The optimism that surrounded the top-seeded Calgary Flames following their impressive 4-0 win over Colorado in Game 1 has dissipated after back-to-back losses.
The Avalanche now have a chance to seize a 3-1 stranglehold on the best-of-seven battle in Game 4 at the Pepsi Center in Denver on Wednesday (10:00 pm ET).
Opening Odds for Game 4
The Flames are slight road favorites in Game 4, opening around -116 on the moneyline, while Colorado was originally -105. The game total started at 6.0 O/U.
The first three games in the series have averaged 5.67 goals per game.
Flames vs Avalanche Statistical Comparison
|50-25-3 (24-15-2 away)||Record||38-30-14 (21-14-6 home)|
|289 (2nd)||Goals For||258 (10th)|
|223 (9th)||Goals Against||244 (16th)|
|53.9 (5th)||Corsi %||49.9 (16th)|
|92.4 (19th)||Save %||92.8 (9th)|
|52.2 (11th)||High-Danger Chances %||48.75 (20th)|
*All stats from regular season.
Takeaways from the Series To-Date
The Flames were the superior regular-season team by almost every metric. They scored more goals, gave up fewer, generated more chances, and had a better road record than Colorado had home record.
But the first two games in Calgary looked very evenly matched. Game 1, which ended 4-0 for the Flames, was tied at zero until late in the second, while the Avs outshot Calgary (39-37) in their Game 2 overtime win.
When the series shifted to Colorado for Game 3, any sense of parity evaporated. The Avalanche dominated from the opening faceoff, lobbing 56 shots at Mike Smith and ultimately emerging with a 6-2 win.
The difference in the series so far has been that Colorado’s big guns have produced, while Calgary’s have mostly fired blanks.
Nathan MacKinnon (3 G, 4 PTS), in particular, has dominated the series, while linemate Mikko Rantanen (1 G, 4 PTS) has returned strong from injury.
On the Calgary side, leading scorer Johnny Gaudreau (36 G, 99 PTS) has just one assist through three games, while Norris-favorite Mark Giordano is -3 with a single helper.
In net, the Flames have actually gotten a solid performance out of Mike Smith, who was one of the biggest question marks for the team coming into the playoffs. Smith and Colorado starter Philipp Grubauer have almost identical save percentages (.928 for Grubauer, .926 for Smith), but Smith has seen a lot more rubber (121 shots vs 97 shots).
Streaks and Trends
After dropping Games 2 and 3, Calgary is now a concerning 4-5-1 in its last ten games, dating back to the regular season. The Flames will need to be better to keep their Stanley Cup run going.
Colorado, on the other hand, is also an uninspiring 6-2-2 over that same ten-game stretch. They were tremendous down the stretch as they distanced Arizona to claim the final playoff spot in the West.
When it comes to spread-betting, the Flames were a solid 44-41 against the puckline, identical to Colorado’s 44-41 puckline record.
Be sure to remember that overtime in the playoffs is 5-on-5 and there are no shootouts. They keep playing at full strength (barring penalties) until there’s a winner. Teams’ strength 5-on-5 becomes more important come playoff time.