NHL Playoffs 2019: Flames mum about Game 1 goalie vs. Avalanche

Calgary is keeping quiet ahead of the start of the NHL Playoffs.

Flames coach Bill Peters won’t say if goaltender Mike Smith or David Rittich will start Game 1 Thursday against the Avalanche after the two split time in the net during the regular season.

“We’ll tell you Thursday,” Peters said Monday after practice, via NHL.com. “We’re going to go with the guy that gives us the best chance to win.”

Smith went 23-16-2 with a 2.73 GAA and .898 save percentage in 42 games (40 starts). Meanwhile, Rittich went 27-9-5 with a 2.61 goals-against average and .911 save percentage in 45 games (42 starts), though he has yet to make a postseason appearance.

While Peters played Coy, there were clues, however.

According to the Calgary Sun, Smith was in net with the starters in Monday’s practice, which the Sun described as “significant” given it was the first practice of the Flames’ first-round Stanley Cup playoff preparations.

Per the Sun:

“Add that nugget of information to the quality of the 37-year-old netminder’s assignments during the last few weeks (including the team’s Western Conference-clinching game versus the San Jose Sharks and Saturday’s finale versus the Edmonton Oilers) and even the most fringe observer can connect the dots.

“Smith will likely be between the pipes for Thursday’s Game 1 of the Western Conference quarter-final series against the Colorado Avalanche.”

The Flames are slated to host the Avalanche at 10 p.m. ET.