- The Colorado Avalanche won eight of their final 11 games to end the regular season
- Colorado outplayed Calgary by a wide margin in Game 3 en route to a 6-2 win and a 2-1 series lead
- Flames leading scorer Johnny Gaudreau is goalless in seven straight playoff games
Could we see both No. 1 seeds upset in the first round of the 2019 NHL playoffs?
It’s starting to look like that as the Tampa Bay Lightning are on the brink of elimination and now the Colorado Avalanche have taken a 2-1 series lead against Calgary.
Are the Avs, who are still getting plus-money to win the best-of-seven, a good bet to win the series at this point?
Avalanche vs Flames Series Odds
|Team||Colorado vs Calgary series price at Bovada (Apr. 16)|
Avs Whipped the Flames in Game 3, But Don’t Overreact
It’s important not to overreact in a playoff series. The Avs were shutout in Game 1, came back to win Game 2 in OT, and then rocked the Flames in Game 3. They had two more minutes of offensive -one puck possession, outshot them 56-29, had nearly triple the slot shots at 34-13, and had more than triple the rush scoring chances (18-5).
Their defense also got a boost from Hobey Baker-winner Cale Makar, who scored a goal in his first NHL game.
First NHL goal for Cale Makar. For those of us who watched him all year at UMass this is not really surprising… pic.twitter.com/PTAS0nMbQx
— Bucci Mane (@Buccigross) April 16, 2019
The Flames were a quality defensive team in the regular season and they should bounce back. They might still lose Game 4, but I expect a huge effort from the Flames in Game 5 back in Calgary. The Flames won a Western Conference-leading 26 games at home this year, while Colorado had just 17 wins outside of Denver, the fewest among all playoff teams.
Don’t overreact to Game 3. That was Calgary’s worst effort and Colorado’s best, so if you’re betting Colorado now, you’re betting them at a high.
Flames’ Top Line Has Been a Non-Factor
It’s no secret that Colorado’s top line (Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Gabe Landeskog) has to feast if they’re to have any shot. They are delivering in spades right now; Nathan MacKinnon had the overtime-winner in Game 2 and then led the way with two goals and an assist in Game 3.
— Hockey Daily #StickTogether (@HockeyDaily365) April 14, 2019
Not only do the Flames have to figure out how to stop that trio, they have to get their own big line going. Johnny Gaudreau is now scoreless in seven straight playoff games and the Gaudreau-Elias Lindholm-Sean Monahan line has combined for just four points so far.
Flames’ Blueline Will Step Up
The Flames lost by a hair in Game 2 and put forth an awful effort in Game 3. They should be better in Game 4. The bottom line is they allowed a whopping 56 shots on net, which is unacceptable. They were worked over in possession, effort, and pretty much everything else.
Nathan MacKinnon has scored the last THREE goals in this series.
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) April 16, 2019
The other key here is that the Flames – believe it or not – have an excellent blueline. They didn’t show up in Game 3, but Mark Giordano is the Norris favorite, and guys like T.J. Brodie, Noah Hanifin and Travis Hamonic are all better than what they’ve shown. This team allowed the fewest shots on net this season at 28.1; expect them to correct the Game 3 mistakes going forward.
What’s the Best Bet?
Have mercy, Mike Smith! pic.twitter.com/HPVmWw953B
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) April 12, 2019
If you want to sprinkle a small bet on Colorado to win the series at +110, I wouldn’t blame you. This is a team that won eight of its last 11 games and, outside of Game 1, has looked really good.
At the same time, I still see this being a six or seven-game series determined by the narrowest of margins.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.