160Johnny Gaudreau
Photo Credit: Candice Ward/USA Today Sports

Post-Game: Flames lose to Avalanche, eliminated from playoffs

The Calgary Flames were eliminated from the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs on Friday night with a 5-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche at the Scotiabank Saddledome. They lost their first round series in five games.

The Rundown

The home side had energy early, but didn’t seem to harness it terribly well. They had a lot of zone time, but Colorado registered the first five shots on goal. The first Flames shot on Philipp Grubauer wasn’t until 7:26 into the game.

Midway through the first period, the Avalanche hit the scoresheet first. Matthew Tkachuk had a good look but couldn’t get a shot off and play went the other way. Tyson Barrie’s wrister from the point was deflected by Gabriel Landeskog in the slot and beat Mike Smith just inside the glove-side post to give the visitors a 1-0 edge.

Johnny Gaudreau drew a penalty shot after Cale Makar hooked him on a breakaway, but Grubauer waited out his deke and Gaudreau went wide without registering a shot. Gaudreau got a second breakaway, but went wide to the other side of Grubauer. The play went the other way and the Avalanche scored an odd one: the initial shot went off Smith, off Travis Hamonic’s face and bounced over to Mikko Rantanen. Rantanen banked it in off Smith’s back to give the Avs a 2-0 lead.

But the Flames got a late goal off a few nice individual efforts and some odd bounces. Gaudreau dumped the puck in at an angle, firing it into the corner. It took a weird bounce, surprising the Avalanche, and Sam Bennett found a pinching TJ Brodie, who beat Grubauer with a high wrister to make it a 2-1 Avalanche lead.

Shots were 15-9 Avalanche and scoring chances 17-11 Avalanche in the first period.

The Flames got an early second period power play off some nice hustle, but couldn’t score. TJ Brodie and Rasmus Andersson were caught out at the end of the power play and the Avalanche threw Landeskog, Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon out for a shift. That gave the Avalanche a ton of zone time as the tired Flames couldn’t clear. Rantanen picked Derek Ryan’s pocket at the blueline and a nice pass late, Colin Wilson buried an uncontested shot from the slot to make it 3-1 Colorado. (Andersson and Brodie were on the ice for 2:16 when Wilson scored.)

The Flames almost got one back, but it was waved off by referee Chris Rooney.  Gaudreau banked puck in off a prone Grubauer, but he was prone because Bennett and Erik Johnson battling at the edge of his crease knocked him down. The Flames challenged, but call stood.

A little later, Tkachuk was called for interference behind the play and on the ensuing Colorado man advantage, Wilson scored his second goal of the period deflecting a MacKinnon slap-pass from the slot up and over Smith to give the visitors a 4-1 cushion.

Shots were 14-10 Flames and scoring chances 9-7 in the second period.

The period began with a 1:37 Avalanche power play after Sam Bennett took a late minor. Rantanen buried a shot from the face-off dot over Smith’s shoulder to make it 5-1 Avalanche.

From there, both teams seemed content to coast to the finish. Shots were 7-6 Avalanche and scoring chances 4-3 Avalanche in the final period.

Why the Flames Lost

This game was the entire series in a nutshell:

  • The Flames had zone time, but couldn’t translate that into scoring chances. (And when they did, they couldn’t consistently hit the net and make the goalie make a save.)
  • The Flames coughed up the puck frequently in their own end in their transition attempts, as the Avalanche used their speed on the forecheck to pressure the puck carrier quite often.
  • The Avalanche played a patient, composed road game and waited for the Flames to make mistakes. When they did, they pounced.

And to be perfectly honest, Colorado’s key players were collectively better than the Flames’ key players.

Red Warrior

Let’s go with Gaudreau, who was buzzing around and trying his damnedest to get something going for the home side.

The Turning Point

The Flames were the better team in the opening five minutes of the second period. They pressured. They generated chances. They drew a penalty. Then their power play didn’t do a whole lot with said power play, and Colorado scored immediately after that power play to spot themselves a 3-1 lead.

It was just a matter of clock management for the Avalanche from that point.

