For the first time, the top seeds in each conference have been eliminated in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. They will face the victor of the Vegas Golden Knights-and San Jose Sharks in a Western Conference semifinal series beginning next week; Vegas leads the Sharks 3-2 heading into Sunday's Game 6 in Sin City.
The Predators have been without forward Brian Boyle since Game 1 after an appendectomy, and forward Wayne Simmonds has been out since taking a one-timer from Roman Josi off the inside of his left knee. With eight points in five games, MacKinnon is starting to get more national publicity and given that the top seeds have fallen already, he may very well be the best player left in the playoffs. There are no series prices for the Flames and the Avalanche, but if you like a comeback, this is the time.
"You have to do everything in your power to win this game".
"The three of us tried to do our best, but it was a team effort", MacKinnon told the CBC broadcast afterward, talking about his line with Rantanen and Landeskog, which combined for 21 points.
The odds are against Calgary advancing to the second round.
Few people predicted this is how the series would play out, but in the National Hockey League world of parity you saw it with an all-time great regular season team in the Tampa Bay Lightning getting swept out of the playoffs. In Game 1 they were shut down by Calgary, and since then they have averaged 4.0 goals per game in the next three meetings.
T.J. Brodie scored for the Flames, and Mike Smith finished with 27 saves.
Frederik Andersen had 28 saves for Toronto.
The 31-year-old mustered seven shots on net, had zero points and was minus-3 in Calgary's first four games of the series. Listen, he gets my vote for best player right now in the game, at this point.
"On the penalty, we wouldn't be talking about it if we had come through on the kill there", said Flames head coach Bill Peters. "We won some big games".
"I'd love to have our foot on the gas when it's two-nothing, two-one".
Dallas eventually did get one past Rinne when Jason Dickinson cut to the middle and one-timed a shot through the goaltender's five-hole. "It was a little bit different (coming to the Saddledome as a visitor)".
"We haven't scored enough".
Gaudreau, Calgary's top goal scorer, was thwarted in the series.
After 51 minutes and 33 seconds of relatively sloppy play and few scoring chances, Auston Matthews came through. Gabriel Landeskog (92) hugs Carl Soderberg (34).
When Calgary is in the offensive zone, the Avs have taken away time and space to generate quality shots and scoring chances. "That's what we want him to do". "You always got to remember that there's two teams on the ice, so you have to give a lot of credit to the way that they contained us".
The Avs arrived at the post-season on the run going 8-0-2 to clinch the conference's final wild-card berth in the second-last game of their regular season.
But the Flames now find themselves the desperate team.
"We were fighting for our lives for the last 10-15 games", Bednar said.
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