The Calgary Flames lost to the Colorado Avalanche by a 3-2 score in overtime on Wednesday night in Game 4 of the Western Conference quarterfinal series. Here are selected reactions from players and coaches following the game.
Close but no cigar
Let’s be blunt here: the Flames were awful in Game 3. They needed to be better in Game 4, and they definitely were. But “better” still wasn’t good enough, as they were out-shot 52-37, out-chanced 38-22 and edged 19-13 in high-danger chances. They still seemed fairly out-gunned, especially later in the game.
The only players in the black possession-wise were the third pairing and Matthew Tkachuk. And when the game was on the line, a couple times, the Flames didn’t get enough from key players like Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan or Mikael Backlund.
#Flames C Mikael Backlund stood and took the heat from the media.
“It’s hard. It’s tough, I mean, I took a bad penalty and then I had the chance to redeem myself and instead they score right in front of me again. It’s going to be a long night, a tough night.”
— Danny Austin (@DannyAustin_9) April 18, 2019
Mike Smith does good again
For the fourth consecutive game, Mike Smith was the Flames’ best player. He made 49 saves. Through four games, he leads the playoffs in minutes played, shots against and saves made. He’s also allowed 12 goals and lost three games, which is much more of a product of the team in front of him than of anything he’s done.
He’s 37. He might not have much left in the tank. But he’s been spectacular over the past four games.
Juuso Valimaki’s playoff debut
20-year-old Finn rookie Juuso Valimaki made his playoff debut in Game 4. He was one of the team’s best players. He played 12:15, led the team in Corsi For percentage, had a primary assist on the Flames’ second goal and generally was very good.
Many young players wilt under the bright lights of the playoffs. Valimaki shined.