With a loss last night to the Colorado Avalanche, the Calgary Flames have put themselves in a 3-1 hole that they won’t be able to climb out of if they continue to play the way they are. Two of their three losses have gone to overtime but these games haven’t been nearly as close as the score would suggest.
The Flames have been atrocious defensively, barely able to stop Nathan MacKinnon any time he has the puck coming through the neutral zone. MacKinnon leads the playoffs in scoring chances and controlled entries.
If it was only their blue line that was the issue they might be in better shape but the Flames have been getting dominated in their zone. They’ve given up by far the most scoring chances of the playoffs with 50 more against them than any other team.
Compared to the rest of the teams in playoffs, the Flames are just getting dominated. They’re leaking high-quality shots left and right and if it weren’t for Mike Smith’s play they would be getting blown out.
The biggest question mark coming into the playoffs was Smith and now he’s the least of their worries. He’s faced more shots per game than any other goalie this playoff and more than anyone from both the slot and inner slot. Smith has been up to the task and the only real bright spot for this team through four games.
The Flames are on the brink of elimination and will make history in the worst way possible if they’re knocked out. This would be the first time both the Eastern Conference and Western Conference top seeds were knocked out in the first round. Not the kind of history you want to be a part of.
We’ve made mention a few times that Calgary needs to find a way to slow down the Avs off the rush. If the Flames don’t start clogging up that neutral zone and forcing dump-ins, they might as well dust off their golf clubs because they won’t have any chance of getting back into this series.
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