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Western Conference Playoffs Round One Preview: Game 4, Calgary Flames vs Colorado Avalanche

Time for the Flames stars to wake up or they’ll be playing golf with the Lightning before you know it.



Western Conference Playoffs Round 1: Game 4

Calgary Flames  vs Colorado Avalanche , 8:00 PM MT, Pepsi Center, Denver CO

TV: NBCSN, CBC, TVAS – Radio: Sportsnet 960

Colorado leads the series 2-1

If the Flames don’t want to go by the way of Tampa Bay then they better start playing better hockey. The Western Conference regular season champs find themselves in a 2-1 hole and things aren’t looking too good. Is the sky falling and doom and gloom everywhere, no. But if the Flames want to get themselves to Round 2 they better pull their heads from their rears and start playing hockey like the know how.

The Flames are barely getting any contributions from Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm so far in this series and it’s high time they get their act together. That trio combined for 259 points on the season, yet they’ve been no show’s in this opening round series. Sean Monahan has the lone goal from those three and Gaudreau and Lindholm have combined for only three assists. It’s all well and good that the Flames are getting secondary scoring, but if this team plans on playing hockey anytime after this week, their superstars better get going and in a hurry.

Speaking of super stars, the Avalanche have to be thrilled with their big guns. Nathan MacKinnon has owned the Flames in the last two games and Colorado is getting points out of Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen. The Flames had zero answer for that trio and if they are just getting warmed up, the Av’s could make things very miserable for the Flames. Colorado also took the body to Calgary in Game 3, throwing 36 checks at the Flames and they upped the scrum activity as well. The Av’s took 36 penalty minutes to Calgary’s 50, but they absolutely showed the Flames they aren’t afraid of or impressed with the regular season champs.

Lost in all this has been the play of Mike Smith. If you put ANY of the blame on him for Monday night’s mess, you clearly didn’t watch the game. Colorado fired 56 shots at the Flames netminder and he stopped 50 of them. There really isn’t much more you could have asked Smith to do as the rest of the Flames, outside of Sam Bennett, were trash in front of him. Seeing he wasn’t pulled to start the third, you’d have to think Bill Peters goes right back to him tonight. Smith has been the LEAST of Calgary’s problems in the three games so far.

Starting Goalies (E=Expected, C=Confirmed)

Flames: Smith (E)- 1-2, 2.87 GAA, .926 Save%

Avalanche: Grubauer (E)- 2-1, 2.24 GAA, .928 Save%

Team Leaders

Flames: Goals- Tkachuk (2), Points- Bennett (4), PIM- Tkachuk (16), Save%- Smith (.926)

Avalanche: Goals- MacKinnon (3), Points- MacKinnon (4). PIM- Zadorov (12), Save%- Grubauer (.928)

What’s Happening With The Opposition?

Colorado Avalanche Coverage: Mile High Hockey

Last Time Out

Calgary Flames 2 – Colorado Avalanche 6

Players To Watch

Calgary Flames

Sam Bennett (C/F): 1G – 3A in this series

Colorado Avalanche

Cale Makar (D): scored in his first NHL game on his first shot

by Mark Parkinson