Dallas Stars even series with 2-0 win over Calgary Flames

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Jake Oettinger earned a shutout in just his second playoff start for the Dallas Stars in a 2-0 win over the Calgary Flames on Thursday to even their playoff series at 1-1.

The 23-year-old Oettinger from Lakeville, Minn., stopped all 29 shots he faced in a sea of red at the sold-out Saddledome.

“The only thing that matters is wins. They have a great goalie on the other end and we know it’s going to be tight, so the margin for error for me is very slim,” Oettinger said.

Joe Pavelski scored and Michael Raffl added an empty-net goal for the Stars, who host the Flames in Saturday’s Game 3 and Monday’s Game 4 at American Airlines Center in the best-of-seven conference quarterfinal.

“Our goal was to go into Dallas and win two games anyway, so it doesn’t really change our mindset,” said Flames forward Tyler Toffoli.

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Read more: Calgary Flames claim victory over Stars in playoff series opener

Calgary opened the series with a 1-0 win Tuesday and the series continued to be a defensive battle in Game 2. Calgary’s Jacob Markstrom stopped 21 of 22 shots in Thursday’s loss.

Calgary (50-21-11) finished first in the Pacific Division, while Dallas (46-30-6) earned the top wild-card seed in the Western Conference.

The Flames outshot the Stars 12-7 in the third period, but Dallas didn’t give up chances from close range.

With Markstrom pulled for an extra attacker, Raffl scored into an empty net with 69 seconds remaining in the game.

“We had a lot (of shots) from the outside I think from our top guys,” Flames head coach Darryl Sutter said. “They’ve got to be more around the goalie.”

Read more: Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk aims to be a playoff difference maker

Outplayed in the opening period, Calgary generated more offence and an 11-7 edge in shots in the second. The Flames were denied by Oettinger, however, and didn’t get their sticks on the few rebounds the Dallas goaltender allowed.

“They’re a good defensive team. I thought we had plenty of scoring chances tonight,” Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau said. “Their goalie played well. A couple of two-on-ones, breakaway, thought we did a good job in their own zone, but got to score, got to bear down and put the puck in the net (starting) with myself.”

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In a bid to generate more offence, Stars head coach Rick Bowness continued to play forwards Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin on separate lines as he did in the second and third period of Game 1.

“Not a lot of room out there,” Bowness said. “There’s not a lot of room for them or us. You’ve got to work for everything you get.”

Dallas mustered more hits (25) in the first 40 minutes than they did in Game 1 (20) for a total of 36. The Flames had 21 giveaways to the Stars’ eight.

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The visitors outshot the Flames 9-6 in the opening period and strengthened their forecheck to slow Calgary coming out of its own zone.

After not registering a shot on net in Game 1, Pavelski scored the first goal of the series for the Stars at 7:47 of the first period on a defensive-zone turnover by the Flames.

Defenceman Noah Hanifin put the puck off the boards and onto the stick of Jason Robertson inside the blue line. Pavelski deflected Robertson’s shot over Markstrom’s glove.

A Gaudreau breakaway goal 43 seconds after puck drop was waived off for offside.

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Calgary winger Matthew Tkachuk and Stars defenceman John Klingberg renewed hostilities from the first game in which Tkachuk hammered Klingberg into the boards behind Calgary’s net late in the first period.

Tkachuk cross-checked Klingberg, who took a roughing penalty, in the aftermath of Gaudreau’s disallowed goal to send both men to the box.

The Stars were held scoreless on a pair of power-play chances and were 0-for-7 in the first two games of the series. The Flames went 0-for-3 on Thursday and scored once on eight power-play opportunities over the opening two games.

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