The stage was set going into this pivotal match between the Calgary Flames and Colorado Avalanche, as the victor would take control and momentum into the back half of this series. In the second overtime game of the series, the Avalanche did just that as they erased a two goal deficit and grabbed a 3-2 win and a 3-1 series lead heading into game five in Calgary.
After the explosion of offense in game three, goals were again at a premium in this one. The first period concluded scoreless with a 15-13 shot advantage for the home team as both squads traded chances.
Elias Lindholm broke through in the second period with a power play goal at 3:25 which deflected off of Patrik Nemeth and a diving Ian Cole. At the midpoint of the period the Avalanche turned up the urgency and had multiple good looks on Mike Smith but the goaltender from game one was back in net. The Avalanche pulled ahead 32-25 on the shot counter but still needed to find the back of the net.
It seemed Calgary had finally swung the momentum when they went up by two goals in the third period on a tally from Derek Ryan on a Philipp Grubauer rebound at 6:58.
The Avalanche answered just over a minute later when J.T. Compher out-waited a diving Smith and deposited the puck above him to give some life back to the home team.
The power play which had thwarted the Avalanche in crucial situations so many times this season was able to convert with just under three minutes remaining as Mikko Rantanen tipped home a shot from Nathan MacKinnon to tie the game. The Avalanche would gain another power play just seconds later but could not get the game winner and the clubs were headed to overtime.
Momentum swung in each direction in overtime including a miraculous elevated toe save from Grubauer on Mikael Backlund and then Ian Cole took a delay of game penalty which could have spelled doom for the Avalanche. After successfully killing the penalty, it was then time for overtime magic; on the rush Mikko Rantanen blasted a pass from Carl Soderberg into the net at just over the halfway mark for his first career playoff overtime goal. And just like that the Avalanche are on the brink of moving on to the second round for the first time in a decade.
The Flames continue to have no answer for Colorado’s speed, specifically Nathan MacKinnon, and now add Mikko Rantanen to that list after his two goal performance. The Avalanche are continued their domination with another 52 shot effort and 59% Corsi for share of possession in this contest. Flames goaltender Mike Smith has kept Calgary in this series with his strong play.
After a storybook NHL debut Cale Makar continued to show flashes of brilliance along with a couple nervous rookie fumbles. As the game went on his confidence grew and overtime was a glimpse into the future as Makar made some incredible plays which nearly resulted in the win. He logged just over 20 minutes in this contest and a 70.73 CF%, quite a solid performance for his second NHL game.
The Avalanche could still use Samuel Girard to clean up their defensive zone which has been an adventure at times despite the result. He skated and tested his injured shoulder the morning before this contest and seems close to a return. Derick Brassard also sat out this game again with what’s been described as an illness.
Back to Calgary for Game 5 in search of a series clinching victory on Friday at 8pm MT.