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Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames appear to check out early against Nashville Predators

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Photo credit:Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
3 months ago
The Calgary Flames served up a game with a lack of hustle and a side dish smothered in disappointment as the Nashville Predators walked all over them on Wednesday night. Before an absolute gauntlet against the top teams in the NHL the expectation was the Flames really pushing the pace in this match to get one last win before things got harder. Instead, they rolled over, struggled on their powerplay, and were only in the game as long as they were because of their goaltender. It’s one thing to lose while noticeably giving it your all, it’s another thing to watch what took place in Nashville. Not the best – nor really an acceptable – performance.
CF% – 42.76%, SCF% – 41.62%, HDCF% – 47.81%, xGF% – 45.78%
It’s a Team Game – The entire game wasn’t a wash, the Flames actually won the first period’s battles in high danger chances and overall attempts. Then, after the first intermission, everything fell apart. They couldn’t get to the net for chances and when they did they ran into the great wall of Saros. The Flames crawled back into relevance by moving their feet in all three zones of the ice, never giving up no matter the score, and finding ways to pepper the other goaltender with chances. 7 scoring chances alone in the final 40 minutes – they were not engaged as they should have been.
Corsi King – Nikita Zadorov (60.06%) and Andrew Mangiapane (56.53%) were the only Flames a decent amount above the 50% line. The list of guys that had success here is short. Pospisil (53.45%), Kadri (53.40%), and Gilbert (51.05%) join the other guys and that’s it. The Flames really only ran 3 lines tonight as coach Ryan Huska loses faith in his fourth line when trying to constantly crawl back into games.
Corsi Clown – The entire top 4 of the defence is here and Weegar (40.86%) and Andersson (34.67%) got pinned in consistently. The Predators top dogs had a feast on the pairing as they couldn’t get out from under the pressure. Not a lot of forward support, but nothing either of them did stood out in a positive way. You have got to find ways to effectively and efficiently get the puck out of your zone. I have chucked my stick at a defender on a breakaway before though so I’m with you there Weegar. Duehr (20.60%) and Ružička (20.60%) being as bad as they were in less than 5 minutes of ice time is impressive. It can’t get much worse than what happened to them.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – Something that went right, Kadri (56.88 SCF% // 62.64 HDCF%) and Pospisil (54.19% // 56.16%) did not fall into the same rut everyone else did. Zary wasn’t needed to keep Kadri driving – have to take at least that out of this game. Jonathan Huberdeau (54.54% // 100%) may forget how to skate through the neutral zone but at least he didn’t see a high danger chance against. When he moves his feet while accepting passes and starts skating a bit more east/west he is dangerous – he just keeps forgetting to do that. Start counting all the times you see him parked stationary on the attacking blueline, you’ll hit double digits before the midway part of the game.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – Rasmus Andersson (16.84%) with an all-time stinker. Burn your tape, forget everything you did, and move on. Backlund (21.97%) and Coleman (21.04%) weren’t on the right side of things in this game either. I thought they were rather quiet – yet again everyone was. The only real noise after the first was the silky smooth Sharangovich goal (47.60%) breakaway goal. Even that I feel was situational as it felt the Flames gave up completely after the third goal counted.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – I thought Markstrom was excellent yet again. As long as he’s in the crease playing like he’s back – because if you haven’t heard yet he is back – the Flames will never bottom out. He’s back into being one of the better goaltenders at goals saved above expected which has become a really good metric to measure goaltending performances. I don’t think he was perfect, but when the team in front of you puts forth that effort and you still post a save percentage over .900 you don’t get any if the blame. Wouldn’t have to make 40+ saves if the defencemen came to play.
Today’s Specials – Fix the power play break-in. Once every two weeks I include this column here and I say the same thing. Tonight I watched Rasmus Andersson drop the puck off then completely block the middle of the ice from being a lane for zone entries. All the guys at the line are standing still with low % chances of getting around the wall of defenders or winning a race to the puck. Not only winning that race but gaining possession. The power play has been atrocious and Marc Savard has done next to nothing to improve it. He needs to do his job and change the breakout, yesterday. You, me, my grandmother, the paper boy, my cousin’s neighbour’s fourth cousin, possibly Mariah Carey, and Doug – from that time – all know the drop pass is coming and it makes it so easy to defend.
Player Spotlight – Walker Duehr – This is less about Duehr and more about icing someone for less than 6 minutes of the game. An absolute waste of a roster spot that needs to go to someone else in the organization if the coach can’t trust the guy to be played. Adam Klapka has been all the rage with the Wranglers and is coming off a 2 goal performance, why not give him a look? Ružička with all his talent isn’t getting (or earning) minutes either, time to keep seeing what’s in the cupboards. After the Zary and Pospisil call-ups what’s the hesitation? They’re the reason I even mentioned the playoffs in the last headline, it’s been all them dragging this team back to semi-relevance.
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Andrew Mangiapane
2) Nazem Kadri
3) Dennis Gilbert
(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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