.

Entering the second-last game before their All-Star break, the Flames had posted an 0-9-1 record when trailing after two periods.

Then came the Dismantling in Dallas – a come-from-behind victory that could end up proving so monumental this season it’s deserving of a name.

Down 3-1 with less than five minutes to play, the Flames scored three goals in a 3:37 span to claim a rare victory at American Airlines Centre.

The capper came courtesy of Oliver Kylington who jumped from the penalty box into a 3-on-2 rush with Rasmus Andersson and that saw the trio exchange a remarkable five passes from the blue line in before the breakthrough defenceman put the Flames up 4-3 with a finish past a thoroughly confused Jake Oettinger.

Think Harlem Globetrotters on ice.

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It started with Andersson behind the Flames net, moved up the Flames half wall to Johnny Gaudreau who fed Elias Lindholm at the Flames blue line. He threw it up to Kylington before the puck went back to Lindholm, over to Kylington, back to Andersson and finally to Kylington for the finish.

Asked what was going through his head on the bench as they played hot potato before sniping the winner with 1:47 left, Andrew Mangiapane was frank.

“’Somebody shoot the puck,’” he smiled. “I think there was, whatever, six passes going back and fourth.

“It was a pretty play, but I think on the bench we just wanted somebody to finally shoot the puck. I’m happy it worked out. Great goal.”

Great win for a club that has now managed to piece together wins in three of its last four, with one game left in Arizona Wednesday before the break.

This club has one last chance to build some serious mojo before heading into a second half that promises to be a whirlwind.

“Finding ways to win is important, especially this time of the season and from now to the end of the season,” said Muller. “Again, building on that last game (a 1-0 overtime win against Vancouver), that was really on the players to grab it and say, ‘we have to find a way to get points before the All-Star break.’

“Dallas took points from us last time and we had to get them this time.

“We’ve got to stay the course and play to our identity. It was a big win for our group.”

It was a win few could have seen coming after 40 minutes of seeing the Stars break out of their zone without having to fight through the relentless forecheck the Flames see as their calling card.

Cue an interesting coaching maneuver.

Just days after saying he had never even considered playing Dan Vladar on the most recent back-to-backs due to his three straight losses and Jacob Markstrom’s light workload, suddenly the backup was thrust into the mix to start the third.

Saving all five shots he faced, including a clutch pad save on a Joe Pavelski redirect with 48 seconds remaining, Vladar helped spark the victory.

“Sometimes you’ve got to give the guys a bit of a message,” explained Muller, who spoke on Sutter’s behalf after the game. “It was a good move by Darryl. It had nothing to do with (Markstrom).

We had back-to-backs. It’s like, ‘hey, we’ve got a new guy coming in and you better play hard for him. It was a good call.”

You can bet Vladar will get that call again Wednesday in the desert. Mangiapane got the comeback started with his 20th late in the third, before Johnny Gaudreau’s 18th tied it 37 seconds later.

Three minutes elapsed between that point and Kylington’s winner, with a Kylington penalty sandwiched in between.

“Ya, I was praying there in the penalty box,” he laughed when asked of his emotional roller coaster. “My heart rate was pretty high out there. I was just hoping we’d get the kill.”

What followed was, well, a shockingly brilliant passing display that saw Andersson put his head down and race 180 feet up ice to set up.

“I wasn’t thinking much – I thought everyone who was touching the puck made a great play,” added Kylington, whose fifth goal was his first game-winner of the year. “We said going into the third, ‘we have a good group of guys and we believe in each other. I thought we showed a lot of character in the third and (then) we dominated the game.

“I was just happy to see the puck in the net.”


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