The Flames season ended in crushing defeat last night, falling to Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers in OT, 5-4, in Game 5 of their playoff series. And it’s not crushing because of what YOU think. It’s not because a Blake Coleman goal was taken off the board due to a “kicking motion.” So please, stop comparing it to 2004. Because it’s not even close to the same thing. One cost the Flames the Stanley Cup, the other “cost” the Flames a game where they blew three leads. And that’s why they lost: they weren’t good enough.
Calgary opened this series with a 9-6 win in Game 1 where they blew a 3-0 lead. And a 3-1 lead. And a 4-1 lead. And a 5-1 lead. And a 5-2 lead. See where this is going? The Flames never looked comfortable in this series and that started between the pipes. Jacob Markstrom, a Vezina Trophy Finalist, was anything but in this series. Here’s what he looked like in the five games:
Game 1: 28 shots, 6 goals allowed: .785 SV%
Game 2: 40 shots, 5 goals allowed: .875 SV%
Game 3: 34 shots, 4 goals allowed: .882 SV%
Game 4: 25 shots, 4 goals allowed: .840 SV%
Game 5: 35 shots, 5 goals allowed: .857 SV%
That’s not even close to good enough. Those are backup numbers. AND you were outplayed by Mike Smith. SMH
As for the rest of the team? First off, props to Chris Tanev, he’s one tough player. Tanev, according to Rick Dhaliwal, played through a torn laberum, separated shoulder and a sprained neck. That’s absolutely insane to think he played through all of that just to have the rest of the team fall flad on their faced. As for the rest of the team, not many showed up in this series. Mikael Backlund sure did. He was the Flames best player through the entire series and if you’re handing out letters next season, he’s your C. The Flames top line? Meh. Johnny Gaudreau had six points in the five games. That’s ok. Matthew Tkachuk? Nope, he was invisible. He had four points total, three of those in Game 1. Elias Lindholm? Four points. NOT. GOOD. ENOUGH. Blake Coleman, Tyler Toffoli and Calle Jarnkrok were brought in to help the Flames in the playoffs, with Coleman and Toffoli being guys that have won Cups and were supposed help push the Flames to that level. Nopers. Now, compare that to Edmonton’s Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Evander Kane: 35 points. And that’s not including Zach Hyman and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The Oilers were just flat out better than Calgary. Plain and simple.
This isn’t some knee jerk reaction column, it’s just the facts. Calgary’s best players weren’t good enough and Edmonton’s were better than advertised.
You can throw things, you can tweet, you can call in to radio shows: the overturned goal wasn’t why the Flames lost. The Flames lost because they couldn’t hold a lead, their all world goalie was outplayed by Mike Smith and Connor McDavid showed Calgary they aren’t in the same league as him. So enjoy the regular season success and the three 40+ goal scorers and two 100+ point players, Vezina Trophy Finalist goalie and a 100+ point season as a team. You’ll have all offseason to wax poetic about it because the Flames are done in the NHL Playoffs because they just weren’t good enough.