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Western Conference Playoffs Round One Preview: Game 5, Calgary Flames vs Colorado Avalanche

Is this the end?

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Calgary Flames at Colorado Avalanche Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Western Conference Playoffs Round 1: Game 5

Calgary Flames vs Colorado Avalanche , 8:00 PM MT, Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary AB

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

Colorado leads the series 3-1

Well, it all comes down to this. The Flames magical season that showed so much promise and playoff potential is hanging by a thread as Calgary tucks their tails between their legs and head home for Game 5.

The main question to ask is: what the hell happened to this team? The offensive juggernaut that rolled through the regular season has disappeared. Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Elias Lindholm, Matthew Tkachuk and Mark Giordano have all been no shows in this series. If Calgary has ANY chance to extend this to a 6th game that group needs to pull it together and do it QUICK.

If you're an Av's fan how can you not be thrilled? Your team got manhandled in Game 1, but unlike Calgary, they actually got their act together. The A's have reeled off three straight victories and are looking like the dangerous team that finished off the regular season 8-1-2. Colorado is getting key contributions from their top line (that's a novel idea) and Philipp Grubauer has been outstanding at the other end of the ice.

Not be forgotten is the play of Mike Smith is this mess the Flames have created for themselves. He's been outstanding in this series, despite the garbage playing in front of him. In the first four games Smith has faced a nonsensical 173 shots, 108 of them coming in the last two games. How are you supposed to win when your goalie is dealing with Colorado spending THAT much time in your end?

Add that to the list of questions the Flames are going to have to answer if Colorado wraps this series up tonight. Can Calgary turn this series around? Of course, there's too much talent on this team. With that said, has anything you've seen from the Flames best players given you any reason to believe?

Starting Goalies (E=Expected, C=Confirmed)

Flames: Smith (E)- 1-3, 2.78 GAA, .931 Save%

Avalanche: Grubauer (E)- 3-1, 2.10 GAA, .933 Save%

Team Leaders

Flames: Goals- Tkachuk (2), Points- Bennett (4), PIM- Tkachuk (16), Save%- Smith (.931)

Avalanche: Goals- MacKinnon (3), Points- Rantanen (6). PIM- Zadorov (12), Save%- Grubauer (.933)

What’s Happening With The Opposition?

Colorado Avalanche Coverage: Mile High Hockey

Last Time Out

Calgary Flames 2 - Colorado Avalanche 3 (OT)

Players To Watch

Calgary Flames

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

Mikael Backlund: 2 points in last 2 games

Colorado Avalanche

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

Mikko Rantanen: 6 points in last 3 games