The Colorado Avalanche are dominating the Calgary Flames in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, leading the series 3-1. It’s a little unprecedented considering The Avs and Flames faced off 3 times during the regular season and the Flames were victorious all 3 times.
Game 1 started rough with the Avs getting slammed 0-4. The game was riddles with penalties on both sides. The Flames scored on the power play twice which was absolutely deadly for the Avalanche. The Avs were also outshot 26-32. It was a rough start for a team that just clinched their spot in a thrilling overtime victory. The Avs didn’t let this game get them down, they brushed it off and began to fight back in Game 2.
The Avs fought back early in Game 2. Matthew Nieto scored short-handed 7:16 into the first period and the game was off to the races after that. Derick Brassard was out for blood, picking up 6 penalty minutes in this game alone. This game went into overtime and Ray of Sunshine Nate MacKinnon scored the game winning goal 8:27 into the 1st OT.
Into Game 3, the Avs absolutely slaughtered the Flames, with points and punches. The Avs beat the Flames 6-2 and there were 86 penalty minutes in total. The Flames had 50 of those 86 while the Avs had the other 36 minutes. Gabe Landeskog got scrappy with Matthew Tkachuk in the 3rd that landed Tkachuk with a 10 minute misconduct and immediate send to the locker room. In this game alone, 5 players (3 Calgary and 2 Colorado) got 10 minute misconduct penalties. Points wise, Colorado’s depth scoring showed. They had 11 players get points during the game. Nate Mac stepped up big again with 2 goals and an assist.
In Game 3, Cale Makar made his NHL appearance and scored his first goal on his first shot. The kid is an absolute wizard and you can tall that Colorado loves him right back.
This is the game that set the tone of the series for the Avs. They showed that they were elite both physically and skillfully. They carried that attitude into game 4 where they took a steady lead in the series following another OT victory.
Game 4 the Avalanche pulled an amazing comeback in the 3rd period. The team was down after a power play goal from Elias Lindholm in the 2nd period. The Flames added to their lead in the 3rd but Colorado cut it in half less than a minute later when J.T. Compher scored. Mikko Rantanen scored with 2:50 left in the game to push into overtime. Mikko scored once more securing the Avs victory. The Avs largely outshot the Flames 52-37.
All of this is not possible without the amazing goalie the Avs have in net. Philipp Grubauer has been steady for the Avs. In this playoff run he’s played in all 4 games, faced 134 shots and only allowed 9 into the net. He’s rockin a save percentage of .933 and a goals against average of 2.10 per game. He is definitely a pillar for the Avs to rest themselves upon but the team has worked well not to rely solely on him in net.
The Avs’ top line was on fire in the beginning of the season and has found their fire power once more. Between Gabe Landeskog, Nate MacKinnon, and Mikko Rantanen, there’s 14 points (6 goals and 8 assists) and 59 shots on goal. All 3 are leading by example in this series and it shows with the play of their teammates.
The Avalanche have been hungry for a 2nd round face off for a while now and this is shaping up to go amazing in their favor. Game 5 will be in Calgary and this can be the night that the Avs venture further than the first round for the 1st time in 2010.
Featured Image: The Denver Post