The Numbers

(Percentage stats are 5-on-5, data via Natural Stat Trick)

Player Corsi
For%
OZone
Start%
Game
Score
Giordano 73.1 63.6 0.825
Brodie 65.4 63.6 1.050
Backlund 65.2 55.6 0.605
Tkachuk 60.9 55.6 0.035
Lindholm 59.1 57.1 0.525
Valimaki 56.5 62.5 0.225
Mangiapane 56.3 60.0 0.175
Andersson 51.7 62.5 0.050
Gaudreau 50.0 69.2 0.450
Bennett 48.5 64.3 0.880
Monahan 48.4 64.3 0.205
Ryan 36.8 33.3 -0.365
Hathaway 35.7 40.0 -0.275
Czarnik 33.3 33.3 -0.300
Jankowski 33.3 33.3 -0.115
Frolik 33.3 20.0 -0.425
Hamonic 28.6 41.7 -0.500
Hanifin 26.7 41.7 -0.850
Smith -1.050
Rittich

This and That

History was made by the Flames and Tampa Bay Lightning this year, and not good history:

For the curious, the NHL’s explanation of the disallowed Gaudreau goal:

After reviewing all available replays and consulting with the Referees, the Situation Room confirmed that the actions of Calgary’s Sam Bennett caused Colorado’s Erik Johnson to contact netminder Philipp Grubauer before the puck crossed the goal line. The decision was made in according to Rule 69.1 which states, in part, that “If a defending player has been pushed, shoved, or fouled by an attacking player so as to cause the defending player to come into contact with his own goalkeeper, such contact shall be deemed contact initiated by the attacking player for purposes of this rule, and if necessary a penalty assessed to the attacking player and if a goal is scored it would be disallowed.”

Therefore, the original call is upheld – no goal Calgary Flames.

Up Next

The Flames are eliminated from the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Exit interviews and locker clean-out is likely going to happen on Monday.

Next up? The NHL Awards and NHL Draft in June.

  • Joeyhere

    Tomorrow or by Monday we will hear about Monahan’s injuries …. and I don’t care – please no more excuses – one way or another he is just never going to be a playoff performer

    • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

      Haha. This exact same thing goes through my head at the end of every season. How does someone who throws like five hits a season get injured so much?!?!? For what it’s worth, I think Lindholm has been battling a substantial injury during the second half. I know Monahan is as well, but I don’t care about that.

  • Dougiefred

    My next decision, do I take the Flames flag off my car in embarrassment or do I leave it on for another 3 or 4 days and claim it is at half mast which is what I usually do.

  • The GREAT WW

    Ok, I’m ready to move on from playoff season to “what poor kid will have his career ruined by being drafted by the Oilers this year” season…

    Good times…..

    WW

    • Theo 2.0

      WW I am surprised you are not concerned by the fact our team has only been out of the 2nd round twice in 31 years!! 2 freaking times in 31 years and you are worried about the Coilers???? We only won 1 game since there season has ended.

    • Derian Hatcher

      Come on Walt…if you are going to keep pounding on the Oilers in light of your teams collapse, with no one showing up but Bennett and Smith, after all the hubris you have displayed all year about how far the flames will go in the playoffs and how BP is such a great coach, and all of your solutions that you seem to have on everything hockey at least continue your traditional salutation by telling everyone to “have a Mcdavid day”.

      As an aside, My son is at one of those junior spring hockey camps this weekend (a money grab to be sure but we told him he could pick 2 spring camps). Anyway I was standing by myself as usual watching my boy play the game we both love and these two other dads decided to grace me with their presence a few feet away from me. They proceeded to rip every kid on the ice “ he can’t skate, he’s brutal, holy cement hands, that goalie is terrible”. After listening to them rip kids who are trying their best, I quietly moved away so I could just watch my kid play and compete. It occurred to me that these two exemplary dads were just ripping other kids to make themselves feel better about their own offspring or lot in life — which happens a lot at rinks, and in society in general, which is too bad.

      As you know, I come on FN to read the more intelligent commenters and add a few of my own observations all the while realizing that we are all passionate about our respective teams through the highs and disappointing lows. But we all have a right to our own opinions

      So Walt if it makes you feel better to continually hack on the Oilers so you can feel better about your lot in life – have at ‘er. Watching my kid compete against some pretty darn good hockey players while two grown men pound on virtually every other kid but their own is a remarkable insight on sociological behaviour.

      I hope everyone at FN can take a couple days to take a breath and then appreciate the ride the Flames took you on this year.

      Off to the rink ~ my son is jacked to play two more games!

