Colin Wilson and Mikko Rantanen each collected two goals and one assist as the Colorado Avalanche extinguished the Calgary Flames with a 5-1 road victory on Friday night to win their first-round playoff series in five games.
The Avalanche, who made the Western Conference playoffs as the final wild-card team, will face either the San Jose Sharks or Vegas Golden Knights in the second round after knocking out the West’s regular-season champions.
Goalie Philipp Grubauer made 28 saves for the Avalanche, who won a playoff series for the first time since 2008.
Even though the Flames were the more desperate team, the Avalanche held the hosts without a shot for more than seven minutes and opened the scoring when Gabriel Landeskog deflected Tyson Barrie’s point shot at 9:40 of the first period.
From there, the Flames just couldn’t make the most of their chances, and they seemingly paid for it immediately after each time.
After Johnny Gaudreau first failed to convert on a penalty shot and missed on a breakaway, Rantanen doubled the lead with 4:22 remaining in the first period when he banked a sharp-angled shot off goalie Mike Smith.
The Flames received a jolt of life when TJ Brodie scored with 5.5 seconds left in the opening frame and carried much of the play in the first few minutes of the second period, but Wilson snuffed the comeback.
First, Wilson benefited from a neutral-zone turnover for a goal at 6:52 of the second period, and he then redirected Nathan MacKinnon’s shot-pass for a power-play goal with 5:13 remaining in the middle frame.
Rantanen rounded out the scoring with a power-play goal 57 seconds into the third period.
“The three of us tried to do our best, but it was a team effort,” MacKinnon told the CBC broadcast afterward, talking about his line with Rantanen and Landeskog, which combined for 21 points. “I think hockey’s the ultimate team game.”
MacKinnon and Barrie both collected three assists for the Avalanche.
Smith made 27 saves for the Flames, whose ousting combined with the Tampa Bay Lightning being swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets marked the first time in NHL history the two conference champs were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
Matthews steers Leafs to win over Bruins
Auston Matthews and Kasperi Kapanen scored third period goals as the Toronto Maple Leafs held on to beat the Boston Bruins 2-1 for a 3-2 lead in their first round playoff series. Matthews, of the US, broke a scoreless tie in the third and Toronto goaltender Frederik Andersen made 28 saves including several late when Boston had pulled their goalie for an extra attacker.
David Krejci scored the Bruins’ only goal with the Boston net empty but they couldn’t get the second one to tie it up.
“This was his best 200 foot game of the playoffs,” Leafs coach Mike Babcock said of Matthews. “He was outstanding.”
The Maple Leafs can get their first NHL playoff series win in 15 years and advance to face the Columbus Blue Jackets in the next round with a victory in game six Sunday in Toronto.
With the teams locked in a scoreless tie after two periods, Toronto’s Jake Muzzin found himself alone at the blue line, skated to the left circle and passed to Matthews, who notched his fourth goal of the playoffs from the right faceoff circle at 11:33.
The play was reviewed for goaltender interference after video showed Leafs’ Zach Hyman bumping into Boston netminder Tuukka Rask just before the puck went into the net.
The goal was upheld and Toronto’s 1-0 lead stood.
“I had so many taken back that I got one back tonight,” Matthews said of the fortunate call in the Leafs’ favour.
Krejci scored at 19:16, but Toronto killed the final 44 seconds for the win.
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