Game Takes: Avalanche 5 Flames 1

April 19th, 2019 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Well hands up, who had Colorado in five?

I know I certainly didn’t.

The Flames were the picture of consistency and cohesion from October 26th through to the end of the regular season. They were quick to respond after big losses, they strung many multiple win streaks together while minimizing their losing streaks and galloping to a 50 win season.

They were every bit full marks on a 1st place finish in the conference.

Then the playoffs start and after game one they can’t move the puck, they can’t defend, they lose composure, and they lose their discipline. It was a collapse.

Tonight the Avalanche scored two in the first, two in the second and another in the third to coast to a 5-1 victory on “Good” Friday in Calgary.

That’s if folks, season over.

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Game Takes: Avs 3 Flames 2 (OT)

April 17th, 2019 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Three teams faced the spooky narrative of going down 3-1 in games tonight, the first two chronologically turned the tide and tied their series at 2-2, the Flames not so much as they drop a 3-2 overtime game in Denver to put themselves 60 or so minutes from an early exit to this year’s playoffs.

The better team won, there’s no point in sugar coating it. The Flames had a 2-0 lead in the third period, went into a shell and then had some calls go against them in the end that resulted in an overtime period. I don’t agree with all the calls for sure, but it’s hard to dispute that from the 35 minute point of the game on, the Avalanche pretty much took over.

The Flames are a fragile group. Their best players are simply far from their best players, and in a series where stars are taking over on the other side that will never be enough.

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Game Takes: Colorado 6 Flames 2

April 15th, 2019 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Well what to say?

The Flames are completely out classed, not only in this game, but in the series itself when you consider the real estate occupied in game one, and most of game two by the Avalanche. They appear to be a 15th seed playing a 1st seed in the first round.

Their best players are their worst players, and with that they appear to be lost.

The season has been built on never out of a game, and that mantra will be tested on the big stage in the “never out of a series” escalation, but a lot of things are going to have to change if the Flames are going to get back in this thing and eventually win the series.

Can they do it? Sure they can. But it’s going to take a complete reset from most of the players in the dressing room, and especially the team’s best players.

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Game Takes: Avalanche 3 Flames 2 (OT) Series Tied 1-1

April 14th, 2019 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

There are many schools of thought when it comes to how best prepare a team for the playoffs when they have little to play for in the final two weeks of the season.

You can rest players, as the Flames chose to do, something that avoids injury, takes care of nagging bumps and bruises and recharges batteries for key players. Other teams fear the loss of mojo or flow, and keep their players pushing until the end, fearing they’d be unable to relight that pilot light when the real games come for real.

Arguments can be made both ways for sure, but the Flames have certainly lost a little bit of that magic that led them to winning the conference in the regular season. They limped in with sketchy anemic offensive efforts against Anaheim and Edmonton, before finding the net on the powerplay twice in game one to find a win.

Tonight the right team won, there is little argument on that point as the Flames seemed to be hanging on for dear life from the drop of the puck as the Avalanche scored late in the third to tie a game they should have won going away, before getting the cash in from the hockey Gods in overtime for a 3-2 victory on Saturday night.

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Game Takes: Flames 4 Avalanche 0

April 11th, 2019 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Not sure anyone would have predicted this in early December.

Mike Smith was broken. The wheels had come off, and fans in Calgary were wondering if he was good enough to finish the season as the team’s backup.

Then something happened. He got on a mid season roll and started chalking up wins. Some of the wins were iffy in that run support was the biggest factor, but the team starting winning with Smith as an option in net.

Tonight he starts game one of the playoffs, a contest that often goes sideways on home ice to open the playoffs in Calgary history, and is exactly what the team needed in leading his club to a 4-0 series opening win against the Colorado Avalanche.

Not sure I would have ever guessed I’d hear a “Smitty Smitty Smitty” chant at the Saddledome ever again. I did, and it sounded great.

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