Toffoli scores late winner as Flames burn Stars 5-4
DALLAS (AP) — Calgary Flames forward Tyler Toffoli took a peek at the clock as he was charging down the middle of the ice toward the Dallas net.
“I saw that I had enough time to kind of do whatever I wanted, and obviously made the right choice,” Toffoli said.
Toffoli scored on a breakaway with 6.2 seconds left as the Flames beat Central Division-leading Dallas 5-4 on Monday night for their first win in six games after giving up a two-goal lead in the third period. His 26th goal was a wrister past Jake Oettinger after getting the puck from Jonathan Huberdeau.
Nick Ritchie scored a goal in his debut for Calgary after being part of the NHL’s first brother-for-brother trade, though his boarding penalty with just under three minutes left gave Dallas a late power play on which they failed to capitalize.
“Some back and forth there, having a lead and giving it up, but got it done at the end,” Ritchie said. “I think we deserved to win that one.”
Nikita Zadorov, Elias Lindholm and Rasmus Andersson also scored goals for the wild-card-chasing Flames, who were 0-3-2 in their previous five games.
Jason Robertson scored his 38th goal for Dallas, and Roope Hintz got his 30th on a short-hander. Max Domi got his first goal for the Stars since getting traded from the Blackhawks right after Dallas had played in Chicago last Thursday night, tying the game at 2-2 in the second period.
“Tonight definitely stung,” Stars centre Tyler Seguin said. “They’re a good hockey team, they played well. And, you know, they always play well against us, and had our number as of late.”
The Flames won 6-5 in Dallas on Jan. 14, their first meeting since Calgary's overtime goal in Game 7 to beat the Stars in the first round of last season's Western Conference playoffs.
Hintz scored his short-hander midway through the third period before captain Jamie Benn's 26th goal with just under six minutes left tied the game at 4.
“It’s disappointing, especially crawling back in the game. I didn’t love our game all night,” Stars coach Peter DeBoer said. “We played in spurts, but not for long enough. We were fortunate to be tied at that point, but credit to our group. We didn’t pack it in, and we battled back. It’s a tough way to lose and to give that up. It’s probably a symptom of our whole game tonight — awareness and execution was off a little bit.”
Huberdeau also assisted on Ritchie’s goal less than four minutes into the game. Oettinger had stopped his shot but was unable to gather in the puck, which was just beyond his skate in the crease, when Ritchie swiped it in for a 1-0 lead.
“That felt good obviously," Ritchie said. “Getting a goal early helped the rest of the game."
Calgary acquired the 27-year-old Ritchie just before the trade deadline Friday from Arizona for his old brother, Brett. The younger Ritchie had scored nine goals in 58 games for the Coyotes. Brett Richie, who turns 30 on July 1, is about 2 1/2 years older.
Oettinger had 32 saves. Jacob Markstrom had 29 for the Flames, but gave up the short-hander to Hintz midway through the third period that got Dallas within 4-3.
Zadorov put the Flames up 2-0 in the second with his laser shot from the circle to the left of Oettinger after a cross-ice pass from Troy Stecher, the defenceman was also part of the deal with the Ritchie brothers. … Only twice before in Flames franchise history have they scored game-winning goals with less time remaining in regulation. They had two wins with four seconds left in the 1998-99 season. … Domi, who had 18 goals in 60 games with the Blackhawks, had a 40-foot wrister through traffic ricochet off the left post earlier in the second period. He made his Stars debut on Saturday. … Robertson has 80 points this season, joining Hall of Famer Mike Modano and Seguin as the only Dallas players to have 80 points at age 23 or younger. … Benn also had an assist for his 200th career multi-point game.
Flames: Wrap up a back-to-back on the road at Minnesota on Tuesday night.
Stars: Play their next six games on the road, starting Thursday night at Buffalo.
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Stephen Hawkins, The Associated Press