Back from illness, Brian Elliott leads Calgary Flames past Dallas Stars

By Jeff MacKinnon, The Sports Xchange   |   March 18, 2017 at 8:44 AM
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CALGARY, Alberta -- Brian Elliott got back in his routine on Friday, won the battle with the flu and beat the Dallas Stars.

The Flames goalie returned from his sick bed to make 24 saves and earn his 10th consecutive win as Calgary posted a 3-1 win.

Elliott missed Calgary's loss to the Bruins on Wednesday, and he was 6:39 from his third shutout in his past four games. The Flames' franchise-record-tying, 10-game winning streak ended against Boston.

"You're not in a normal routine of eating and drinking and getting all the nutrients you usually get in, but I wanted to get back in there," Elliott said. "It felt good to get another win and move onto a big game on Sunday (against the Los Angeles Kings)."

The Flames (40-27-4) got a huge game from their captain, Mark Giordano, who had a goal and two assists. Matthew Tkachuk and Michael Frolik also scored, and Tkachuk added an assist.

Brett Ritchie replied for Dallas (28-33-10), which lost three of four on its road trip. Ritchie beat Elliott through the pads after scooping up a TJ Brodie blunder in the Calgary end. Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen stopped 21 shots.

The Stars stumbled after a solid effort the night before in Vancouver, where they won 4-2.

"We were feeling a lot more positive about our group after last night's game," said Dallas defenseman Dan Hamhuis, who finished with a minus-3 rating Friday. "I think we came into this game with a good attitude and were ready to go. This is just one of those nights where we made too many mistakes and it cost us."

Frolik opened the scoring at 16:07 of the first period when he took a pass from Mikael Backlund and picked the corner to Lehtonen's glove side from 20 feet out. Frolik also hit the post later in the period and accounted for two of Calgary's six shots over the first 20 minutes.

The Stars did not mount much of an attack in the first period and were stuck on one shot until there were less than three minutes to go before the break. They finished the period with five shots.

Tkachuk made it 2-0 at 5:20 of the second when Giordano's shot went in off his skate. Lehtonen got another tough break 3:12 later when Giordano's seemingly harmless shot from the point hit Hamhuis and found the net.

Calgary hopped back over Edmonton by a point into third place in the Pacific Division with the Oilers having a game in hand. The Flames are tied with Anaheim for second, but the Ducks have a game in hand on Calgary.

"I think it was important to get the two points tonight," Giordano said. "I think after a long streak, every (point) that you give back feels like it takes away from your streak. To get right back in the win column was huge."

Giordano called Elliott's performance gutsy.

"I think he was feeling it a bit tonight, too, and he wasn't 100 percent," he said. "He stood on his head again. Again, it's those key saves at those key moments when he always seems to come up big."

The Stars were without captain Jamie Benn because of an eye injury. Benn sustained the injury Thursday night during a fight with Nikita Tryamkin in Vancouver. The left winger took a glove in the eye from the 6-foot-7 defenseman.

"He got scratched, saw the eye doctor, got a glove in the eye," Stars coach Lindy Ruff told the team's website before the game.

Ruff said he believed Benn would only miss one game.

"You take your top player out of the lineup and obviously it hurts," Stars center Jason Spezza said. "We hope to have him back soon."

NOTES:

-- Former Flames RW Jiri Hudler was inserted into the Stars' lineup to replace F Jamie Benn. Hudler was a healthy scratch the previous five contests and 16 of the past 23.

-- Other Dallas scratches were D Jamie Oleksiak and LW Antoine Roussel.

-- The Flames became the first team to have at least 12 players with double-digit goals this season when RW Alex Chiasson scored his 10th on Wednesday.

-- With G Brian Elliott back in the lineup, G Jon Gillies was among the scratches for Calgary. He was an emergency recall Wednesday and will likely be returned to AHL Stockton on Saturday.

-- Calgary's other healthy scratches were D Dennis Wideman, C Curtis Lazar, C Freddie Hamilton and D Rasmus Andersson.

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