56Juuso Valimaki
Photo Credit: Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports

Quips and Quotes: Flames lose to Avalanche 3-2 (in overtime) in Game 4

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.

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.

  • Gus Fring

    Well I guess we have some work to do this off season. What a interesting year for playoffs. The top two teams in the league might get bounced in the first round? Crazy! But a lot of us called it. Our team is good, but we are not built for playoff hockey. We haven’t dominated any games since the opener. We can’t win board battles and we have no offensive pressure in Colorado’s end. Just cycle the puck a few times and dump and chase. That style of hockey does not win games in today’s NHL.

  • TheRock

    Crazy thought.
    Perhaps the flames weren’t as good as their regular season hinted?
    Maybe playing in the weakest division inflated their stats?
    Maybe they are closer to the bottom of the pile then the top?
    Just sayin, they don’t look like a playoff team to me…

      • Speed Kills

        Not necessarily, There is a hope… The Sens & Pierre Dorion (almost as bad a GM as PC) Sens will need to hit the cap floor for the next few years, we have a history of trading with him, unfortunately it will most likely cost a very good D prospect/player “Kylington” or even “Hanifin” if there is to be the slightest of a good return added back. Välimäki to me is already Hanifin good, so It might not be a bad Idea to pull the trigger to rid a bad contract and make room for Vali. Ottawa has a ton of draft picks, But I’m doubtful they would give up a High end prospect (eg:Logan Brown) Maybe even a Neal for Duclair? And try and Sell Dorion that Neal could bring in a draft pick at the trade deadline in a year or two? And one of these days I’ll grab one of those straws I’m grasping at… just saying… Sad that this is what Flames Playoff Hockey has come down too…

    • Albertabeef

      Are the Flames a playoff team? Well Mr TheRock, they are in the playoffs. Where are your Oilers? Not in the playoffs. Pretty sad that the only way you can enjoy hockey is to cheer against us lmao.

  • Franko J

    At this point I would put Valimaki – Andersson tandem as the first pairing Friday night. Nothing to lose. Those two are the future for this franchise and might as well give them all the minutes. I would put Dube, Czarnik in as well. Not getting it done with guys in the lineup tonight. All about the future.
    I would even sub in Kylington. Might as well see if some youth can bring something to this team. The veterans aren’t doing the job.

    • Sol Goode

      With as useless as Janko and Neal have been, you could just add Kylington and Fantenberg as an extra defense pairing in their place. Or maybe just take them out anyways and put Dube and Czarnik in.

        • Dunk

          I blame the GM. Tre has no idea. I think sometimes he gets lucky. He is a poor judge of talent period. Oh I’m sure he will spin the blame on something else. That last coach he hired was unreal making Peters look like a god send but really to me it looked like we were out coached in this one…

          • Albertabeef

            For once I totally agree with you. I never was a fan of pizza boy. I was scared for our future when he brought in Devin Setoguchi and Mason Raymond as his first acquisitions. Yuk! He gave us Brouwer and Neal and a bunch of other duds. Wasted a crap load of picks on Hamilton and Hamonic. Other than the great RFA contracts, I freaking hate Tre,

      • Franko J

        I would go with Lindholm centering Dube and Bennett as one line.
        Move Ryan line to a second line role backs line to third with Czarnik and Tkachuk and Monahan Gaudreau and Frolik as the fourth line. Worth a try. Nothing else seems to going for the Flames.

    • Val-Ras is the future. Gio and Brodie are still two of our top 6 Dmen, gotta play Brodie, Gio is still our #1 presently. Gio-Ras leaves Brodie with Val, Fant, or the best option Prout…who isn’t in our top 8. Even split of minutes between Brodano, HH, Val-Ras is optimal at the moment.

  • Franko J

    When the Flames eventually lose come Friday, where will they be drafting? Do they draft around 30 because of the regular season standings or do they draft based on who is knocked out in the first round and so forth?

      • Franko J

        Thanks. At 22 there is a couple of good prospects in the draft that would help this team down the road. At 30 still a good pick, but I’m thinking the player I would like the Flames to draft might not be there. Or they can trade down a couple of spots in the first round and pick up a couple more picks in later rounds.

      • BendingCorners

        26th I believe. The conference finalists will pick 28th-31st. Division winners that do not reach the conference finals will pick just ahead of the finalists. Tampa will pick 27th. Flames 26th.

  • oddclod

    TRE. Please bag us Ferly, Duche, Hall and Kreider.

    Anyone can go away not named Smith, Ritter, Gio, Bennett, Byng, Mangi, Ryan, Lindholm, Hath, Hamonic, Hanifin, Rass, Vali, Kylington.

    And to the morons that cut me down for reminding them of Smitty’s TEAM CANADA PEDIGREE, at least now you know. He may not want to come back to this tho.

    • Mony, Johnny, and Neal can all go. Jankowski, Frolik and backlund I would keep but I’d be open to moving for the right price. I wouldn’t blame Smith, Canadian markets are always tough, even more so on goalies. No Ferly or Duche, maybe Kreider. Hall yes.

      • oddclod

        Window is just opening so theres that.

        But Ferly over Frolik Yep.
        Duche over Backlund? Yap.
        Hall for Gaudreau and a prospect or 2? Yip.
        Kreider over Neal? Well yuh.
        Monohan nets us the prospects we lose in the Gaudreau trade.

