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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames win another thriller in Nashville

It was a penalty filled affair between two playoff bound teams, Calgary and Nashville, which typically translates directly into a lack of 5v5 play. Hard to get in a positive groove if you can’t roll your lines like you normally do. Calgary finally got some extended 5v5 time and were able to gain momentum on the Predators. The momentum brought more physical play and eventually more penalties. Throw in that miraculous sequence to tie the game with 0.1 seconds left and everyone was properly rewarded for their hard work. Slim down on the retaliation when the games count though, please.

CF% – 58.68%, SCF% – 52.71%, HDCF% – 63.01%, xGF% – 56.81%

It’s a Team Game – Overall there were an extremely minimal amount of high danger chances 5v5. Having totalled 5 between both teams. Obviously, plenty of goals came via PP this game, but when at 5v5 it was Calgary in control. Them being able to press with the goalie pulled and keep possession without turning the puck over is massive as well. The emotions from the fights, the drama of the goals, the timing of the goals, and all of the big hits helped made this a fantastically entertaining match.

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Corsi King – Matthew Tkachuk (72.21 CF%) led the way in terms of all chances, and why wouldn’t he. Tkachuk seems to be Mr. Nashville for this franchise – continues to steal games from them in heartbreaking yet spectacular fashion. Noah Hanifin (69.12%) and Rasmus Andersson (64.41%) were play drivers all night long.

Corsi Clown – Nikita Zadorov (41.71%) may have been on the losing side of his matchups in terms of possession tonight, but he and Gudbranson (44.63%) did not allow one single high danger chance against at 5v5. They did their job in the defensive zone and gave the Predators nothing from the middle of the ice or in close to the crease.

Taken By Chance – Mikael Backlund (0 SCF% // 0 HDCF%) and Andrew Mangiapane (0% // 0%) didn’t get credited with a 5v5 scoring chance of any kind, while giving up 2 high danger chances themselves. These two had other assignments tonight as well both killing penalties and on different power play units. Only around 7 mins of 5v5 time went in to those 2 guys’ numbers. Trevor Lewis (82.24% // 100%) had more involvement than anyone else on the team in high danger chances at 5v5.

xGF% – When you have the best high danger ratio then you typically get tops on this list too – Trevor Lewis (82.50 xGF%) did that. Mr. Nashville Tkachuk (82.50%) was just behind and Johnny Gaudreau (76.47%) in the bronze position. He was his usual transitional king today and is crucial at getting Calgary through the neutral zone with possession as often as they do. In a big heavy game he may not have been noticed in that regard, but his creative self was still getting chances.

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Game Flow –

As we can visually see the extended stretch of 5v5 favoured the Flames. The overall total of chances only being 0.3 standard deviations of the mean sometimes translates to a high event back and forth game, but this match was a tight checking low-event 5v5 game.

Game Score – Noah Hanifin (3.19 game // 1.09 average) led all players in this match, Rasmus Andersson (2.54 // 1.10) and Matthew Tkachuk (2.05 // 1.83) also finished in the impactful game range. Dubé (1.92 // 0.55) continues to climb his average with stellar play and production the last 2 weeks. The goals today were scored off fantastic shots from the circles – his accuracy lately has been laser sharp.

Shot Heatmap –

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Credit to the entirety of the Flames defence corps because absolutely nothing at 5v5 came from the slot. Dan Vladar didn’t have his sharpest of games, but still did enough to post the W. Saros had been playing amazing and it is very unfortunate a possible Vezina finalist goaltender goes down. Rittich had to come in cold against a relentless Flames final press and then a movement heavy overtime frame.

In The Crease – At 5v5 Dan Vladar may have seen the lowest number against in a game all season. Only 0.81 expected goals against in 38 minutes of 5v5 playing time. You’d still expect the number of opportunities combined with a few dangerous chances would get that number to at least 1.50 to 1.70. Instead, it was very low because of strong team defence and a tonne of special teams. 0.867 5v5 SV% with a medium and high danger goal against.

Today’s Specials – Where do we want to begin – with some of the questionable penalty calls that went up for both sides after a very feisty first frame, or the Nashville power play finding that cross seam pass. Filip Forsberg ate the Flames PK alive with his shot tonight. Up to 42 goals on the season for the pending Nashville UFA, he showed why he is a star in this game. The top power play unit did put in work but Saros was up to the task, and one of Dubé’s snipes was on the power play for PP2.

Player Spotlight – Dillon Dubé – the as local as local can be man has stepped his game up in a big way recently. Cochrane Alberta native Dubé Is on a bit of a tear right now with 8 goals in his last 7 games. All over the ice his swagger has increased as he is playing stronger on the defensive side of the puck as well. Basically after that last scratch, period, Dubé has been on an upward trajectory, perfect timing with the Playoffs set to begin.

Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –

1) Matthew Tkachuk

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2) Dillon Dubé

3) Milan Lucic

The Flames play again Thursday in Nashville against the Wild at 6 p.m. MT.

(Stats compiled from Naturalstattrick.com // Game Score from Hockeystatcards.com)

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