Wanna blog? Start your own hockey blog with My HockeyBuzz. Register for free today!
 

G5 Calgary Flames vs Colorado Avalanche: Do or die

April 19, 2019, 1:08 PM ET [195 Comments]
Todd Cordell
Calgary Flames Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Follow me on Twitter @ToddCordell

Five things to watch when the Calgary Flames take on the Colorado Avalanche in Game 5:

1. Looking for a spark

In an effort to try and get Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan going, Bill Peters has elected to put Sam Bennett – someone whose been full of energy thus far – on the top line. Their results, albeit over a small sample, were not great this season, however, they have a 55.41 Corsi For% and 53.13 Scoring Chance For% in a little over 100 minutes dating back to last season. I don't know if this is the optimal combination, but it's something different and it was clear something needed to be changed. We'll see if they answer the bell.

2. Careful pressing

I think the Flames will come out with a ton of energy and be really aggressive to try and put the Avalanche on their heels – something that hasn't happened thus far. The one thing they'll have to be careful with is not being over the top with pinches, and ensuring there's a forward back if a defender does activate. The Avalanche are deadly on the counter-attack. The last thing the Flames can afford to do is give Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog, and some of their puck-moving defenders extra time and space to generate speed and offense off the rush. They'll make you pay.

3. Finally!

It took four sub-par performances but James Neal has finally been pulled from the lineup. He generated little offense and his lack of quickness, and ability to contribute through the neutral zone, seemed to really hurt the 3rd line. With Frolik, who excels in that area, dropping down and Czarnik entering the lineup, I think we can expect a more dangerous effort from that line. The Flames certainly need it because right now it is top-6 or bust, and they haven't been able to get the job done.

4. Holding the fort

The Avalanche have gotten whatever looks they've wanted all series long. They really seem to have the Flames figured out. While I do like the changes Bill Peters and co. made, I doubt the Avs will go from creating every shift to generating chances sparingly. I think Mike Smith will see his share of rubber, and he'll need to be on his game once again. If he puts up a bit of a stinker, which would be understandable given the workload he's handling right now as a 37-year-old, the Flames will probably be cleaning out their lockers in a couple of days. They need Smith to be sharp.

5. Special teams

40. That's the number of power plays that have been handed out through just four games. Even in a Game 4 where the refs let a *ton* go and 'put the whistles away', they still called seven minors. I once again expect plenty of special teams play in this one. If the first few games are any indication, the Flames will need to win that battle because Nathan MacKinnon and his Avs have fed the Flames their lunch at 5v5.

Here are the projected lineups:

Calgary

Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Sam Bennett
Matthew Tkachuk - Mikael Backlund - Elias Lindholm
Michael Frolik - Mark Jankowski - Austin Czarnik
Andrew Mangiapane - Derek Ryan - Garnet Hathaway

Mark Giordano - T.J. Brodie
Noah Hanifin - Travis Hamonic
Juuso Valimaki - Rasmus Andersson

Mike Smith

Colorado (via DailyFaceoff.com)

Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Alexander Kerfoot
Colin Wilson - Carl Soderberg - Mikko Rantanen
Matt Nieto - J.T. Compher - Matt Calvert
Gabriel Bourque - Tyson Jost - Sven Andrighetto

Ian Cole - Erik Johnson
Nikita Zadorov - Tyson Barrie
Patrik Nemeth - Cale Makar

Philipp Grubauer

Puck drop is just after 10:00 eastern.

Numbers via NaturalStatTrick.com

Recent posts:

Five observations from a missed opportunity in Game 4

Western Conference playoff picks

Predicting 1st round upsets

Five keys to Flames vs Avalanche

Flames sign Artyom Zagidulin

Flames among those targeting Joakim Nygard

On the Jason Zucker trade that almost was

Predicting the Pacific Division standings
Join the Discussion: » 195 Comments » Post New Comment
More from Todd Cordell
» On the proposed arena deal for the Calgary Flames
» On Milan Lucic and his role with the Calgary Flames
» On the Milan Lucic trade
» Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers to swap bad contracts
» On Sam Bennett and his next contract