        One can only dream.

        I’ll agree and give Jankowski time. He’s shutdown potential. He finally entered a scrum in game 4 and learned he’s not a pushover.

        Bennett is the next Captain and now the mould is cast. Tre, go get players of the ilk and no more James Brouwers.

        Last chance.

    • cornwallroyals

      Agree TRE has to make a major splash this summer. This team isn’t built for the playoffs. I can see a Gaudreau trade to Devils Rangers or Flyers to bag us a very draft pick and or top player. JH would be very happy with moving close to home and the receiving team would have themselves a star player.

  • fretsey

    Janko better grow up or he’s going to bounce from team to team for his career and fade to black. Can’t wait to see more of Valimaki. This team needs work, obviously….I think the draft is going to be wild.

  • BendingCorners

    They played better than they did in game 3 but were still outplayed. Now they need to play even more betterer. Not sure they will but they did a few times during the season. Fingers crossed.

  • FlamesFanOtherCity

    At least Backlund admitted he was a big vause of the loss.
    Seems to me this was the same setup in the last OT loss.
    Missed a chance at one end, lazy skate back the other way.
    If your best defensive player is on for 6 goals against in 3 games, you probably don’t win.

    Time to go for broke and mix the lines.
    Benny to the top line with Johnny and Ryan.

    • Geeker 98

      Monahan is reminds me of Eberle. Everything is all good if he is scoring and you’re winning. Does not contribute anything else. Go easy on Backlund, the call was weak for the penalty, at least he was around the puck, Neal was 10 yards behind him, as an Oiler fan I was worried of the Neal signing but wow. At least there isn’t a no movement clause.
      This is done with respect as I know my team is golfing. But lay a body on Mckinnon. That is skating like he isin the All Star game. Good luck Friday

  • FlushedOut

    Could we at least make Grubauer make one side to side in this series. Everything is literally straight at him while Colorado is easily make cross ice passes galore in our zone. Blows my mind how badly we are getting out chanced with high danger scoring chances. Smith is absolutely standing on his head. Colorado could beat us with a beer league goalie in net right now.

  • JohnyR

    There is no bright side to this series. Flames have been exposed for what they currently are – soft with very little grit and heart. You could see it after the all start break, the cruise control. Last few games of the season showed us lots too. There’s next to no snarl with this group, that will need to be addressed this summer. I’m all for moving some big names. You have to be prepared for this pace come playoffs, right now Smith is the only one who understands this.
    I didn’t watch last night and won’t bother tomorrow either. Reminds me of the game 7 they lost to the ducks years ago where they had 7 shots all game.

  • SgtRoadBlock

    we must Trick Seattle in 2021 to take Neal when they enter the NHL cause pretty Sure Vegas and Seattle will be top teams in the West… and Calgary will be fine and the Oilstains will be still tanking.


  • Garry T

    I do not want to knock Gudreau. I would love to know what is going on in his head when he hits the blue line. He just seems lost for whatever reason. If you were going to keep him, I think you need to give him a couple of 200 pounders who can fly, have the necessary determination to win and an obvious skill set.

    I really felt Neale could have been a good player for us. However reverting back to the season , injuries, and now the playoffs, I think he thinks he is better than he is. He is going to ask to be traded because he is not at all happy. I hope there is somebody out there that wants to take a chance on him and we can get a top center/winger in trade. He cost us two goals in that game with his lack of effort to pick up a man coming back. He was just coasting and did not seem to know where he would be best positioned to pick up his or a man in our zone. Have to let him go.

    As far as Monny is concerned, Jankowski as well …….. those are two natural goal scorers and we have them.
    The issue I see is that they are frankly soft and happy to be in the NHL. Rather than give up on both, I think you need to have a very long talk with both at the same time in the exit meetings and tell them what you need them to do in terms of
    helping this team. If they will not agree to a team needed truculence factor and consisten effort tocome back with a
    Tkachuk / Bennett mentality, I am afraid you have to move one or both.

    The Avalanche pressure …. being on top of our puck carriers instantly has been a real eye opener for me and we need
    to take on that style of play with the players we have or start moving out bodies so that we can play harder.

    As someone said earlier in the blog, Tre and Group have some hard thinking to do. I never thought it was going to come
    to that this off season, but we have to get bigger, faster, stronger and mentally tougher via players and team leadership.

  • +pepper

    I am heartbroken about another overtime loss. Our Flames are in a tough spot for sure. Shuffle lines, get some young fresh fast legs in for Neal and see if we can get a game 5 win. Down, but not out… Go Flames!

  • Budgie

    Calgary had the game in hand, what was that tripping call, look at the replay it was a chintzy call. Don’t be too hard on Backlund, it was a bad call. Without the tripping call Calgary likely would have won-its dissapointing-Smith was excellent and we had more speed and attack, boxed out Colorado better-it was a very tough loss-OT-brutal

  • Dunk

    What would Tortorella do? He would not sugar coat this crap. He would call out the slackers. Bench them bring in some hungry young guys. Or demand the GM to get some decent bodies at the trade deadline. Not make excuses like the cost is to great. Does anyone think vegas overpaid for Stone or Columbus for their group. I think we overpaid by standing pat. Did anyone know we haven’t won a first round that wasn’t against Vancouver since 1988. Unbelievable.