Flames' Smith steals Game 1, silences critics

Calgary Flames goalie Mike Smith				
			Leah Hennel  Leah Hennel  Postmedia

Calgary Flames goalie Mike Smith Leah Hennel Leah Hennel Postmedia

MacKinnon had just played hero in Game 2 of the Western Conference First Round, having scored the victor at 8:27 of overtime to give the Avalanche a 3-2 victory against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Nathan MacKinnon leads Colorado with one goal, Mikko Rantanen has two assists and Erik Johnson has nine shots on goal. MacKinnon had seven shots on goal and 12 attempts.

And while the Flames swept the three-game season series and managed to pull off a win to open the playoff matchup, they're suddenly facing the type of adversity their consistency and depth took care of all season long. Also, overtime was the bane of the Avs' existence for most of the season, so I didn't have high hopes. Chants of "Smitty! Smitty!"

The Saddledome-silencing snipe came just over eight minutes into overtime, capping a dramatic turn of events that finished with one of the game's biggest stars showing everyone why. And in the Flames' opening two games against the Colorado Avalanche, he's slapped their faces. "I liked the speed we played with", Landeskog said. Grubauer stopped 35 of the 37 shots he faced, and had to make two massive saves at the end of regulation to even get it to overtime. He's been playing great and we have to do a better job in front of him.

"The first half of the game they seemed hungrier than us, like they wanted it more".

After dominating the majority of the play in regulation, the Avalanche almost lost the game late in the third period when Sean Monahan got loose in front to beat Philipp Grubauer after a few blocked shots. From the edge of crease, Sam Bennett sent a no-look back pass to Andersson at the other side of the net, and the rookie blue-liner made no mistake with the open net.

"We have to be better", Giordano said. "We were a little bit tentative (in Game 1) and weren't in attack mode enough. A tough way to lose, but there's these moments all the time in the playoffs and you've got to deal with them and move on".

"We've always had the confidence in this room and tonight shows it", Nieto said.

"For us, we're not going to just roll over because we're running into a hot goalie".

The shutout was Smith's first in the postseason since May 20, 2012, when he made 36 stops while with the Phoenix Coyotes to shut out the Los Angeles Kings in Game 4 of the Western Conference final.

"It is going to come down to some of the grit and determination and willingness to hang onto the puck and generate offensively like we have all year", Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said before Game 2.