With a thrilling 3-2 overtime win in Game 4 at Pepsi Center on Wednesday, the Colorado Avalanche took a 3-1 series lead over the Calgary Flames in the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The victory set up a potential series-clinching Game 5 for the Avs on Friday at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary. If necessary, the first-round series would shift back to Denver for Game 6 on Sunday following the Friday night matchup.
Recapping Game 4
The Flames jumped out to a 2-0 lead when Elias Lindholm and Derek Ryan both lit the lamp for the visitors on Wednesday night. At the 8:10 mark of the third period, J.T. Compher netted his second goal of the series to cut the Calgary lead in half, 2-1. Mikko Rantanen tallied the equalizer with 2:50 left in regulation on the power play, giving the Finnish forward two straight games with a goal. The contest went to overtime and after the Avs successfully killed off a penalty, Rantanen struck for the game-winner at the 10:23 mark of the extra frame. Matt Calvert, Matt Nieto, Nathan MacKinnon, Carl Soderberg and Gabriel Landeskog each added assists in the win as Colorado netminder Philipp Grubauer stopped 35 shots through regulation and overtime, matching his career-high save total from Game 2 against the Flames. Calgary goaltender Mike Smith made 49 saves between the pipes.
What To Watch
J.T. Compher, the Northbrook, Illinois, native, has scored two third-period goals this series. His first came in Game 2 and was netted with just 2:39 left in regulation, sending the game into an extra frame where the Avs took the win. In Game 4, Compher reached the back of the net with 11:50 remaining in the third period to cut Colorado's deficit to 2-1, before Mikko Rantanen registered the game-tying and game-winning goals. Compher has also added a helper this series, giving him six points (two goals, four assists) in his Stanley Cup Playoffs career.
Five different Colorado skaters registered five or more shots on goal in the win against Calgary on Wednesday night as the team totaled more than 50 shots for the second game in a row. Colorado is averaging 43.3 shots-per-game this postseason, tops in the NHL. The Avalanche has fired 108 shots over the past two contests, 56 in Game 3 on Monday and 52 in Game 4 on Wednesday. The 108 combined shots are the most over a two-game span in franchise playoff history. In Game 4, Colin Wilson notched five shots, Gabriel Landeskog had six and Tyson Barrie, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen shared the team lead with seven apiece. The last time the Avalanche had five players with at least five shots on goal in a playoff game was on April 20, 1997 in a 4-3, double-overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks when Peter Forsberg, Jon Klemm, Joe Sakic and Keith Jones recorded five shots each and Claude Lemieux added six.
Players To Watch
Colorado: Right Wing Mikko Rantanen
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound forward tallied his first three career goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in Games 3 and 4, bringing his playoff total to 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in 10 postseason outings. Rantanen has reached the scoresheet in each of the last three contests against the Flames.
Calgary: Left Wing Johnny Gaudreau
In four games this series, the 2014 Hobey Baker Award winner has one assist and is averaging 19:40 of time on ice during the postseason. Gaudreau led the Flames with 99 points (36 goals, 63 assists) during the regular season, a career-best for him.
Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs' first-round series between the Avalanche and Flames is slated for 8 p.m. MT on Friday. The game can be watched locally on Altitude and will be televised nationally in the United States on NBCSN and in Canada on CBC, Sportsnet and TVA Sports. The radio broadcast can be heard on Altitude Sports Radio 92.5 FM in the Denver area or online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.
Additionally, fans are invited to the team's official watch party at Sports Column in downtown Denver where they can watch Game 5 and win prizes.