The Calgary Flames might have won the game, advancing to the second round of the playoffs in a dramatic overtime finish that had hockey fans everywhere on the edge of their seats, but Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger was the story of the night.
The Flames threw 63 shots at Oettinger in a tremendous Game 7 performance, with the 23-year-old putting on a goaltending clinic for the ages that, despite the outcome, may very well signal the rise of the NHL's next great netminder.
Oettinger's 60-save performance, alas, was ultimately in vain, as Johnny Gaudreau scored the decisive goal at 15:09 of the first overtime period to punch Calgary's ticket to the second round and confirm the Battle of Alberta that everyone had been waiting for.
The Flames are certainly feeling confident heading into their historic bout with their provincial rivals.
Calgary's big guns showed up in spades on Sunday night, with both Tyler Toffoli and Matthew Tkachuk finally scoring their first goals of the playoffs, while Gaudreau chipped in just his second of the series. The Stars did a mighty fine job of shutting down the Flames' top-line players for the bulk of a series they otherwise shouldn't have had any chance in. But they could only bend so far before they broke, and Game 7 dealt the final blow.
Now, the Stars will head into the offseason with an aging roster and a number of questions regarding their offensive depth, as they finish the season as one of the more top-heavy teams in the NHL. The good news, at least, is their goaltending position is more than solid. Every cloud has a silver lining.
According to an official NHL release following the game, Game 1 of Flames vs Oilers will kick off in Calgary on Wednesday at 9:30 PM EST.
You won't want to miss it.