428Matthew Tkachuk
Photo Credit: Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports

FGD R1-G4: Flames face their Waterloo in Denver (8pm MT, CBC)

After getting thumped in Game 3, the Flames face their potential reckoning in Game 4.

Calgary Flames vs. Colorado Avalanche

Game 4 of the Best-of-Seven Western Conference Quarterfinal
Colorado leads series 2-1
Puck Drop: 8 p.m. MT
Radio: Sportsnet 960 The Fan
Odds: The Flames are slight (-130) favourites, via OddsShark.

Need tickets to the game? Vivid Seats has you covered!

The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Bennett – Jankowski – Neal
Mangiapane – Ryan – Hathaway

Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Valimaki – Andersson

The only change here is that Juuso Valimaki is drawing in for his playoff debut. He’ll slot in alongside Rasmus Andersson on the third pairing. The two were the Flames’ third pairing to start the season, before a high-ankle sprain in November shortened Valimaki’s rookie year.

Mike Smith starts for the Flames, backed up by David Rittich. Their projected scratches appear to be Jon Gillies, Oliver Kylington, Oscar Fantenberg, Dalton Prout, Michael Stone, Dillon Dube, Alan Quine and Austin Czarnik.

On Tuesday night, the first overall Tampa Bay Lightning were swept by Columbus. The Flames have their backs similarly against the wall heading into Game 4. The Flames have been not good for three games. Tonight’s game is the swing game: a win makes it a 2-2 series and sends the Flames home needing two wins in three games (with two home dates) to advance. A loss makes it a 3-1 series and gives Colorado three chances to eliminate them.

If the Flames aren’t a group playing with some urgency or desperation, the season could end for them on Friday night at the Saddledome.

The Avalanche

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Landeskog – MacKinnon – Kerfoot
Wilson – Soderberg – Rantanen
Nieto – Calvert – Compher
Jost – Brassard – Bourque

Cole – Johnson
Zadorov – Barrie
Makar – Nemeth

Philipp Grubauer starts once again for the Avalanche, backed up by Semyon Varlamov. Their projected scratches are Pavel Francouz, Dominic Toninato, Ryan Graves and Mark Barberio. It’s likely that the Avalanche go with the same lineup as they had for Game 3, aside from Derick Brassard sliding back in and bumping Sven Andrighetto back in.

All the Avalanche need to do is what they’ve been doing for the first three games. They’ve out-worked and out-battled the Flames through virtually every game situation.

The Officials

Tonight’s referees are Jean Hebert and Steve Kozari. The linesmen are Bryan Pancich and Steve Barton, and the standby officials are Tom Chmielewski (referee) and Brandon Gawryletz (linesman). The series supervisor is Bill McCreary. All of the officials involved in tonight’s game, even the standbys, are new to the series.

The Numbers

Wins 1 2
Adjusted Corsi 44.0% 56.0%
Power Play 25.0% 12.5%
Penalty Kill 87.5% 75.0%

Injury Report

The Flames are healthy.

The Avalanche are without Vladislav Kamenev and Samuel Girard.

Know Thy Enemy

Your Avalanche Twitter follows for tonight:

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  • Franko J

    Get ready Friday night for the traditional handshake line. Flames have no answer for the Avalanche.
    Peters should have learned by now that his choice of lineup tonight cost them the series. Just like GG went with a washed up veteran instead of a hungrier, faster player. At this point he might as well put in Dube for Friday to give him some experience. Top two seeds in each division out in the first round. I wonder if that has ever happened? Anyone have any PB and J cause the Flames are toast. Well onto the draft and see if BT has any good trades in the works. I sure do hope so. With #13, #23, #7, #77,#18 and #67 just to mention a few. #11 would look good too, but I think he has a NTM or something like that. Great regular season, however another choke effort in the playoffs. I don’t think this team will ever get learn to win in the first round. Basically the players on this team are not battle tested enough and I don’t think this core going forward will ever get this franchise past the first round, no matter how much experience they might have. Thanks for the excellent season Flames and the not so great playoffs once again. Arrgh.

  • WildfireOne

    The way the team started acting nervous halfway through the third… Maybe a timeout by Peters and some fire behind the bench could have cauterized the bleeding? It’s old school, but we’ve all seen both Butter and Dutter do that to reset a team.

  • SgtRoadBlock

    Bill Peters is now 1-3 in the playoffs….
    will we be fine with him next seasons in the playoffs coaching and then do we resign Smith till he 40?? things to think about next Seasons lol


  • BlueMoonNigel

    The penalty on Backs was definitely a MICK call when you look at all the infractions the refs let slide up to then. Not using it as an excuse for why the Flames lost, but as an example of just how gawd awful the officiating is in the NHL.

    • Franko J

      That is why once the Flames are out on Friday night, I can get head back outside. Last I watched only the last 2 period of the final game. After the last time the Flames were in the playoffs and some of the bad refereeing I sort of lost my appetite to watch games. Missing the high stick just before the end of the third I knew the Flames were going to lose. Not just due to the refs, but the Flames in my lifetime have only had the Hockey Gods go in their favour once. Since the puck went off of Otto’s skate the Flames have never had a good bounce go their way. Maybe the eliminator had a few in 2004, but puck luck has been not kind to this team.

  • Derian Hatcher

    Johnny has to be hurt. He is shying away from any contact.

    I’ve watched a bad hockey player in Milan Lucic for 3 years so I know a bad hockey player when I see one, and James Neal is one bad hockey player. Wow

  • The Sultan

    James Neal should never play another game as a Calgary Flame ever again. Bench him for the rest of the playoffs, buy him out in the off-season, never let Brad Treliving sign another free agent ever again, and cut your loses.

    • Franko J

      Well Peters was too stubborn and I have to say has been severely out coached in this series. No adjustments, just hoping what worked for the team in the regular season would work now. Hopefully he has learned something new with these playoffs. We will see next year. The Flames had the prime opportunity to do something special this year, but once again found a way to fall flat on their faces again. Always hope for next year. At least had the chance to see them win one game in the playoffs. No “Yeah Baby’s” this year for the team.

  • Hockey4life

    Johnny in the regular season can be fun to watch. But he’s one dimensional. Sean Monahan has a helluva shot if he’s fed the puck in the slot, but that’s also one dimensional. I would rather trade them both for a Nathan MacKinnon type player who is fast, plays heavy, can score in multiple different ways and is a big game player. Johnny is built for 3 on 3 OT, we need guys built for the playoffs. Tre seriously needs to look at trading either or both of these guys. They are complimentary players, not driving forces.

  • Albertabeef

    what the 23 trashes on the other post wasn’t good enough for you? You just had to try again lol. Bennett is a center, Johnny has played right side with team USA. If I were putting those three together, I’d do it that way. But top to bottom your lines just looks horribly bad. Gio and Hamonic are just really bad together, one of the main reasons our PK was ranked 21st.

  • Budgie

    We have to shut down that MacKinnon line-think a defence blitz-two players on MacKinnon-and make him pass-keep them to the outside-then let Smith see the puck when Landeskog or Kerfoot shoot.