The Calgary Flames lost to the Colorado Avalanche by a 5-1 score on Friday night in Game 5 of the Western Conference quarterfinal series. Here are selected reactions from players and coaches following the game.
(Another) game that got away from them
The Flames never led in this game. However, head coach Bill Peters liked their start but felt the game got away from them after awhile.
I didn’t mind our start. I thought we were dangerous at times. I thought we had the penalty shot there early, and then it was 1-0. We had a breakaway, a good save, and then it comes down and they counter quickly. And I didn’t even realize it but I knew Hammer was getting some work in-between periods. Makar misses the net, hits Hammer in the chin basically and they score, banking it in off Smitty (who was outstanding tonight and in the series). I think it was just it got away from us, no different than Game 3. And then when it got away from us a little bit, the frustration grew.
Peters summed up the feeling on the team rather succinctly at the end of his press conference: “We wanted to be getting on a plane tomorrow, and we’re not.”
Johnny Hockey gets looks, zero points
The best Flames player in Game 5, aside from goaltender Mike Smith, was probably Johnny Gaudreau. The Flames sniper played 18:33, had four shots, two missed shots and a shot that was blocked. He had a lot of chances, but just couldn’t get one past Avalanche netminder Philipp Grubauer.
“It sucks. I thought I had him beat on the penalty shot,” said Gaudreau. “My stick hit his skate, was gonna slide it in there far side. My stick hit his skate and lost the puck. Next one, he made a nice blocker save. It sucks, but that’s the way it goes. He played well.”
(Gaudreau was credited with a missed shot on his breakaway, for what it’s worth.)
Peters liked Gaudreau’s performance in Game 5.
“Halfway through the game he scored a goal, it gets disallowed, and then he has two breakaways,” said Peters. “One results in a penalty shot, which is the right call I would think. He tried. I’m telling you, he tried. He had more looks than he’s getting credit for in the series.”
The Avalanche stymie Calgary’s transition game
The Flames’ calling card throughout much of the regular season was their lightning-fast transition game. But the Avalanche were all over them at the defensive blueline, creating oodles of turnovers and scoring chances – and contributing to the Flames gradually getting worn out throughout the series from defending so much.
“Some of the strengths that we had during the regular season weren’t strengths in Round 1,” said Peters. “And I can’t explain it to you why some of those went away. It’ll be interesting as we reflect and look back and try to find some answers. Obviously we tried to change some things lineup-wise, tried to change some match-ups a little bit on the MacKinnon line and we didn’t have an answer.”