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Western Conference Playoffs Round One Preview: Game 3, Calgary Flames vs Colorado Avalanche

Colorado dumped the Flames to even the series as they head home to Denver.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Colorado Avalanche at Calgary Flames Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

Western Conference Playoffs Round 1: Game 3

Calgary Flames (1-1) vs Colorado Avalanche (1-1), 8:00 PM MT, Pepsi Center, Denver CO

TV: CNBC, CBC, TVAS - Radio: Sportsnet 960

Well, if you’re one of those people who wanted to see if the Flames could handle any adversity in the’ll be happy. Calgary fell to the Colorado Avalanche Saturday night in overtime and the series is now even at a game apiece. Calgary came out slow on Saturday and the hottest team in the NHL coming into the playoffs pushed the Flames to the extra session after a late third period goal erased a one goal lead by Calgary.

What happened in overtime was exactly what the Flames didn’t want to see happen and Colorado was desperate to see happen: Nathan MacKinnon scoring a goal. The Av’s as a whole were shut down in the series opener, but their top line was on full display Saturday night. Mikko Rantanen had a two point effort, MacKinnon scored the game winner and Gabriel Landeskog had an assist. This line getting going was a must if Colorado was going to make this a series and that trio gaining some traction is just what the Av’s need as they head home with some momentum.

Now, not all is lost with the Flames either. Both squads needs to get something from their big guns and Calgary’s top crew started to show some signs of life. Sean Monahan scored and Johnny Gaudreau had an assist, so as top lines go, Calgary got a good performance from a unit that was MIA during game one. But what is keeping the Flames afloat is everyone else....especially Sam Bennett. Bennett leads the Flames in points so far with three and he now has nine points in 17 career playoff games. He also has eight hits in the two games so far, which is good for second on the team behind Garnet Hathaway. The Flames are going to need better results from their stars, but more performances like that from their “lunch pail” type players will certainly help along the way.

Starting Goalies (E=Expected, C=Confirmed)

Flames: Smith (E)- 1-1, 1.40 GAA, .945 Save%

Avalanche: Grubauer (E)- 1-1, 2.36 GAA, .926 Save%

Team Leaders

Flames: Goals- Tkachuk (2), Points- Bennett (3), PIM- Backlund (2), Save%- Smith (.945)

Avalanche: Goals- MacKinnon (1), Points- Rantanen (2), PIM- Brassard (6), Save%- Grubauer (.926)

What’s Happening With The Opposition?

Colorado Avalanche Coverage: Mile High Hockey

Last Time Out

Calgary Flames 2 - Colorado Avalanche 3 (OT) (Recap)

Players To Watch

Calgary Flames

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Colorado Avalanche at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Sam Bennett (C/F): 3 points, 8 hits in 2 games

Colorado Avalanche

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Colorado Avalanche at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Mikko Rantanen (F): 2 assists in Game 2