The Calgary Flames beat the Colorado Avalanche by a 4-0 score on Thursday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinal series. Here are selected reactions from players and coaches following the game.
Mike Smith has a good game
There have been two Mike Smiths for the Flames this season. One has been very good, while the other occasionally gets jeered for making routine saves. Well, Smith was good enough tonight that a capacity crowd chanted “Smitty” at various times in the game.
How did Smith feel about the crowd’s response to his play?
“It felt a lot better than the other,” said Smith. “Honestly, I haven’t quite heard anything like that before in my career. It honestly, it kind of gives you some confidence when you hear your name get chanted. Like I said, I haven’t quite experienced what I experienced tonight through my 13 years in this league in which I’ve been through a lot. But tonight was something I’ll add to the list.”
Tkachuk’s goal survives coach’s challenge
There was an unusually long coach’s challenge on the second Flames goal, as Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar challenged for goaltender interference after Matthew Tkachuk was tangled up with Philipp Grubauer.
Salute the crowd, our hellion king. 2-0 babyyyyyy pic.twitter.com/LZjfqkh7A0
— FlamesNation (@FlamesNation) April 12, 2019
The goal stood, as the NHL explained (with their emphasis):
After reviewing all available replays and consulting with the Referees, the Situation Room determined that the actions of Colorado’s Erik Johnson caused Tkachuk to make incidental contact with Grubauer before the puck crossed the goal line. The decision was made in accordance with Note 2 of Rule 78.7 (ii) which states, in part, that the goal should be allowed because “the attacking Player was pushed, shoved or fouled by a defending Player causing the attacking Player to come into contact with the goalkeeper.”
While Tkachuk was initially pretty confident that the goal would stand – he was pushed into the crease by Colorado’s Erik Johnson, after all – but the sheer length of the review gave him some doubts.
“I thought it was going to be quick, in and out, good goal, just because I got pushed in and his stick kind of got tied-up,” said Tkachuk. “I got pushed in, I didn’t go in there on purpose. And I think that, actually Gio went in and talked to the refs. The iPad went out, which is why it took long. And then they tried to call Toronto, and that didn’t work and then the iPad turned on again so then they could see it. That’s why it took a lot longer, not because they were really going over. I think once the video worked it was a quick decision.”
Avalanche coach didn’t love their game
Peters was quite happy with the Flames’ performance – aside from the stretch where they took three penalties, he thought they build their game well. But Bednar didn’t love the Avalanche’s performance.
“I just didn’t think we did enough to win the hockey game at the end of the day,” said Bednar. “We had more than a handful of players I wasn’t real happy with. We checked pretty well for a good portion of the game, but up ice I didn’t think we did enough to get after their team and cause chaos with our fore-check, check the puck back up the ice even though we were committed on the defensive side of it coming back to our end.”
Bednar did note that Mikko Rantanen, returning after missing eight games, got better as the game went along. He ended up playing more at even strength with Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon (7:01) as he did with Carl Soderberg and Colin Wilson (5:22). Both line combinations were underwater possession-wise, though – 43.8% Corsi For with the top line and 33.3% with the second line.