In an alternate universe, the Stanley Cup playoffs would begin on Wednesday night. In our NHL 20 sims, the virtual Calgary Flames hosted the Vegas Golden Knights in the first game of their best-of-seven series. Unfortunately, the Flames lost a tight game by a 4-2 score to go down 1-0 in the series.
It was a very Flamesy first game of the playoffs.
The Flames got down 2-0 early. Tomas Nosek scored off the cycle with a wrist shot that beat David Rittich just inside the far post. Then, Mark Stone buried a rebound off a Max Pacioretty rush shot.
But the Flames came back! Sam Bennett scored off the rush on a power to cut the lead to 2-1. Then Matthew Tkachuk buried a Mikael Backlund feed in the slot to tie the game a 2-2. Pacioretty took a double minor for high sticking late in the second period and the prolonged power play seemed primed to give the Flames a lead heading into the intermission.
In the dying moments of the period, Reilly Smith’s shorthanded wrist shot from outside of the faceoff circles beat Rittich over his shoulder to give Vegas a 3-2 lead. Alex Tuch added a third period deflection goal to make it a 4-2 final.
The Flames never led, but out-shot Vegas 25-15. But that whiff on their long second period power play sunk ’em entirely.
- William Karlsson (Vegas)
- Mikael Backlund (Calgary)
- Alec Martinez (Vegas)
Game 2’s simulation goes Friday night in Calgary.