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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames win low-chance Game One

Everything you want to see in a playoff game to start a series – physicality, grit, responsible play, solid goaltending, and that sweet W in the bank. Of all the games to start the first round the Flames seemed to be the most physical team and maintained that presence through to the third period. The publicly named fourth line – was far from that tonight – continually coming out after the Gaudreau line to plenty of success. Lots of board battles, lots of hits, and lots of entertainment for the C of Red.

CF% – 59.42%, SCF% – 54.75%, HDCF% – 49.33%, xGF% – 53.08%

It’s a Team Game – Overall the high danger chances were even… at 3 a-piece. Remember this is just 5v5 and in the first 40 minutes play kept getting broke up by penalties. The refs seem to have had an extra whistle in their pockets to start the postseason too – a vast difference from years past. Calgary is built to win games – and has practiced winning games – in many different ways this season. If the next game ends up more open Calgary can compete there too – they would have had more goals if not for a solid performance from Jake Oettinger. Very close to being a stolen game from the Stars goaltender.

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Corsi King – Chant his name loud, chant his name proud, your boy Milan Lucic (81.36 CF%) is in his element. The Flames identity line with Brett Ritchie (79.23%) and Trevor Lewis (76.47%) were on the forecheck all night long. Brett Ritchie himself threw some big hits with 10 minutes left – something I seriously doubt we’ll see slow down. The Stars defencemen are in for a rough series, going back to get the pucks in deep is going to bring feelings of dread.

Corsi Clown – Erik Gudbranson (42.04%) had to play a bit out of the role built for him because of the Andersson ejection – he did admirable but was still the lowest in terms of overall ratios. Also saw the most corsi events against him over partner Zadorov (56.28%) by 7. Hard to read into 5v5 numbers too much when a game is as broken up as this one was.

Taken By Chance – If I told you the Flames top line wouldn’t generate a high danger chance in game one, but was still ridiculously effective, this time last year some would have some bad things to say about Gaudreau (25.17 SCF% // 0 HDCF%). While the offence wasn’t there – it wasn’t really there for anybody – his defensive game was fantastic. He saved a shorthanded 2-on-1 and helped Tkachuk (50.23% // 0%) keep the puck in the Stars zone with under a minute left. The Flame with multiple high-danger chances for and none against – Oliver Kylington (60.22% // 100%)

xGF% – Before getting ejected Rasmus Andersson (100 xGF%) was playing like the major player they need him to be. Good news is apparently – according to John Klingberg – the Stars are going to go after Andersson. While they concentrate on that the Flames can just keep trying to win hockey games – with the primary focus being on the next one. Andersson in his 5:42 of ice time was also sixth on the team in terms of raw xGF (total of offensive chances created) – he was a huge factor in the massive first period advantage. Getting a win without your all-situations number one right hand defenceman? That’s the good stuff.

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Game Flow –

That start was beyond important because after the first goal went in Dallas shored up a bit defensively. By a bit i mean quite extensively. Calgary did finish with the overall momentum, but there wasn’t much in terms of dangerous play for long stretches of this game.

Game Score – Jacob Markstrom (1.33 game // 0.26 average) with no goals against finishes top of the table. Goal scorer Elias Lindholm (1.21 // 1.50) comes after him while Noah Hanifin (1.06 // 1.06) did just fine with his partner missing. Andersson (0.80 // 1.09) finished higher than every single Star in game score – he really had a darn good first period.

Shot Heatmap –

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Excuse me, do either of you want any goals? If Calgary can get extended 5v5 time they can more likely than not take even more momentum than they were able to get. Dallas did not look up to par outside of their goaltender, but sometimes the goalie can be all you need to steal a victory.

In The Crease – Under one expected goal against at 5v5 in this game – Markstrom did not really get tested. 10 5v5 shots for the Stars, the majority of which were low danger. 0.77 expected goals against but Markstrom does what was needed. The margin of error turned out to be nothing so it was a good thing. Hopefully going forward his team can find a way to beat a very skilled Jake Oettinger.

Today’s Specials – The power play clicking won Calgary this game. A set play Flames fans have seen countless times – and they keep doing it because it works. Lindholm’s shot is the best on the teams from any sort of distance, it’s a smart play to let him take the chances. As for the PK it was superb – pressuring the Stars and giving them nothing to work with when trying to attack a man up. Pretty good night for the Flames and bad night for the Stars all around.

Player Spotlight – Chris Tanev – Someone had to step up in Andersson’s absence and Chris Tanev was more than up to the challenge. Ended up playing over 25 minutes on night one – which is never ideal – but the game ended in victory, so we’ll take it. A warrior like Tanev is a big factor this time of year, an unsung hero that we did not appreciate properly upon arrival. He’s silenced every critic and is one of the most consistent defensive defenders in the league.

Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –

1) Chris Tanev

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2) Jacob Markstrom

3) Dillon Dubé

The Flames currently lead the series against Dallas 1-0. Game 2 goes Thursday night from Calgary.

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

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