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Flames Miss Injured Veteran Defenceman Tanev Early

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If you need proof of how much better the Calgary Flames are with Chris Tanev in the lineup, take a look at the first period of Game 7.

Not at the shot clock. Maybe not even at the scoreboard. But certainly at the quality of chances the Dallas Stars enjoyed in the Flames end.

With their defensive stalwart sitting out to nurse an undisclosed injury, the Calgary Flames leaned heavily on goaltender Jacob Markstrom. And the backstop did his part to prevent the winner-take-all matchup from becoming an early blowout.

The Flames led 17-8 on the shot clock but the majority of those were easily handled by the Stars’ 23-year-old rookie netminder Jake Oettinger.

At the other end, Markstrom was riddled with high danger chances.

Jamie Benn scored his first of the series just 40 seconds in on a dump and chase play.

It was the only puck that beat Markstrom in the period but so many others came close.

Markstrom stopped Joe Pavelski twice from in close as he outmuscled his coverage.

Benn nearly had his second of the night during the Stars push for some padding in the second half of the frame.

Saddledome villain John Klingberg also had a stellar opportunity but was rejected by Markstrom’s left pad.

Oliver Kylington was paired with Michael Stone. That might be a solid third pairing, but it’s not ideal behind Hanifin and Andersson. The top pairing typically splits shutdown duties with Tanev, but they don’t have that luxury tonight.

Tanev was questionable coming in after leaving Game 6 with an unknown ailment shortly after Stars forward Michael Raffl fell on him following his goal in the second period.

In order to get him back, the Calgary Flames will need to rally to get to Round Two.

“He’s a warrior,” Tkachuk said after the morning skate. “The way he works, the way he puts everything on the line each and every game. He’s had an unbelievable year for us. I don’t know what the deal is with him with tonight or anything, but he’s played so well for us all year and is a guy who does everything. Blocked shots, PK’s, never complains. Does all the work and is a leader behind the scenes, which is very important for us.”

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