The Calgary Flames returned to the Saddledome trying to extend their postseason. With their backs against the wall, the Flames needed to string together three straight wins to get past the Colorado Avalanche.
Johnny Gaudreau came out flying last night, doing everything he could to bring his team back into the series. While skating in on a breakaway, Cale Makar hooked Gaudreau, which led to a penalty shot. Slowing down the play and trying to deke out Philipp Grubauer didn’t work, and the Avalanche still held their lead.
Gaudreau had another breakaway soon after, this time with much more room. However, he ripped a shot wide. Unfortunately, as it goes in hockey, Mikko Rantanen instead scored when the play shifted to the Flames’ zone to put the visitors up 2-0.
A late period goal from T.J. Brodie with less than six seconds remaining brought the score to 2-1 and gave the Flames and the fans a glimmer of hope.
The Flames came out in the second ablaze, trying to tie the game up and get momentum back on their side. For the first time in a few games, the Flames looked like their dominant selves again.
Unluckily for the Flames, they were caught in their own zone with tired players after sustaining good pressure. Being unable to clear the puck led to a turnover, in which a quick passing play between Rantanen and Colin Wilson resulted in the third Colorado goal of the night.
That third goal sunk spirits, but the Flames weren’t giving up just yet. They pushed back again. Midway through the second, Gaudreau seemingly scored from behind the net, but the goal was immediately waved off for goaltender interference. Sam Bennett and Erik Johnson both went towards the net in the play and made contact with Grubauer.
In a questionable review of the goal, the call on the ice stood and the score remained 3-1. Later in the second, the Avalanche extended their lead on the power play, Wilson tipping Nathan MacKinnon‘s shot.
Heading into the third down by three, the Flames needed to rally. A power play goal from Rantanen less than one minute into the third virtually sealed the deal for the Avalanche, who beat the Flames 5-1, final score. The Avalanche will head into the second round, while the Flames’ season is officially over.
|All Situations||5v5||5v5 SVA|
5v5 Player Stats
- Mark Giordano had a game-high 73.1% CF
- Noah Hanifin and Travis Hamonic conversely had game-low 26.7% and 28.6% CF, respectively
- Gaudreau had four individual scoring chances for, and Elias Lindholm had three individual high-danger CF
- Tyson Jost had a team-high 66.7% CF
- Wilson posted a 35.0% CF and had a 5v5 goal to show for it
- Wilson, Rantanen, and Landeskog each had three individual high-danger CF
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick
Gaudreau – Monahan – Bennett
Tkachuk – Backlund – Lindholm
Frolik – Jankowski – Czarnik
Mangiapane – Ryan – Hathaway
Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Valimaki – Andersson
Landeskog – MacKinnon – Kerfoot
Wilson – Soderberg – Rantanen
Nieto – Calvert – Compher
Andrighetto – Jost – Bourque
Cole – Johnson
Zadorov – Barrie
Makar – Nemeth
Stats courtesy: DailyFaceoff
Thoughts on the Game
The Flames were beat and it wasn’t due to a lack of trying. They played a good game, but for every mistake they made, the Avalanche took full advantage.
All series long, some questionable calls have been beyond frustrating. That overturned Gaudreau goal was baffling, especially given a goaltender interference call that remained a good goal in last night’s other game between the Bruins and Leafs. The inconsistencies will forever draw ire.
However, the Avalanche game to play. Sometimes the better team will lose. Ask the Lightning. The Flames will learn a lot from this experience and will hopefully come out even strong and better for seasons to come. They just couldn’t beat a team over a stretch of four games. It happens.
Despite being heavy underdogs, the Avalanche were simply better for the past four games. Credit given where it is due. MacKinnon, Rantanen, and Landeskog found the torrid scoring touch they had to start the year. Grubauer settled down after Game 1 and was essentially lights out. Even Jared Bednar seemed to find ways to make line matching a nightmare for Bill Peters.
All in all, it’s been one of the most fun seasons to enjoy as a Flames fan. On the next one.
The Gaud, the Bad, and the Ugly
Good: Gaudreau was keeping his team in the game with everything he could muster. No need to get rash on reactions. He’s a guy you want on your team come playoffs.
Bad: Call it whatever you want, the amount of literal bad luck that was bestowed on the Flames really turned the tide on this one.
Ugly: A jersey was thrown on the ice. Extremely not cool.
October 2019. The Flames will be back.
Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images