2019 Stanley Cup Playoff Preview: Avalanche vs. Flames

Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving joins HC at Noon to discuss how they've been able to make their David Rittich, Mike Smith goalie split work all season, and why he's more than comfortable with it heading into the playoffs.

It took until late on the final night of the NHL regular season for the Calgary Flames to find out their first round opponent in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs and alas it’s the Colorado Avalanche.

Neither team has played each other in the post-season before which should make for an entertaining series.

Here’s a look at your Flames-Avalanche matchup:

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ADVANCED STATS

5-on-5 via Natural Stat Trick (with league rank)

Colorado: 49.86 CF% (14th), 50.49 GF% (17th), .923 SV% (9th), 7.62 SH% (22nd), 0.999 PDO (15th)

Calgary: 53.83 CF% (5th), 55.65 GF% (3rd), .918 SV% (9th), 9.09 SH% (4th), 1.009 PDO (6th)

TEAM STATS

Colorado: 22 PP% (7th), 78.7 PK% (25th), 258 GF (10th), 244 GA (16th)

Calgary: 19.3 PP% (18th), 79.7 PK% (19th), 289 GF (3rd), 223 GA (9th)

HEAD-TO-HEAD RECORD

Flames: 3-0-0

Colorado: 0-2-1

The skinny: The Calgary Flames have found their ideal first round matchup.

Calgary dominated the Avalanche throughout the regular season and scored 14 goals against them in the process. The Flames are icing arguably their best team in recent memory and after an impressive regular season, will be looking to give the Red Mile plenty to cheer about.

And, as an added bonus, Calgary won’t have to face the Anaheim Ducks this time.

After three-straight seasons without making the playoffs, Colorado has now reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs twice in a row. It’s the first time since 2006 that the Avs have reached the post-season in consecutive years.

The Flames last advanced past the first round in 2015 while Colorado’s slump of advancing to the second round dates back to 2008.

Colorado Avalanche X-Factor: Gabriel Landeskog

When the Avalanche’s captain was hurt on March 7 against Dallas and due to be out of the lineup for four-to-six weeks, it put Colorado’s playoff hopes in jeopardy.

But the team did fairly well without Landeskog and have been even better since he returned to the lineup on March 29.

In his five games back, Landeskog has put up six points, helped Colorado to a 3-1-1 record and a post-season berth. He also set a career-high with 34 goals this year.

If the Avs captain can keep it going in the playoffs, Colorado will have success.

Calgary Flames X-Factor: It’s all in the goaltending.

Calgary last saw the post-season in 2016-17 when then-goaltender Brian Elliott got lit up by the Ducks and the Flames were swept in four games.

Both Mike Smith and David Rittich split duties between the pipes for Calgary this season and it seems to have worked. Smith was 23-15-2 with a 2.72 goals-against average and .898 save percentage over 39 starts while Rittich was 27-9-5 with a 2.61 GAA and .911 SV% over 42 starts.

By the numbers, Rittich was the better goaltender for the Flames this season. But Smith is a veteran, which can always bode well for a playoff team.

Regardless of who coach Bill Peters goes with, as long as Calgary’s goaltending is better than it was two years ago, the Flames should be OK.

KEY INJURIES

Calgary:
Sam Bennett, undisclosed (day-to-day)

Colorado:
Mikko Rantanen, undisclosed (day-to-day)

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