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Beyond the Boxscore: A sleepy start lets the Kraken sink the Calgary Flames

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
3 months ago
What was an absolute snooze fest came alive late, but was not enough to overcome the surge that came from the Kraken. It was a free for all in front of the Flames net for most of the night, something not going to be aided by the departure of Noah Hanifin. The loss is made all that more devastating when you realize the time and opportunity to try and catch the Predators for the eighth playoff seed dwindles. It’s going to be a defining week for the Flames franchise, they got off to a fairly poor start.
CF% – 48.18%, SCF% – 41.6%, HDCF% – 38.88%, xGF% – 40.09%
It’s a Team Game – The first period the shot attempts were 29 to 13 in favour of the Kraken. They understood the message from the coach at the break because they came out much, much better in the second period to give this team life once again. 25 to 15 the Flames take the advantage in shots attempts back, but it remains close. The Kraken are the team that got the bounces they needed to pull away despite Kuzmenko’s display of offensive brilliance.
Corsi King – It would be very easy for guys to not grade out well, especially those that play a ton of minutes, but Weegar (63.42%) and Andersson (58.32%) salvaged what they could do after being reunited. The other guy that was flying around and will certainly be the talk of the town the next few days (that second hit was no bueno) – we’re talking about Martin Pospisil (56.34%). His physical game has taken another step as the season has gone on – he’s growing in real time in the NHL and we’re watching it. He’s a bit of a unicorn that nobody had on their radar, now he’s the nest bargain you can find for 2 more years at just 1 million each year. Production has to stay up for him to be an effective top 6 player, so far in the last bit he’s brought that.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – I thought after watching all of Kuzmenko’s (38.60 SCF% // 28.32 HDCF%) shots he attempted it would end up being a good thing, but the most dangerous of his chances were power play looks and the 5v5 play was lacking for another night. There is a lot of positional and systemic work to do with Kuzmenko, but the reward for breaking the communication barrier is a gifted 30+ goal scorer so it’s worth the time and the headache in a down year. The entire roster pretty well ends up with an L in these categories, most getting out-chanced in a 2-to-1 ratio for high danger looks.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – I don’t know why the coach was convinced to give Dryden Hunt (4.34%) the keys to playing with Huberdeau (70.92%) after one solid effort. We have enough history to know Hunt can be offensively challenged at this level for long stretches. Rough night for Mikael Backlund (41.43%) and company who were outscored 2-0 at 5v5. A rare feat the Kraken should celebrate that – it’s not easy to do. In summary the Flames defence had some members already checked out and the result was way too much in terms of quality to expect the goaltender to bail you out.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – Even on a night where he was hung out to dry early and often, Markstrom showed up as a professional. No emotions are getting in the way of his Vezina calibre season which would have more of a campaign behind it if the Flames could find that last playoff spot. Unlikely, but they aren’t just going to go out and try to lose. As a fan at least when I tune into the Flames game a 1-0 or 2-0 deficit does not make me want to shut the TV off because these guys can work back from almost anything to get points. Markstrom leads them in that charge every night, without him they are no longer the Calgary Flames we’ve been watching. 2.73 expected goals against with 3 goals getting behind him 5v5.
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Martin Pospisil
2) Andrei Kuzmenko
3) Jonathan Huberdeau
(Stats compiled from Naturalstattrick.com // Game Score from Hockeystatcards.com // xG and Under Pressure charts from HockeyViz.com // Game Flow and Shot Heatmap from NaturalStatTrick.com)
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