19Bill Peters
Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports

Quips and Quotes: Flames beat Avalanche 4-0 in Game 1

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.

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.

  • FlushedOut

    I would just like to say to all the Smith-haters and especially Ari Yanover you can shut the f*** up about Mike Smith being old and washed up for the next 2 days. I get it Smith was horrible in November and Rittich was unbelievably awesome in November but you don’t make your decisions for the playoffs on how guys played 5 months ago. Check the numbers, Smith was better down the stretch. I’m happy if both goalies play great but for some reason people like Ari just want to run down Smith no matter what he does and cheer only for Rittich to start no matter what.

  • Orrwasbest

    Nervous start by a lot of Flames. Smitty held the fort till the first goal and Flames gained confidence as the game went along. Could have been a different story if not for those early saves! Great to give a bunch of Flames a playoff game under their belt and looking forward to them playing better as their confidence grows! Playoff confidence is really a snowball effect as we see ever year when a team gets started on a roll. Great game Smitty and Matty!

  • Flames Fan in Edmonchuck

    I think that Johnny and Lindholm had really solid games as well but Monahan…… not so much. Really hope he’s just a little rusty after taking some time off but honestly, it looks like he is nursing something and has been for a while…… hopefully he can get back to pre all star form….. I think our depth will win the day against Colorado anyway but if we move on, we need that top lone clicking….

  • Avalain

    Smith was definitely on another level this game. I just hope that he doesn’t fall apart like the he seemed to do every game after a shutout this year. Something seems different, though. He didn’t just get a shutout; he earned one. He made some amazing saves.

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      That “4th” line. Whenever they ask Peters about the 4th line, he asks them which one they are talking about. They may not pay many minutes overall, especially when facing a one-line team, or when a game is special teams so much, but they create chances whenever they get out there. Maybe try Mange/Ryan/Neal on the 2nd PP unit for a bit, since they are pretty direct in their attempts.

  • Jimmyhaggis

    These goalie interference challenges are getting ridiculous, should be a more substantial consequence if it’s determined it’s a good goal. Frustrating and slows the game down.
    Boys a little shakey at first but after the first goal they started to pull away. How about Smith, didn’t know he had it in him, great game. Important win.