No. 2: When it mattered the most, the Calgary Flames key players stepped up in a timely fashion.
All season long, Sutter preached about wanting secondary scoring. Guys like forwards Dillon Dube, Mikael Backlund, and even Tyler Toffoli needed to do better down the stretch.
All of a sudden the need wasn’t just secondary scoring. The need from Sutter was to have his star players show up, like Matthew Tkachuk.
The 40-goal scorer finally did what everyone was begging him to do:
A breakout pass from Markstrom to the stick of Gaudreau got the Flames on a rush to Oettinger’s glove side. Gaudreau glided to the slot and tucked the puck to Tkachuk who then sniped it top shelf over the shoulder for the game-tying goal.
It was Tkachuk’s first goal of the playoffs and couldn’t have come at a better time. But he wasn’t the only one with his first of the postseason.
Tyler Toffoli, who started hot with the Flames in February, finally got on the board. His goal got Calgary on the board but it was short-lived as Dallas scored a few seconds after. Nonetheless, it was a much-needed “monkey off the back” moment for Toffoli.
I’ve been a believer in ‘you don’t need to put up points to be productive.’
Though they were held off the scoresheet in Game 7, both the third and fourth lines played physically and kept Dallas at bay for most of the series.
Also, a special mention to forward Elias Lindholm. He started this series on a roll and was able to be a productive player on the top line.