Avalanche beat Flames 5-1 in Game 5 to advance to 2nd round
CALGARY, Alberta — Colin Wilson and Mikko Rantanen each had two goals and an assist, and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Calgary Flames 5-1 in Game 5 of their playoff series Friday night to advance to the second round.
Gabriel Landeskog also scored, and Nathan MacKinnon and Tyson Barrie each had three assists as the Avalanche won a playoff series for the first time since 2008. Philipp Grubauer stopped 28 shots and a penalty shot by Johnny Gaudreau in the first period.
T.J. Brodie scored for the Flames, and Mike Smith finished with 27 saves.
Calgary, which finished first in the Western Conference at 50-25-7, was beaten by a team that sprinted the final two weeks of the regular season to capture the West’s last wild card and then won four straight in this series after losing the opener.
The Flames’ ouster marked the first time both conferences top seeds were eliminated in the first round. East-leading Tampa Bay, which won the Presidents’ Trophy with the league’s best record, was swept by Columbus.
Calgary ranked second in goal scoring in the regular season behind the Lightning and tied with San Jose. However, after opening with a 4-0 victory in Game 1, the Flames didn’t score more than two goals in any game. The NHL’s highest scoring team on home ice this season mustered only one in Game 5 despite head coach Bill Peters juggling his lines in an attempt to spark the offense.
Playoff veteran James Neal was a healthy scratch for the Flames with Austin Czarnik drawing in on the third line for his NHL playoff debut.
Gaudreau, Calgary’s top goal scorer, was limited to one assist in the series.
His penalty shot attempt in the first was unsuccessful, he shot the puck wide on a clear breakaway in the period, and had what would have been his first goal of these playoffs waived off for goaltender interference in the second.
Colorado was the more confident team after coming from behind to win both the second and fourth games of the series 3-2 in overtime, and decisively beating Calgary 6-2 in Game 3.
The Avalanche continued to beat Calgary to the puck in all three zones and make the Flames chase and defend.
Rantanen’s wrist shot over Smith’s left shoulder 57 seconds into the third period deadened Scotiabank Saddledome as Flames fans began coming to grips with team’s impending first-round upset.
Colorado scored first when Landeskog deflected a shot by Barrie by Smith’s glove at 9:40 of the opening period.
When Gaudreau shot the puck wide on a breakaway, the Avs scored on the return trip to make it 2-0 at with 4:22 left in the first. Rantanen circled out from behind Smith and put the puck off the back of the Calgary goalie to score.
Gaudreau had taken off on a partial breakaway just minutes earlier. With Barrie and Cale Makar on his back, Gaudreau’s backhand was just wide, but he was awarded a penalty shot. Gaudreau went forehand to backhand, but Grubauer snapped his left pad down to deny him.
Brodie scored with 5 seconds left in the first to pull Calgary to 2-1.
The Flames couldn’t score again.
Wilson earned his first at 6:52 of the second when Rantanen blocked a clearing attempt by Calgary’s Rasmus Andersson and dished to him in the high slot.
From the slot, Wilson redirected MacKinnon’s shot on Smith stick-side for a power-play goal with 5:13 left in the middle period.
NOTES: Avalanche C Derick Brassard (illness) and D Sam Girard (upper body) were Colorado’s scratches.
Avalanche will face the winner of the Vegas-San Jose series, which the Golden Knights lead 3-2.AlertMe