This was not the Dallas Stars team we expected to see. It was better. Much better.
The Stars erupted for seven consecutive goals on Thursday night, for a series-clinching 7-3 win in Game 6 against the Calgary Flames.
Denis Gurianov led the way with four goals to help the Stars erase an early three-goal deficit.
It would have been almost impossible for the Stars to get off to a worse start in this game as they surrendered three goals before even attempting a shot.
Not a shot on goal. An attempted shot.
It was at that point that Stars coach Rick Bowness called a timeout, ripped into his team at the bench, and then sat back and watched the offensive onslaught unfold.
[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]
It all started to turn around when Flames forward Milan Lucic took an awful, careless, and just flat out ill-advised goaltender interference penalty by shoving a Stars defender into Anton Khudobin at the whistle. That gave the Stars a power play and an open door to walk through. They capitalized on that with a Miro Heiskanen goal late in the first period, setting the stage for a huge rally.
Gurianov scored his first two goals of the game three minutes into the second period to tie the game.
Following another Lucic penalty (this time for delay of game, puck over the glass) Radek Faska scored to give the Stars their first lead of the game, and they never looked back.
The Stars ended up scoring five of their seven goals in the second period.
It all wrapped up a series where the Stars offense erupted in a way we really have not seen this season. The Stars scored 21 goals in the six games, including at least five goals in three of them. This from a team that was one of the worst offensive teams in the league during the regular season and looked absolutely punchless in the Round Robin phase of the Return To Play.
Along with Gurianov’s four-goal effort, the Stars also received another absolutely massive game from Heiskanen as he finished with four points of his own (one goal, three assists).
As for the Flames, this is the second year in a row their postseason comes to an end in the First Round and it is worth wondering what sort of change they could be looking at this offseason. There always seems to be trade rumors swirling around some of their bigger names at the top of the lineup, but that really was not the problem this season and it certainly was not the problem on Thursday.
The problem on Thursday was Lucic — a player that was supposedly acquired specifically to give them more of an edge come playoff time — taking two horrific penalties and their goalies — Cam Talbot and David Rittich — giving up some fluky, weird, and bad goals in an elimination game.
The Stars will play the Colorado Avalanche in the Second Round.
No. 3 Dallas Stars vs. No. 6 Calgary Flames (Stars win series 4-2)
Tuesday, Aug. 11: Flames 3, Stars 2 (recap)
Thursday, Aug. 13: Stars 5, Flames 4 (recap)
Friday, Aug. 14: Flames 2, Stars 0 (recap)
Sunday, Aug. 16: Stars 5, Flames 4 (OT) (recap)
Tuesday, Aug. 18: Stars 2, Flames 1 (recap)
Thursday, Aug. 20: Stars 7 Flames 3
• Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round schedule
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.