With defencemen John Klingberg and Rasmus Andersson both in the starting lineup, you knew things could get interesting early. But it was Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk who made the opening statement.
Responding to Klingberg’s post-game comments from Game 1, suggesting the Stars would “go after” Andersson after the two got tossed from Tuesday’s contest, Tkachuk saw an opportunity on his first shift.
Johnny Gaudreau didn’t hear a whistle blowing down an offside play and went in to score on the breakaway. That drew a crowd around the Calgary Flames star. Which also provided Tkachuk the window he needed to pounce on Klingberg.
The beating was more verbal than physical. Tkachuk did his best to pull Klingberg’s head out of the clutches of the officials. Failing that, he berated the big blueliner on the way to the penalty box.
Tkachuk played down the war of words on Wednesday when asked about Klingberg’s comments.
“I don’t even know what that means, going after somebody. But I think we’ve got enough guys who can handle ourselves outside of Ras, who can handle himself quite well,” Tkachuk said.
But he had more words for Klingberg while up close and personal.
A wild sequence after the first buzzer created all this drama, with Tkachuk fighting Michael Raffl and then Andersson and Klingberg dropping the gloves as a secondary scrap. That earned them both game misconducts.
The Flames were extremely physical during the opening 20 minutes but found themselves trailing 1-0 after the first period after veteran Joe Pavelski redirected a Jason Robertson shot from the point.
An uncharacteristic giveaway on a messy breakout led to the opportunity and the Calgary Flames were generally out of sync with the Stars dominating five-on-five play.
That was a strong point for both teams during the regular season.