Avalanche up 5-1, Flames' season on the line

From NCAA championship to NHL playoffs An inside look at Cale Makar’s last 72 hours

From NCAA championship to NHL playoffs An inside look at Cale Makar’s last 72 hours

His scoring prowess is required ASAP. Even with an excellent blueline led by Mark Giordano, who is the Norris Trophy favorite, the Flames can't figure it out. "We had a great regular season".

No panic, though. Just action.

"The thing about him was when we thought we had him contained five-on-five, he makes you pay on the power-play, like tonight".

What did we learn from this one?

Either that, or summer starts early.

It's the first time in National Hockey League history that both conference top seeds were eliminated in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Game 5 is Friday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, where the Western Conference top-seeded Flames will be in danger of being eliminated.

"We had a good team here, and we didn't show that here through the five games", Monahan said.

"We told you going into the playoffs that we had a different feeling, a different mindset this year, that we're here for a objective", Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said.

The Flames don't have a monopoly on vanishing stars in this postseason. Along with the Tampa Bay Lightning's sweep at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets, it marked the first time both No. 1 seeds lost in the first round in the expansion era. He had six goals and 12 assists in 54 regular-season games for Calgary.

"I just said he was wonderful", MacKinnon shared afterward. Ryan's emergence in the second half of the season remains such a huge part of why the Flames were able to maintain their pace ... "It's very encouraging that we can flip the switch".

Calgary didn't counter Colorado's speed - that shifts into a higher gear when Nathan MacKinnon is on the ice - in late-game pushes that produced that produced overtime wins for the Avs. A tough player to play against, and I thought he really took control and led their team. In overtime, Backlund had a ideal view on Rantanen's winning shot soaring right past him. "We want to hang onto pucks and spend some time down there".

"We have nothing to lose now", Backlund said. "The downs have been like, 'OK, how do we get better.' The ups have been, 'Let's keep getting better.' I feel we continue to get better in this series, which is a good feeling for all of us". They won 50 games for only the second time in franchise history and looked poised to make a long playoff run. Rantanen, who looked sloppy in Game 1, sure shook off the rust real quick, picking up a whopping nine points in the final four games of the series. Just over a minute later, Compher sent a shot past Smith following a scramble in front of the net. From there, Soderberg slid the puck over to a wide-open Rantanen, who lined a shot past Mike Smith.

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. "You don't score, you've got to change it up a little".

The Bruins threw a wrinkle at the Maple Leafs by shuffling their lines. Morgan Rielly added two assists for Toronto. Can Calgary get off the mat or is Colorado the better bet to finish off this series? "It was not the best, but we got it done".

"I thought our matchups were fine".

"I'm like a baby learning how to walk right now", Montgomery said. "Gave up some opportunities that we didn't need to give up". Tuukka Rask made 38 saves for Boston while Toronto's Frederik Andersen stopped 25 shots.

LAST 10 GAMES: Avalanche: 7-2-1, averaging 3.1 goals, 5.5 assists, 4.1 penalties and nine penalty minutes while giving up 2.4 goals per game with a.929 save percentage.

Brind'Amour not only has the Carolina Hurricanes in the playoffs in his first season as coach but has made the necessary adjustments to tie their series against the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals at two games apiece.

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