As each NHL team is eliminated from playoff contention — either mathematically or by losing in the postseason — we’ll take a look at why its quest for the Stanley Cup fell short in 2018-19, along with three keys to its offseason, impact prospects for 2019-20 and a way-too-early prediction for what next season will hold.
What went wrong
One of the most high-octane offenses in the NHL this season saw their gauge hit “empty” by the end of the campaign. The Calgary Flames were tied for second in the NHL in goals per game at 3.52 with the San Jose Sharks. But they started to sputter down the stretch, with four of seven games in which they scored one goal or less and then four straight games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs where they managed two or fewer goals against the Colorado Avalanche.
Johnny Gaudreau, who had 36 goals and 63 assists in the regular season, managed just one assist in five games. Sean Monahan, who had 34 goals and 48 assists, had a goal and an assist in five games. The Flames were sixth in the NHL in even strength goals at 188. In five games against Colorado, they managed just four of them.
Some of this can be chalked up to Avs goalie Philipp Grubauer playing out of his gourd for about three weeks to end the season, a trend which continued in this series. But the fact remains that a Flames team that rolled to the best record in the Western Conference on the strength of its offense left the postseason all too meekly.