FGD R1-G1: Flames host Avalanche to kick off playoffs (8pm MT, CBC/SN West)

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s finally here. The playoffs begin tonight for the Calgary Flames.

Calgary Flames vs. Colorado Avalanche

Game 1 of the Best-of-Seven Western Conference Quarterfinal
Series is tied 0-0
Puck Drop: 8:00 p.m. MT
TV: CBC, Sportsnet West (and other regional feeds)
Radio: Sportsnet 960 The Fan
Odds: The Flames are moderate (-190) favourites, via OddsShark.

The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Bennett – Jankowski – Neal
Mangiapane – Ryan – Hathaway

Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Fantenberg – Andersson

Mike Smith starts for the Flames, backed up by David Rittich. Their scratches are Jon Gillies, Oliver Kylington, Juuso Valimaki, Dalton Prout, Michael Stone, Dillon Dube, Alan Quine and Austin Czarnik.

The Flames haven’t played a game since Saturday and haven’t played a meaningful game since the prior Sunday. Thus, the key for them will be establishing their game early and getting rid of whatever nervous energy they’ve accumulated over the past 11 days.

As the home team, Calgary gets last change. Expect Nathan MacKinnon to see a steady diet of Mikael Backlund and Mark Giordano, while Carl Soderberg’s line will see a lot of Sean Monahan and Travis Hamonic. Right now, the Flames are likely betting that their bottom six can out-score Colorado’s.

The Avalanche

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Landeskog – MacKinnon – Kerfoot
Wilson – Soderberg – Rantanen
Compher – Brassard – Jost
Nieto – Calvert – Bourque

Girard – Johnson
Zadorov – Barrie
Cole – Nemeth

Philipp Grubauer goes for the Avalanche, backed up by Semyon Varlamov. Their projected scratches are Sven Andrighetto, Ryan Graves and Mark Barberio.

The Avalanche were white-hot during the last part of the season, rolling along and basically forcing their way into the playoffs at the expense of the Arizona Coyotes and Minnesota Wild. They’ve been playing smart, energetic hockey since basically February and they’re used to its rigors.

Mikko Rantanen returns to the Avalanche lineup after missing the last eight games of the regular season. He’s going to be on a different line than MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog to make line matching a bit more challenging for the Flames.

The Officials

Tonight’s referees are Eric Furlatt and Dan O’Halloran. The linesmen are Mark Shewchyk and Matt McPherson. The standby official is Justin St. Pierre and the series supervisor is Bill McCreary. Furlatt and O’Halloran are tied for 34th in the league in penalties called per game.

With Furlatt officiating this season the Flames are 2-2 and the Avalanche are 1-3, while with O’Halloran the Flames are 6-0 and the Avalanche are 3-3.

The Numbers

Wins 50 38
Points 107 90
Adjusted Corsi 54.1% 49.9%
Power Play 19.3% 22.0%
Penalty Kill 79.7% 78.7%

Injury Report

The Flames are healthy.

The Avalanche are without Vladislav Kamenev.

Season Series

The Flames won all three games between these two teams in the regular season.

Know Thy Enemy

Your Avalanche Twitter follows for tonight:

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