Flames Stars Hockey

Dallas Stars left wing Michael Raffl, front left, and left wing Joel Kiviranta, front right, celebrate with their bench after Raffl scored a goal against the Calgary Flames during the second period of Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series, Friday in Dallas.

DALLAS (AP) — Joe Pavelski and the Dallas Stars were skating with urgency in the third period. If not, it could easily have been their last one of the season.

Miro Heiskanen scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period and the Stars recovered after blowing an early two-goal lead, beating the Calgary Flames 4-2 on Friday night to force a deciding Game 7 in their first-round Western Conference series.

“The message was we’ve got to have a good third. We haven’t always had good thirds at times with the lead, and we wanted to kind of try to turn that,” Pavelski said. “The other night, they came out hard in the third and we didn’t handle it well enough. And tonight was one of those situations where I think everyone bought in. We took a step in the right direction of doing it.”

Calgary was in position to close out the wild-card Stars after a 3-1 home win in Game 5 on Wednesday night, when the Pacific Division champions scored all of their goals in the third period.

This series instead is going back to the Saddledome for a deciding Game 7 on Sunday (8:30 p.m., TV: ESPN2).

“A hell of a game. We couldn’t get the equalizer,” a rather-terse Calgary coach Darryl Sutter said.

The first goal in these playoffs for Heiskanen came on a 40-foot shot with a bunch of traffic in front of Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom. That came with 2:28 left in the second period, in which both teams scored twice.

With their season on the line, the Stars didn’t give in during the third period.

“We went after them instead of sitting back. ... That was one of our better third periods of the year, and it was a timely one,” Michael Raffl said.

“That was NHL playoff hockey at its best. That was a great hockey game,” coach Rick Bowness said. “Both teams, both goalies, were great.”

Calgary will host a Game 7 for the first time since 2006, when it lost its first-round series to Anaheim. This is the third consecutive playoffs that the Stars will play a Game 7 — they beat Colorado in the second round in the NHL bubble in Canada two seasons ago, and lost at St. Louis in a second-round series that went the full distance in 2019.

Roope Hintz and Raffl also scored for Dallas, and Tyler Seguin added an empty-netter in the final minute. Jake Oettinger, their 23-year-old goalie who had never started a playoff game before this series, stopped 36 shots.

Markstrom also had 36 saves.

Calgary tied the game at 2 with 8:01 left in the second period on a goal by Mikael Backlund, which came 1 second after the end of what officially went down as another unsuccessful power play in this series when both teams have struggled with a man advantage.

 
 

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