Calgary Flames eliminated in first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs

Apr 20 2019, 10:58 am

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The dream is over Flames fans.

The 2018-19 season came to an abrupt end after the Calgary Flames fell to the Colorado Avalanche 5-1 in Game 5 on Friday.

After an outstanding regular season, the Flames could not pull it together in the post-season and were outmatched, outplayed, and outscored by a composed Colorado Avalanche squad.

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In Game 5, it was once again the Avalanche’s top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Gabriel Landeskog that buried Calgary.

The Flames’ inability to slow down MacKinnon proved to be one of the biggest factors of their downfall.

He tallied three assists in Game 5 and finished the series with a total of 8 points.

Following the loss, Calgary’s glaring historical numbers start to get ugly.

First off, this becomes yet another marker in the franchise’s continued struggles in the playoffs over the last two decades.

It also marks the seventh straight time the Flames have blown home ice advantage in a series.

This also marks the first time in NHL history that the two top seeds in either conference have lost in the first round – the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Tampa Bay Lightning were swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

With the loss, this becomes the sixth straight series that the Flames have lost as the higher seed.

One of the biggest factors of the Flames downfall in this series was the inability to slow down superstar Nathan MacKinnon.

He tallied three assists in Game 5 and finished the series with a total of three goals and five assists.

Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau struggled all series, but had a particularly tough go in Game 5, missing a penalty shot and had a goal overturned.

A dejected Gaudreau told media after the game,”It sits with you for the rest of the playoffs … it’s going to be a long couple of months.” Gaudreau, who had 99 points in the regular season, only mustered one assist over the five games.

Another notable omission from the series was offseason acquisition James Neal. After signing a five-year, $28.75-million contract with the Flames in free agency, Neal was a healthy scratch Game 5 and a non-factor in the playoffs.

The one thing that Flames fans can hang on to is the way Mike Smith played in net. He turned aside a remarkable 188 saves over the course of the series, making a multitude of highlight reel stops, and earning a spot in franchise history.

If there’s any silver lining, this team is young, talented and hungry. You can bet they will be back next year.

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Graham CoxGraham Cox

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