  • Prairiechicken

    I didn’t watch the games so am genuinely curious why everyone seems to be piling on to Monahan and Tkachuk but hardly a word about Johnny. He has 3 assists and 0 goals total in 2 years worth of playoffs.

    • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

      Gaudreau was the only one on his line even trying this entire series. Monahan was just floating outside of the play every game. Anyone criticizing Johnny didn’t watch the games and is just stat watching, he was one of our only forwards who actually gave a crap. Tkachuk was kind of quit as well, but they had a tough matchup against Nathan most of he series.

      • L.Kolkind

        This! Gaudreau is going to hold himself more accountable than anyone and when he missed on the breakaway he was so disappointed in himself. What happens in the offseason is anybody’s guess but Gaudreau remains the face of the franchise and was not the problem, but will be part of the solution. Would trading Monahan and Neal be big enough of a package that we could get a true #1 centre or would that even be on the table?

    • Budgie

      The trend is to pile on Brodie and Neal, Neal was scratched. Brodie? Calgary needs to build a playoff team, our top line couldn’t match Colorado’s, and Colorado played their top line to death.

  • RKD

    Everyone is super emotional right now. This is the FIRST series win for MacKinnon as an Av. Colorado lost to Nashville last year they didn’t trade MacKinnon or Landeskog.

      • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

        If Colorado plays like they did against us they’ll go to the final. They were absolutely dominant. Don’t forget, if Rantanen and Landeskog didn’t both miss time when they went on the skid in the second half of the year Colorado likely finishes 1or 2 in the Central and we would have played Dallas this round instead. Getting Cale Makar in the playoffs is also a ridiculous luxury. I also can’t believe they have another Top. 5 pick this year as well. They’ll win the Central next year me thinks.

  • Theo 2.0

    The Avs top line were licking there chops before this series even started. Mackkinon Landeskog Rantanon Vs Lady Byng finalists. That’s the series in a nutshell.

  • Speed Kills

    I hope this Round 1 exit has opened BT’s eyes…. Lots of work to do in the off-season. From coaching tweaks, Roster player movements in a big way and building up the farm team…. This playoff disaster should not go unpunished or forgiven… Time to reset and rebuild for the Playoffs. Time to wake up and realize what it will take to succeed and be successful in the second season. This (4-1)… was not OK.

    • Hockey4life

      Your team never gets the chance to make any kind of playoff history because they can’t even get there in the first place. I’m sure you’ve made history for most 1st overall picks in the last 10 years though. As much as this hurts it would hurt worse to be an Oilers fan. In Calgary there’s always hope. In Edmonton the new playoffs is the draft lottery.

  • Gus Fring

    Everyone just take a deep breath! At the beginning of the season know one saw us finished no first in the West. So with that being said after being bounced in the first round Tre can see what this team needs going forward. We need guys with more character. Guys that can take over a game if not on the scoreboard then with physicality. The year Ferland was running over the Canucks it gave our whole team a massive boost! We need to find true role players that can do that for us. We need at least one physical D man that makes the forwards look over there shoulders when going into the corners, our D is pretty soft. Let’s face it we need guys that can fill the shoes of certain players we had in the past. We need a new version of Big Reg and Sarich but guys that can skate and be physical. We need a true power forward a guy like Iggy who can put his head down and bowl you over going to the net. A true sniper like Cammy and a playmaker like Tangs. That’s what brings playoff success to a team. Colorado has basically all of those on there team that is the difference.

    • Speed Kills

      Oh Man THIS 100% ……. Hmmmm, and possibly an Assistant Coach(in some capacity) Who has a long record of success in the playoffs at the NHL Level. Preferably a former player who has lived it, but not a necessity…

    • calgaryfan

      All you say is true but not easy to do. How to get all those high end players you talk about? Rebuild? No one is going to give you players like that. The players you suggest, you have to draft. Colorado has drafted very well.

      • Gus Fring

        Yes draft and trade draft and trade. We need to shed some salary in the off season and look at teams who will make some big moves ie Pens, Tampa, Florida, Buffalo etc… it may not happen all at once but slowly bring in players, Who may just need a change of scenery we have a few here on our team in that same category

        • calgaryfan

          Yes it will take time to fix the roster, and getting rid of one contract will be a priority. Tre will need to be a magician to make that one disappear. (30 plus year old winger)

    • Albertabeef

      Was that the same idiots who threw their jerseys on the ice that were booing? Statistically Mony wasn’t an issue. He was on the ice for 5 goals(2nd highest forward) for and only 2 against(9th lowest of forwards). Lindholm, Backlund and Tkachuck were all worse statistically than Mony.

      • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

        Sean Monahan did NOTHING outside of finish a PP chance, but his stats don’t look bad like always, because he always plays with Gaudreau. Do a WOWY (With or Without) of Gaudreau/Monahan I double dog dare you? It’s not ever pretty. Lindholm was surprisingly bad, I think he’s injured. He didn’t have any jam or compete to his game in the second half and he was all that the first half.

      • SSB1963

        People who throw jerseys on the ice are just looking for their 5 minutes of fame. Poor examples of fans, anyway all I can say as an Oilers fan is that a least you got to the play offs.

      • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

        Backlund was trying to shutdown the hottest line in Hockey. He wasn’t great and proved he isn’t a top tier centre this playoffs, but he’s yhe least of my concerns. If Dube has a good summer and gains some more strength he might be a big factor on this team, to say the least.

        Jankowski might not be an NHLer for long, I see so much Joe Colborne in his game. Great size, but really too soft to use it with soft hands that go to waste because he over handles it in traffic and isn’t fast enough to get into space often enough.

  • Beautiful Ginger Moustaches

    I have read this blog for years and agreed and disagreed on a negligible level…however!!!!…. to say this game was “the series in a nutshell”, is the single worst take I’ve read in years. This was the first game of five they played well (until goal 5). This game is the reason to feel good as a flames fan. Yes they lost, but the guys you wanted to show up from the start but didn’t, finally showed they can play. Late as F*** yes but showed up none the less. Proved it’s in them. Bring the hysteria of course. Sober thought will realize the positives of a group that will learn from heartbreak.

    • theartfuldodger

      I disagree with you and I agree whole heartedtly with the author of the piece. They need to show up in game 4 or game 5 with a BIG win and some dominance. What you saw is them not get steam rolled but they never worried the Av’s in this series, not for any of it. That is what I wanted to see, real solid pressure putting the opposing team on their heels and Flames players with real aggressive competetiveness. It didnt happen

  • Franko J

    The core of this team could not manage the expectations presented by a great regular season.
    JG scoreless in 11 playoff games.
    Giordano had the best season of his career.
    The #1 and #2 centres on this team struggled tremendously this post season.

    #19 looking for a significant raise in the off season did not provide the necessary spark or impact needed to advance to the next round.

    Can or will this core recover come next year?
    After losing 4 games in a row is this core good enough to get this team to the Stanley Cup?

    • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

      I actually thought Gio was decent tonight, but he didn’t get a single bounce to go his way at all. Outside of that though, he was downright bad the entire series, especially for a Norris caliber regular season. I’ve defended Brodie for awhile, but to be honest I think with Valimaki and Andersson emerging he could be traded this summer, though I doubt we get much in return. People are blaming all the forwards, but I thought our defence was completely horrid as a group this post season and maybe even worse than the forwards (Monahan was brutal IMO).

      Valimaki honestly probably had a bigger impact in his two games than anyone else on the backend. Hamonic just gets the doors blown off him against fast teams like this and Hanifin struggled mightily as well trying to compensate.

  • Brownblazer

    Teams with high end skill + inexperience lose their mojo in the physical 1st round of the playoffs – this is not a new pattern. The only thing that saves high scoring teams is a leathel pp (which we struggled with mightily post all star break). We lost all confidence and were a tight group tonight with all those turn overs. The boys completely lost their composure.

  • MacKinnon was just DOMINANT these 5 games. Be so nice to have a player of that caliber. Who would you consider from the Flames past that was close to that? Mullen? MacInnis? Iggy in his prime but even then not as much.Probably no one.

  • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

    Correct me if I am wrong, on the plus side I believe the Flames first rounder goes from 30th Overall to 21st because we got knocked out so early, in a relatively deep draft. Hope we hit on a legit forward.

