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game recap

Avalanche win Western series, top Flames in Game 5

Four players have three points, Grubauer makes 28 saves for Colorado

by Aaron Vickers / NHL.com Correspondent

Wilson nets second on power play

COL@CGY, Gm5: MacKinnon sets up Wilson for PPG

R1, Gm5: Colin Wilson gets position in the slot and redirects in Nathan MacKinnon's feed on the power play for his second goal of the game

  • 01:03 •

CALGARY -- The Colorado Avalanche advanced to the Western Conference Second Round with a 5-1 win against the Calgary Flames in Game 5 of the first round at Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday.

It's the first time the Avalanche have advanced past the first round since 2008, when they defeated the Minnesota Wild in six games.

"It feels good to be on this side of the series for once," Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog said. "I've been on the other side in 2014 and last year. It feels good. It's just the start. I'm really proud of the guys and the way we've come together and the way we've played in this series. I think it's awesome. This is step one. We're looking to get some days of rest and get back at it next week."

 

[WATCH: Avalanche vs. Flames Game 5 highlights | Complete series coverage]

 

Mikko Rantanen and Colin Wilson each had two goals and an assist, and Nathan MacKinnon and Tyson Barrie each had three assists for the Avalanche, who will play the winner of the San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights. Vegas leads that best-of-7 series 3-2. 

Philipp Grubauer made 28 saves.

"It's big, but we're not done yet," Rantanen said. "I think everybody's hungry. We could see even after this game, guys were not celebrating too much. We know we're not done yet. There's lots of work to do. This is the first step."

Video: COL@CGY, Gm5: Rantanen, Wilson combine for goal

TJ Brodie scored, and Mike Smith made 27 saves for the Flames.

With Calgary's loss, the top two teams entering the Stanley Cup Playoffs have been eliminated in the opening round for the first time since the NHL expansion of 1967-68. The Tampa Bay Lightning, who won the Presidents' Trophy, were swept in the Eastern Conference First Round by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Since 1967-68, when six teams were added to make the NHL a 12-team league, there have been a number of playoff formats: division-based, conference-based, and for two seasons (1979-80, 1980-81) the top 16 teams were seeded by regular-season points.

In none of those instances had the top two teams in each division or conference, or the teams with the two best records, been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

"Everybody that makes it in is an NHL playoff team and they deserve to be in there," Smith said. "It's a hard season to get into the playoffs. It's so competitive. Once you're in there, anything can happen.

"I didn't think we played our best consistently throughout this series and you have to do your best if you want to move on. You can't move on just being average. They were better. They were the better team and they deserve some credit."

Video: Clutch Performance: Grubauer leads Avs past Flames

Landeskog gave Colorado a 1-0 lead at 9:40 of the first period when he redirected Barrie's point shot.

Johnny Gaudreau was stopped by Grubauer on a penalty shot at 13:54 and missed the net on a breakaway at 15:22 before Rantanen banked a shot off Smith's back from below the goal line 16 seconds later to put the Avalanche up 2-0.

Brodie cut it to 2-1 with six seconds remaining in the first off a turnover by Avalanche defenseman Ian Cole.

Wilson scored at 6:52 of the second period off a give-and-go with Rantanen to make it 3-1.

Gaudreau appeared to cut it to 3-2 at 9:34, but the play was ruled no goal because of goaltender interference on Sam Bennett. Flames coach Bill Peters challenged the play, but the call was upheld after a video review.

Wilson extended the lead to 4-1 at 14:47 when he redirected MacKinnon's pass on the power play in the slot, and Rantanen scored on a one-timer on the power play 57 seconds into the third period to make it 5-1.

"People say that it's hard to close out the series, especially when it's 3-1," Rantanen said. "I think it was a great team effort again. We got an early lead right away and then we just finished it off."

Video: COL@CGY, Gm5: Rantanen blasts one-timer for PPG

 

They said it

"Obviously, we were the big underdogs and no one picked us to win. We didn't expect to win in five, but we believed in this group. We just got rolling. We felt like Game 1 (4-0 loss) we outplayed them and ever since then, the score matched our play, I think. We put up two straight 50 shot games along with a really good game, too. It's exciting." -- Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon

Video: COL@CGY, Gm5: Avs, Flames shake hands after Game 5

"It sits with you for the rest of the playoffs. You hear about other teams playing games and you're obviously watching. It sits with you for a while, probably until the end of playoffs. It's going to be a long couple months, but hopefully it [doesn't] sit well with us, we learn from this, and come back next year." -- Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau

 

Need to know

It's the first time in Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques history four players have each had three points in a series-clinching game. … Rantanen, MacKinnon and Landeskog combined for 21 points (nine goals, 12 assists) in the series. Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm combined for five points (two goals, three assists).

Video: #ThirstForTheCup: Colorado moves on to Second Round

 

What's next

Avalanche: Game 1 of Western Conference Second Round against San Jose Sharks or Vegas Golden Knights (TBD)

Flames: Season over

Video: Avalanche win Game 5 to eliminate Flames

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