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Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames buck the losing skid with solid effort against Seattle

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Photo credit:Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
5 months ago
It’s not like we expected the Calgary Flames to lose more than 10 straight this year – they responded well Saturday in Seattle. It can be too easy to get caught up in the dread as the losing piles up which is why the infusion of youth has been paramount to this happening. Martin Pospisil notched his first NHL goal in his first NHL game – the second game in a row that happened. The energy of the Flames got to new heights, their stars started looking more like stars, the skies parted, the children sang, and Calgary got back into the win column.
CF% – 53.73%, SCF% – 54%, HDCF% – 59.98%, xGF% – 62.41%
It’s a Team Game – Chalk one up for the process working – eventually. The Flames have had some good games not go their way this year (Dallas, New York) so getting enough offence to make this one count feels extra nice. The best team does not always win a hockey game – it has more random chance to it than almost any other of the major 4 North American sports leagues. That can be hard to fathom – but it’s true. Calgary sticking to it pays off – reverting to what you see in the Heritage Classic or against the Blues is not okay though. If the up-and-down play can level out and the Flames can do more offensively, they can work on crawling away from the tire fire in San Jose (standings wise anyway – that’s a big bonfire though).
Corsi King – Martin Pospisil (68.90%) made the most of his debut. He was physical right out of the gate, and you could see him have a jump in his game. It’s awesome that he scored especially because that was definitely not on the expectation bingo card. The Flames brass may finally be learning – the kids can play, if you give them a shot instead of an aging veteran you can find more of a team spark. Noah Hanifin (66.78%) led on the back-end, they were able to move the puck through the neutral zone more effectively this game than prior. Oesterle (with Wranglers) not throwing random darts into the neutral zone sure makes it easier to defend.
Corsi Clown – MacKenzie Weegar (36.87%) and Rasmus Andersson (39.65%) get all the tough assignments – when they finish under 50% it really doesn’t shock me. To be an effective top pair guy you need to win your matches more than 50% of the time, but getting on the south side of things are going to happen multiple times a year. The NHL is too good for anyone to go 82 for 82 with quality games. Dillon Dubé (43.26%) back in the lineup and I’m starting to lose my shine on him. He’s a young guy that has a ton of pressure to take a forward step we just have not remotely seen yet. I know he’s local, but that can’t take precedent over his play.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – Noah Hanifin (60.07 SCF% // 80.53 HDCF%) and Chris Tanev (55.81% // 80.53%) aided in 4 high danger looks for and only one against. Sometimes Noah Hanifin gives fans anxiety with the amount he jumps around – when paired with Tanev it’s always safe because the security blanket is there to cover you up should a mistake be made. Neutral zone play across the board was improved. Turnovers coming right back down the Flames mouths were killing them over the losing streak. Them finding a way to clean that up was a major factor in the win.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – Martin Pospisil (90.90%) really just had a hell of a showing in game one. If he was only ever going to get one impression he made sure he left a large one. He’s suffered through so many injuries you had to wonder if maybe he himself thought the organization was going to pass him over – I mean just look at what they did with Matthew Phillips. They gave him a shot and he gave them a large, loud answer. Rasmus Andersson (27.94%) got stuck out there against the Kraken a few times. It only resulted in 3 high danger looks against so I’m not too concerned – mainly because tonight the forwards messing with the puck or making bad passes at the blueline leaving the zone are to blame. The defence pays for the forwards bad mistakes on a regular basis.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – Just when I’m ready to write him off Dan Vladar comes swinging with a great 5v5 performance. He may not have been too busy but when he had to Vladar came up with some spectacular saves. Athleticism on full display, stretching to make big toe stops and even giving his glove some whirlwind action. 1.32 expected goals against with 1 high danger chance beating him. Exactly the performance you need from your goaltender playing an in-division game on the road.
Player Spotlight – Andrew Mangiapane – What a bonehead mistake. You intentionally came down on the guy who blocked your shots neck because the puck was smothered in his pads. Emotions got the best of Mangiapane – he’s feisty at times and doesn’t like to get pushed around – but this was too far. I expect with the new player safety standards on head-shots to unsuspecting players (Andersson, McAvoy), Mangiapane will be getting some extra time away from the club. 4-5 games is my guess.
The Goals –
  • Apologies nobody has Andersson’s empty-net goal clipped – not even @NHLFlames – anyways let me describe it:  the puck went in the empty net… you’re welcome.
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Martin Pospisil
2) Noah Hanifin
3) Mikael Backlund
(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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