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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Beyond the Boxscore: The Calgary Flames’ 2021-22 season is over

Thirty-one years of new Calgary Flames fans just got welcomed in to the “Oilers beat us in the playoffs” club with all the fans from the ’80s (minus ’86). It was a great start that was completely in the Flames hands, but eventually a defensive mistake cost the Flames a goal and gave the Oilers life. The Oilers stormed back to tie the game, just like they did in four out of the five games, and eventually had Connor McDavid win it in overtime. Should it have even got to overtime – I don’t think so – but there appears to be differing opinions out there on the interweb. Regardless of what anyone thinks it truly no longer matters, the series goes to the Oilers and the Flames are done until October.

CF% – 50.79%, SCF% – 48.75%, HDCF% – 48.8%, xGF% – 45.03%

It’s a Team Game – After the first period it really did seem like the Flames were going to be able to grind their way to a low-event game. Oh boy was that ever not the case – instead the set a playoff record for the fastest 4 goals scored in playoff history. 1:11 and the score ends up tied at 4. The third period did not see Calgary get too many chances, Mikael Backlund the player that was constantly willing chances into existence despite the Oilers controlling most of everything late. Coming into this series I truly thought Calgary as a team was strong enough to pull this off – but the Oilers did get them off their game and are moving on for their success in that facet.

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Corsi King – Michael Stone (64.53 CF%) didn’t really play enough again to find a rhythm so top spot ends up with Tyler Toffoli (60.27%). In overall raw attempts taken it was Elias Lindholm (56.14%) who saw 32 shot attempts for while deployed and Tkachuk (52.35%) who had the same. It was a game that went to overtime – fans may not want to hear it because they did just end their season, but some players played well in this game.

Corsi Clown – On the flip side of that coin there were some mistakes made that allowed the Oilers to crawl back into it from deficits – twice. Trevor Lewis (39.29%) was not able to be as impactful as he was in the Dallas series, but still a player I would bring back for fourth line duty. Very versatile as a penalty killer and plays a simple north south game at 5v5.  Oliver Kylington (44.91%) played the most with broken man Chris Tanev (47.19%). To be honest when it comes to defence, I care more about the high danger chances given up rather than the overall attempts. A lower CF% with a good HDCF% usually indicates the players struggled to transition the puck but still managed to defend will in spite of that. The fact that one of that pair had a torn labrum and the other was playing in just his first ever full season/post-season the ability to even move the puck at all ends up impressive.

Taken By Chance – I know I praised Lewis (19.17 SCF% // 0 HDCF%) but he had a bit of a night where he got stuck in his own zone. Lewis got plenty of ice time so that ends up as a bad spot, but Lucic (25.03% // 0%) got very limited ice time. I liked Lucic’s physicality early – quite a bit as he laid the first big hit – but them giving him sparing shifts late while it was tied was a good thing. He’s struggled to score goals lately but was useful in other areas.

The most high danger chances given up while on the ice with others was Elias Lindholm (45.76% // 45.32%) with 7 against. I use that verbiage because not every high danger chance against for a player comes because that player missed his assignment. Someone else can make a mistake and you can get dinged here for it. That’s a major reason why it’s always important to make sure you watch the game and not completely rely on numbers. I like to summarize them here on a game-by-game basis just to provide the public with the information as well as having the tremendous opportunity to share my thoughts with fans. Beyond the Boxscore has been a blessing – thanks to all that are reading/have read any of them this year.

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xGF% – We’ve talked about a few low points we could focus on some highs – Blake Coleman (50.78%) looked really composed out there. He won’t win his third straight Stanley Cup but earned his stripes as a key shutdown player that chips in on offence. Fans will be talking about your goal that should have counted (in my opinion) for as long as the team exists. Mikael Backlund (56.56%) was in beast mode – all playoffs really. He’s on the upper side of 30 and looked more motivated than anybody on the ice when he got possession of the puck. Leading by example – heart on his sleeve – real captain stuff.

Game Flow –

The game never got crazy into Calgary’s favour – but the lack of movement in the first was to their advantage. Getting the Oilers into a low scoring game had to be a primary objective, but when it collapsed in the second the Flames wasted no time in getting counter punches. Neither did the Oilers though – and they got the darn OT winner after some great Flames chances just before.

Game Score – Mikael Backlund (1.92 game // 0.77 average) lead the Flames with Andrew Mangiapane (1.67 // 1.01) and Blake Coleman (1.86 // 0.75) up there with him. Calle Jarnkrok (1.53 // 0.33) scored his first ever Flame goal at a time when they really needed him to do it. Nikita Zadorov (1.37 // 0.65) ended up being the top scored defender. He had 3 blocks and I just wonder – and always will – what would have been if block machine Chris Tanev (0.71 // 0.87) had been healthy. A top 10 defensive defenceman in the league – it would have had a significant impact.

Shot Heatmap –

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One of the better games this series for Calgary getting to the net. It was missing in Games 2 and 3 but was able to resurface. While that was a nice improvement for the Flames in terms of chances they gave up a lot in front of Markstrom. The Flames goaltender bailed the team out on a decent number of high danger chances – it was the point shots he struggled with on this night.

In The Crease – While I don’t like that two point shots got in for goals – where were the guys blocking shots on those plays? Usually, you see people lay out in the playoffs, sacrificing everything to make sure the puck doesn’t go in the net. If the Flames guy that does it the best goes out – then someone else needs to step up and do his job. Either way, the scorecard classifies those goals as low danger, regardless of skate deflections. 2.78 expected goals against and Markstrom gave up one high danger goal, one medium danger goal, and two low danger goals. Truly just wasn’t the Vezina finalists’ best series – but he’s competitive and damn good. I have faith he can come back from this in a big way.

Player Spotlight – Johnny Gaudreau – If for some reason this ends up being it, I would like to thank you Johnny Gaudreau. A Calder finalist rookie season, the game tying goal against Anaheim (second round, 2015) with 20 seconds to go, constant all-star appearances, dodges-ducks-dips-dives-dangles, a 100 point season, and the Game 7 overtime goal against Dallas. All of those things – and many more – have brought happiness to thousands of Flames fans homes across the globe for years. There are more than likely children who tell their parents they want to grow up to be like you. I truly do hope to see you for a long (long) time in the Flaming C, you made watching every single minute of Flames hockey in 2021-22 so enjoyable. Here’s to another playoff run in 2023, cheers.

Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –  

1) Mikael Backlund

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2) Blake Coleman

3) Andrew Mangiapane

That’s all she wrote folks. Beyond the Boxscore’s first season at FlamesNation comes to a close. Like I said earlier thanks to everyone that’s read, commented, or shared any of these articles. BTB will return for the 2022-23 season.

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

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