117Mangiapane and Andersson
Photo Credit: Candice Ward/USA Today Sports

Post-Game: Flames edge Avalanche in Game 1

For the first time in two seasons, the Scotiabank Saddledome hosted Stanley Cup playoff hockey on Thursday night. In a game that was at times quite a scramble, the Calgary Flames took Game 1 of their first round series with a 4-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche.

The Rundown

The opening 20 minutes had no scoring, as each side tried to feel each other out. Neither side gave the other a ton of daylight at even strength, but both teams had first period power plays. The Flames had one, but couldn’t score on three shots.

The Avalanche had a pair of man advantages, but their very dangerous puck-moving PP – Nathan MacKinnon, Alexander Kerfoot, Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog and Tyson Barrie – were held at bay by Calgary’s penalty killers. Colorado had lots of zone time, but couldn’t translate that into scoring opportunities.

Shots were 6-2 Flames at one point, but ended up at 7-6 Avalanche for the period. Scoring chances were 5-4 Avalanche.

The Flames survived an early second period Colorado power play – Mike Smith made a pair of showy glove saves during the kill – and then gradually built their even strength swagger back up. Eventually, the dam burst and this game had its first goal.

At the end of a bit of scrambly back-and-forth hockey, Andrew Mangiapane strode into the offensive zone, collected a loose puck along the boards and went right to the net. With Derek Ryan tangling with a defender out front, Mangiapane went wide and waited out Philipp Grubauer – eventually backhanding a puck into the yawning cage to make it 1-0 Flames.

The Flames kept pressing after taking the lead and eventually the fourth line drew a penalty. On the ensuing power play, Matthew Tkachuk deflected a Mark Giordano point shot past Grubauer to make it a 2-0 game. The goal was challenged by Colorado on the basis of goaltender interference – Tkachuk was momentarily tangled up with the goalie a bit before the shot – but the challenge failed and the goal stood.

Shots were 13-8 Flames and scoring chances 7-2 Flames in the second period.

The Avalanche pressed to get on the board in the third period, but the Flames hung in there and continued to weather the storm. Eventually the Avalanche took another penalty – tripping up Gaudreau in the neutral zone – and Mikael Backlund slid a puck through traffic (and Grubauer) to give the Flames a 3-0 lead.

Tkachuk added an empty net goal to make the final score 4-0 Flames. Smith got the primary assist for collective an Avalanche dump-in and making a crisp pass to Tkachuk at the top of the defensive face-off circle.

Shots were 13-11 Flames in the third, while scoring chances were 9-9.

Why the Flames Won

The Flames weren’t amazing in this game, as they took three consecutive penalties (in the first and second periods) that really gave the Avalanche a ton of zone time, puck touches and in-game momentum. But they weathered the storm via some strong penalty killing and good netminding from Smith.

Then they did what deep teams tend to do: let their depth take over. The fourth line scored a goal and drew a penalty that led to a power play goal.

Red Warrior

It’s gotta be Tkachuk. The Flames forward was a menace throughout this game with his physicality, his offensive presence, and overall demeanor just put the Avalanche group off their game all evening.

But we’ve also got to tip our collective hats to Smith, who was superb when called upon.

The Turning Point

The late second period goal gave the Flames a two goal lead heading into the intermission, but also compounded a brief segment of this game where Colorado’s mistakes rapidly ended up in the back of their net.

The Numbers

(Percentage stats are 5-on-5, data via Natural Stat Trick)

Player Corsi
Neal 66.7 28.6 0.375
Monahan 65.0 50.0 0.540
Gaudreau 59.1 50.0 0.650
Andersson 59.1 30.8 0.950
Mangiapane 57.1 62.5 1.150
Lindholm 57.1 57.1 1.100
Bennett 53.9 42.9 0.995
Giordano 51.6 58.3 0.950
Hamonic 51.6 60.0 0.425
Hanifin 51.4 46.2 0.200
Tkachuk 50.0 50.0 1.925
Frolik 50.0 50.0 0.105
Fantenberg 50.0 36.4 0.175
Hathaway 47.4 57.1 0.295
Backlund 46.5 50.0 1.035
Brodie 46.3 46.7 -0.250
Jankowski 44.4 25.0 0.045
Ryan 40.9 50.0 0.035
Smith 2.600

This and That

Continuing the pattern from the second half of the season, Matthew Tkachuk wore the second alternate captain’s A for the Flames. Sean Monahan had the other A, while Mark Giordano (obviously) wore the C.

Up Next

Game 2 of this Best-of-Seven series goes Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. MT at the Scotiabank Saddledome.