17Derek Ryan
Photo Credit: James Guillory/USA Today Sports

Matching desperation, adversity, and Colorado’s power play: Notes before Game 2

Both clubs congregated at the Scotiabank Saddledome prior to Game 2 between the Calgary Flames and Colorado Avalanche. Here are the main takeaways from both clubs’ morning skates.

Anticipating the Avalanche’s desperation

Roles were reversed a bit from Game 1 at morning skate, with the Flames a bit looser on the ice and the Avalanche looking a bit tight. Following their skate, Flames captain Mark Giordano impressed upon the importance of being ready for the start of the game.

“We want to protect home ice, obviously, and they’re going to be that much more desperate tonight,” said Giordano. “They’re going to want to obviously try to even it up and we want that second one. A lot of intensity, it’s going to be a good atmosphere again. But a big game in the series for sure.”

Flames forward Mark Jankowski noted that they expect Colorado to be pushing from opening puck drop, and that they’ll need to anticipate and match their level of desperation and intensity.

“We know that they’re going to bring their A-game,” said Jankowski. “They’re going to come out humming right from the start. I think we have to equal that. We’re not going to just sit back and maybe weather the storm a little bit. We’re going to go out, we’re going to push back as hard as we can and kind of equal their intensity.”

Dealing with adversity

The Flames got themselves into trouble in Game 1. After both teams spent much of the early going figuring each other out, the home team took three consecutive penalties and gave the Avalanche some daylight.

Flames forward Derek Ryan notes that the key to success in the series is focusing on the team’s own game and not let moments of adversity snowball into something bigger.

“I think that’s huge for having success in the NHL is being able to stop those snowball effects when you’re maybe on a skid, you’ve had a couple bad games, bad period, bad shift, whatever it is, whatever scale you want to use,” said Ryan. “That’s the sign of a good team that you’re able to get over that hump, get over that adversity and come out the other side maybe not even the same team you were before, but better and able to deal with adversity down the road. I think that’s huge for us moving forward, but I’m sure there’s more adversity to come.”

The Avalanche need more from their power play

Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar characterized his team’s offensive game as “stagnant” in Game 1 and wasn’t in “attack mode” nearly enough. That stagnancy carried over into their power plays (and with the Flames scoring on two power plays, it likely determined the game):

“I didn’t think we had a shot mentality… It’s a reflection of our five on five play, too. The puck was moving too slow in the offensive zone. A little bit stubborn in looking for plays when I think we need to move it around, get some pucks and traffic at the net and then attack out of chaos. Your power play goes through some ruts. I thought it got better as the game went on. We had a couple really good chances in there that Smith had good saves on. But definitely we want to make sure we have that killer instinct right from the start on every power play.”