DENVER-The brief message on social media from Colorado defenceman Nikita Zadorov was rhetorical in nature: "How is your bracket?"
Because obviously, it's pretty messy.
The eighth-seeded Avalanche have played a big role in that.
Backstrom scored the first two goals of Game 5, including the game-winner to help Washington off to a blazing start, and also chipped in two assists for a four-point game. It's on to the second round, where Colorado faces the victor of the Vegas-San Jose series.
In the second period, Gaudreau appeared to score his first goal of the series, only to have it waved off after teammate Sam Bennett was ruled to have interfered with Grubauer.
"The season we had we were not expecting to go out in five games obviously in the first round", Giordano said.
Colorado actually has been in playoff mode for about a month, needing to go 8-0-2 down the stretch to earn the last spot. Furthermore, the Flames amassed 50 wins and 107 points while securing the number one seed in the Western Conference. But they outscored the Flames by a 17-11 margin and outshot them 205-164. "That's going to be huge". Similar to the Lightning in its series, the Flames just couldn't get things clicking offensively. The Flames' exit comes on the heels of the East's top seed (Tampa Bay Lightning) being swept, marking the first time in National Hockey League history that the top-ranked team in each conference has been knocked out in the first round. He has at least a point in four straight games, which is one away from tying the Colorado/Quebec franchise mark held set by Peter Stastny in 1982 and equaled by Peter Forsberg on three separate occasions.
He missed the final eight games of the regular season with an upper-body injury. He shook off some rust in Game 1 and then spent the rest of the series shaking free of defenders.
Rookie Roope Hintz scored his first two career postseason goals as host Dallas cruised to victory over Nashville in Game 4 to even their Western Conference first-round series.
"He was amazing," said MacKinnon. "It's so nice to have a guy like that on your team". Grubauer posted a 1.90 goals-against average against the Flames. "He was really important for us".
"He had a really good series all around". "I had so many taken back that I got one back tonight, Matthews said of the fortunate call in the Leafs" favour. Makar's University of MA team lost in the NCAA title game last Saturday night. Makar is a Calgary native and his parents happen to be Flames season-ticket holders.
To put it simply, these guys were at their best and there was absolutely nothing the Flames could do to stop them.
"It's awesome to win a round", said MacKinnon, who had three goals and five assists in the series.
Tampa's elimination in the first round came as an even greater surprise. His energy, the way he plays the game, he plays it hard every single night, and he's getting rewarded right now.
The Flames lost four times in a row only once in their first 82 games but did it in five against the Avalanche.
"For anyone who doesn't think MacKinnon is not one of the best if not the best, they might want to look at this series", Flames captain Mark Giordano said.
In the first period alone, Gaudreau had three breakaway chances, one of which resulted in a penalty shot, but could not beat Avs goaltender Phillip Grubauer.