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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Quips and Quotes: Flames lose to Avalanche 3-2 (in overtime) in Game 2

The Calgary Flames lost to the Colorado Avalanche by a 3-2 score (in overtime) on Saturday night in Game 2 of the Western Conference quarterfinal series. Here are selected reactions from players and coaches following the game.

A change of momentum for both teams

Neither team was completely happy with how they played in Game 1. The Avalanche were much better in Game 2, while the Flames were fairly significantly worse.

“What I liked about our team is that were highly competitive right from the drop of the puck,” said Avalanche coach Jared Bednar. “Every guy on the roster was engaged, mentally, physically, emotionally.”

Bednar also praised his team’s attack mentality and their decision-making with the puck. As for the Flames? Well, their coach didn’t like their start at all.

“I didn’t think we started on time by any stretch of the imagination,” said Flames coach Bill Peters. “I thought there was more to give for sure.”

Mike Smith shines again

Through six and a half periods of hockey, Flames netminder Mike Smith has only allowed three goals – and just one at five-on-five. Peters had a lot of positive things to say about Smith’s game, particularly given that the team in front of him had some issues.

“He’s been solid in this series and was good again here tonight,” said Peters. “Made some big saves early to keep it at 0-0. I thought we had a few breakdowns that allowed them some real good looks in transition, and then a couple on the penalty kill for them, too, prior to the Nieto goal. He gave us a chance, for sure.”

In the Calgary locker room, there was the sense that they wasted an opportunity to capitalize on Smith’s strong play.

“No one’s happy with the way we played in the first couple periods,” said Sam Bennett. “Smitty bailed us out too amny times to count. He’s been playing great and we’ve got to do a better job in front of him, and we’re going to learn our lesson and play Game 3 with a lot more urgency.”

The Flames were out-chanced by the Avalanche 22-9 in regulation (and 8-4 in terms of high-danger scoring chances). They were extremely fortunate to have a chance to win.

Round two goes to Nathan MacKinnon

In Game 1, the Flames used Mikael Backlund’s line to frustrate and stymie Avalanche sniper Nathan MacKinnon and his top line. In Game 2, the tides turned as the Avalanche really pushed the pace, fore-checked hard and made it challenging for the Flames to get out of their zone clean.

A shift that encapsulated the entire game happened at beginning of the third period, when a Backlund turnover behind his own net led to a shift in the defensive zone that lasted the better part of two full minutes with the Avalanche cycling the puck, skating hard, and wearing the Flames down.

“You have to challenge other teams and force them into mistakes,” said Bednar. “The other night we didn’t do that, today we did.”

The Flames made more mistakes than the Avalanche did, and now the series is tied up at 1-1 heading back to Denver.

  • Juan Valdez

    Not buying into the argument that James Neal is too old or too slow. The problem is he just isn’t competing as hard as he should be. It’s almost like he’s lost his passion for playing hockey. That’s what it looks like anyways. Somehow he has to get angry and start laying guys out because when James Neal is physical, that’s when he’s at his best. That’s the player the Flames were supposed to be getting when they signed him.

  • buts

    TJ Brodies refusal to play the body cost us the game. We have depth on D and he should be benched for being plain and simple a guy who doesn’t elevate his game emotionally and physically. Garbage play on Nieto’s goal.

    • Frunobulax

      Brodie pulled a major gaffe on his power play bump back but on the Nieto goal, it was a tough pass to handle on the blue line. If the forward put the puck deep instead of a bouncing puck to Brodie, he is not in a position to turn the puck over.

  • Chucky

    Although he is playing well, I wonder if there is something wrong with Johnny. Typically he stays on the ice even though the other guys on his line have changed, as a left wing in the first and third he gets the opportunity to maximize his TOI. About four times last night he turned and went for a change in situations where he would normally apply pressure. He is an exceptionally tough competitor but there were a few times when it looked like he might be a little off.
    We will never know but he could be fighting a cold or flu and show us something better in the next few games.

    • Speed Kills

      Other than Ham, Mangi, Janko, Gio, Andersson…. The whole team seemed to be off. Slow to the puck, slow to the attack, Just happy to glide in and remain stationary in a defensive shell letting COL have there way and control play. Play like that and most night you will lose… Gave COL way to much respect. juggling 3/4 lines to counter COL’s line juggling just seemed to make things worse instead of whatever it was suppose to do. Bahh~! Its now a best of 5 forget Both games here they were a wash and nothing to remember… Flames Better get back to Flames Hockey or this isn’t going to end well.

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      Well, he is being hacked like there is no tomorrow. One vicious hack knocked his glove off. Reagrdless, he is creating chances and the rest of his line is missing the cue. One particular chance was a harmless shot on net, with Monahan free in the slot. That’s usually a set play and Johnny seemed to give up on his line and do it himself.

    • Derzie

      It’s all on Bettman as the ref the games completely differently. Tampa was all-world until they put away the whistles and let the knuckle draggers run things. People get all misty & nostalgic about ‘gritty’ playoff hockey but having two rule sets for two seasons is ludicrous. The reffing is a joke. Compher & Clutterbuck are being talked about instead of actual good players. How exciting for us.

    • Luter 1

      I guess we like tough hockey in Red Deer because I agree and have said all year once the ice capades were done and playoffs started, I wasn’t sure this team was built for the long haul. Right now the physicality is definitely favouring the Avs and seems to be affecting our talent. We have shown no pushback other than Sam who is a true playoff player.

  • Juan Valdez

    Would be interesting to see what Kylington can do. He’s a better skater than Fantenberg. The reality is that Fantenberg is a pylon when McKinnon is on the ice and Kylington can score goals.

    • MontanaMan

      Kylington won’t see time in the playoffs unless there are injuries. He’s got great wheels, but that’s about it. He was weak on the puck and lost battles which cost him his position on the big squad. There’s no way he’s getting back in when the intensity is 100% more.