  • Joel Ottos Jock

    This edition of the Flames got what they deserved..or should I say the team BT built got what it deserved. This team made huge strides this season. Finishing first, speeding up the rebuild. Having Gaudreau, Monahan, Lindhol, Tkachuk, Giordano, Ryan, Backlund, Rittich, Hamonic Andersson, Mangiapane, and Hathaway have great seasons. There were disappointments, such as Mike Smith and James Neal. This is to be expected, in order for Lindholm to have the season he did, he needed to take someone’s ice..which was Neal’s. Now when I say this edition of the Boston pizza kids team got what they deserve, I do not believe BT looked at this team objectively nor realistically at the trade deadline. I could see the holes on this team from my 60″. He never addressed goaltending. Yes, some of you will argue Smoth was good in the playoffs, which he was. This doesnt change the fact that he had lost the confidence in this team. The Flames did not play with swagger with Smith in the pipes for quite some time. BT also did not address the serious issue of centerman. To believe Monahan is a #1 center is ludacris. I have been banging this dream for a few seasons. Yes, the Sean Monahan that put up 30+ goals. He is a liability in his own zone, he is softer than Pat Steinberg and just is not capable of being a #1 center. He is better slotted at #2 or on the wing. Monahan is a complimentary player. He does not drive the play. BT did not address the toughness of this team. Outside of Bennett and Hathaway..no toughness upfront. I love Tkachcuk, but he doesnt have toughness. He is an agitator. The Flames need a Tom Wilson..or an Evander Kane. A high skilled player with legitimate toughness. This team was too easy to play. TJ Brodie should have been traded as well. He was terrible. He is a turnover machine, is more predictable than Gaudreau on a breakaway, and soft. Not sure anyone in the league thought oh man..I’m afraid to be playing Brodie with prowess defensive skills. For all the hype of this dcore, I think they underachieved as a group. Gio played over his head offensively, but to the eye test, not sure he was as great as some made him out to be. I found too often he was flat footed and looked old. I am bitter about this playoff result, but not surprised. Until some changes are made, the results will lessen in the regular season because guys wont have career years every year. Let’s hope there are a fee big trades, a small ufa signing or two, and maybe a buy out of two. Oh, and Frolik! Get that trash out of here..as well as anyone who as ever worn an Arizona Coyotoes Jersey.

    • checkmeup

      Agreed, like I said before, BT has put together a remarkable regular season team.But in the playoffs when the going gets tough, the tough get going and we had very little toughness. BT you also missed the boat on trading ” TJ give away” at the trade deadline. We will be lucky to get a 4th rounder for him now.

  • Jim Lahey

    What a great day to wake up to, the sun is shining and the fLames eliminated in 5 games. Regular season hero’s but nowhere to be found when it matters. Have a great day FN!

    – Jim

  • Budgie

    The MacKinnon line was dominant, it reminds me of Calgary having to deal with Gretzky, Messier, and Kurri. Bob Johnson figured out how to counter, there were checkers.The game is faster, now it was having the speed to match them and check them. Colorado sent two sometimes three guys to Gadreau to check him, he managed more shots last night and his speed broke him out. Bottom line, two way players, Calgary will have to meet Colorado every year, just like meeting Edmonton in the old days. Don’t gut the team-a couple of two-way players that can score and you have improved. That being said it would sure be nice to have Brady and Mathew together.

  • Missing Ferland

    Here’s some hope for this team. For everyone saying they’ve been a fan for over 30 years and they don’t remember being this disappointed. 1988, we destroyed the Oilers all through the regular season and then got swept in the Playoffs by the Oilers. That was way more disappointing than this. The good news is, with a lot of the same team the next year we won the cup. The cup might look a long way off for this team right now, but the same was true in 88.

    • Budgie

      Bob Johnson handed Terry Crisp the Stanley Cup team after grimacing behind the bench for 5 years with the task of matching lines with Gretzky, Messier, and Kurri. He figured out how to overcome their power, checking/hitting and speed. He had checkers like Colin Patterson, and Peplinski, plus Neuwendyke,Fleury, Gilmour, Loob, and Roberts to score. He had two-way players, and solid defense. Roberts and Newendyke were important two-way players-everyone back-checked-shutting down Gretzky, Messier, and Kurri. Calgary is close, a couple of two-way players away, we will have to meet Colorado again.

  • snotss

    another play off choke job…the flames seem to have the same results every playoffs……….choke..add this dismal effort in theses playoffs to the mountain of other playoff failures……….sad