And the weirdly historic 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs continue. In keeping with the theme of unpredictability, the underdog Avalanche eliminated the Flames with a 5–1 win in Game 5 and for the first time in NHL history, both No. 1 seeds are out in the first round.
Mikko Rantanen continued his dangerous streak, scoring two goals and an assist for the night, and the Flames couldn’t seem to catch a break with Philipp Grubauer stretching and stopping 28 of 29 shots.
Gabriel Landeskog got the Avalanche off to a quick start when he redirected a shot past Mike Smith, who wasn’t able to follow up his impressive performance from Game 4. Later in the period, Johnny Gaudreau was tangled up during a breakaway chance and was awarded a penalty shot, but a fully stretched Grubauer forced him wide. Just 16 seconds after another missed Gaudreau breakaway chance, Rantanen doubled Colorado’s lead.
With the game in Colorado’s control, Calgary finally got the momentum to swing in its favor when TJ Brodie got on the board with 5.5 seconds left in the first period. But the Flames weren’t able to carry that over into the next frame. Colorado restored its two-goal lead about seven minutes into the second when Colin Wilson one-timed a pass from Rantanen. Calgary kept applying pressure and it looked like Gaudreau had finally scored, but it was immediately waved off because of goaltender interference and the call was upheld after review. Wilson scored his second of the game later in the period to give the Avalanche a 4–1 lead.
Rantanen found the back of the net again less than a minute into the third with a heavy snapshot on the power play and Calgary’s flame seemed to be officially extinguished. Similar to the Lightning in its series, the Flames just couldn’t get things clicking offensively. Playoff veteran James Neal, who failed to reach 20 goals in the regular season for the first time in his career, was a healthy scratch Friday and Gaudreau, who was held goalless in the series, was notably frustrated after each his four shots on goal were pushed aside.
MAPLE LEAFS 2, BRUINS 1
After 51 minutes and 33 seconds of relatively sloppy play and few scoring chances, Auston Matthews came through. One-timing a great Jake Muzzin pass, Matthews’s goal broke the ice but the goal didn’t come without some controversy. Boston challenged for goaltender interference as Zach Hyman made contact with Tuukka Rask, but the call stood and Kasperi Kapanen doubled Toronto’s lead a couple minutes later.
David Krejci cut the lead with 43.4 seconds left and Toronto challenged it for offsides, but this goal also stood. Boston had a glimmer of hope, but there would be no comeback and the Maple Leafs head back to Toronto with a chance to close out the series on Sunday.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT
Johnny Hockey will want to forget this sequence as soon as he possibly can, but unfortunately he’ll have the entire summer to think about how his missed breakaway shot turned into a Colorado goal 16 seconds later. Grubauer was unfazed by Gaudreau all night and the Avalanche kept jumping on every opportunity they got to steal this series away.
1. Mikko Rantanen, COL — Rantanen missed the last eight games of the regular season with an upper-body injury and looked a bit rusty in Game 1, but quickly found his groove in Game 2 and has been on a tear ever since. Friday was no different, seeing two goals and an assist from the winger.
2. Colin Wilson, COL — The Avalanche’s top line powered Colorado through its first round win, but Wilson decided imitation was the most sincere form of flattery and had a three-point night of his own, mirroring Rantanen’s two goals and an assist.
3. Auston Matthews, TOR — The start of the series saw Mitch Marner shine for Toronto, but Matthews is starting to rise up at the right time. He scored one of the most important goals in his career to give the Leafs the edge and a chance to avenge last year’s disappointing playoff end.