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game recap

Smith makes 26 saves for Flames to shut out Avalanche in Game 1

Goalie gets assist on Tkachuk's second goal

by Aaron Vickers / Correspondent

Smith's 26-save shutout

COL@CGY, Gm1: Smith makes 26 saves in shutout victory

R1, Gm1: Mike Smith stops all 26 shots that he faces in his first playoff appearance since 2012, leading the Flames to a 4-0 shutout victory

  • 02:04 •

CALGARY -- Mike Smith made 26 saves for the Calgary Flames in a 4-0 win against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round at Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday.

He is the first goalie in Flames history to earn a shutout in a series-opening game.

"This time of year, you want to do your best," said Smith, who had not played a Stanley Cup Playoff game since May 22, 2012, for the Arizona Coyotes. "You want to feel like you're contributing. I wanted this to be one of my better games of the year. I don't know if you ever quite feel it. You just make one save at a time, and fortunately I was able to shut them down."


[WATCH: Avalanche vs. Flames Game 1 highlights | Complete series coverage]


Matthew Tkachuk had two goals, and Andrew Mangiapane and Mikael Backlund scored for Calgary.

"It's always nice when your goalie plays the way he did tonight," Tkachuk said. "I even thought our team defense was pretty solid. We didn't give up too much in front of him. We gave up a couple, but they've got good players over there, that stuff's going to happen. I thought all in all it was a good win."

Video: COL@CGY, Gm1: Mangiapane scores beauty for Flames

Philipp Grubauer made 28 saves for the Avalanche, who won eight of their final 11 games of the regular season.

"The majority of this game I liked the way we played," Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog said. "I liked the speed we played with. We were able to create some zone time, but at the same time, I'd like to get something in front of Smith and take away his eyes. He's a big goalie. He makes the saves he needs to. I'd like to test him a little bit more."

Game 2 of the best-of-7 series is Saturday at Calgary.

Mangiapane, a rookie in his first NHL playoff game, scored unassisted at 14:25 of the second period to put the Flames up 1-0. He got to a loose puck along the left wall in the Avalanche zone and cut to the net through the bottom of the left face-off circle before sliding in a backhand while on one knee.

Mangiapane's goal came after Smith made two glove saves earlier in the period during an Avalanche power play, on Landeskog's backhand from the edge of the crease at 2:13 and Derick Brassard's one-timer at 2:47.

"Margin of error and the difference isn't big this time of year, but he was definitely a difference-maker," Landeskog said of Smith. "Made some big saves when they needed him."

Tkachuk made it 2-0 at 18:58 when he tipped in Mark Giordano's point shot on the power play. Colorado coach Jared Bednar challenged for goaltender interference by Tkachuk, but the goal was upheld after video review.

Smith made a right-pad save on Alexander Kerfoot in the slot on the power play at 6:27 of the third period, one second after Nathan MacKinnon hit the post on a wrist shot from above the right circle.

Smith made a glove save on MacKinnon's shot off the rush at 8:50.

Backlund made it 3-0 with a power-play goal at 17:01. His wrist shot from the top of the right circle went in off Grubauer's right skate through a Sam Bennett screen.

Smith got an assist on Tkachuk's empty-net goal to make it 4-0 with 2:45 remaining.

"He was awesome tonight, made a couple great glove saves, big pad saves," Tkachuk said. "He was great tonight. Playing the puck, giving me so much time on the empty-netter. Great play by him. Not many people see that. He was awesome tonight."

Video: Clutch Performance: Svechnikov, Mangiapane shine


They said it

"I haven't quite experienced what I experienced tonight throughout my 13 years in this league, [and] I've been through a lot." -- Flames goalie Mike Smith

"He made some big glove saves early; it was great to see the fans get behind Smith, as well as the team. He played with a lot of juice tonight. Smith has been doing it for a long time and has been playing his best hockey the last six weeks, and it showed tonight." -- Flames coach Bill Peters

"I liked [our] start coming into an energized building against an energized team. Overall, I didn't think we did enough to win the hockey game, there weren't more than a handful of players I was happy with." -- Avalanche coach Jared Bednar


Need to know

It was the first playoff win for the Flames since a 4-3 overtime victory against the Anaheim Ducks in Game 3 of the Western Conference Second Round on May 5, 2015. … The Flames are 10-12 in series as the higher seed and have lost their past six such series dating to the 1990 Smythe Division Semifinals against the Los Angeles Kings.


What's next

Game 2 of Western Conference First Round at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS, ALT) 

Video: Flames shut out Avalanche in Game 1

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