Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames can’t dig themselves out of early deficit

Photo credit:Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
1 year ago
Another night ends as the Calgary Flames failed to get a significant goal total behind the other netminder while falling back early themselves. Goals against at even strength came in different varieties, but none from in tight to the crease. They put countless chances from in tight on Georgiev themselves only to get constantly denied or – even worse – miss the net on their most crucial of looks. Most notably though, the Avalanche smothered the Flames at times with so much speed it led to a barrage of Flames turnovers. The speed wasn’t just in a physical sense. How Colorado makes decisions with the puck is fast as well – they bring more than one kind of speed, and it can burn slower teams something fierce.
CF% – 55.38%, SCF% – 50.26%, HDCF% – 60%, xGF% – 51.75%
It’s a Team Game – The Flames really only “won” the second period. They obviously left that frame with a goal scored and allowed but it was one that produced a flurry of chances from in tight on Georgiev. It was a steady march back the first 10 minutes of the second period as Calgary was still fighting to win. That’s one thing I’ll give this roster any day of the week – no matter what the score or situation the players work hard. Sometimes the passing’s off, sometimes they fail to generate offence, but every night they never truly quit as a team.
Corsi King – Dennis Gilbert (77.82%) former Avalanche with the lead here. He did not get caught out for any major barrages of dangerous chances again and instead had himself a quietly impactful night for the Flames. Pike and I were talking earlier about Jordie Benn – currently on waivers – as a possible depth piece just for the Flames to have a bit extra. It wouldn’t cost anything, but with how he’s played Gilbert is just as fine there. The RAPM comparison between the two via Evolving-Hockey is largely identical – there’s no guarantee that just because he’s played more games that he’d be any more impactful. Gilbert doesn’t move the needle like a number one defenceman, but he’s clearly established himself a capable seventh with hopes of trying to parlay that into a regular top six role.
Corsi Clown – Milan Lucic (39.71%) with one heck of a fight. Brushed the refs off even though they tried to stop it and gave the fans who like that a bit of entertainment. It was the right time for one too with the score – if you’re going to utilize that tool in the toolbox it better be at the right times and this moment qualified. It wasn’t enough to spark them to a win. Lots of special teams but also worth noting Milan Lucic played the least out of all the players on the team at 8:40 in all situations. Worth noting that Lucic was the only member of his line below 50% – in the shifts without him Duehr (51.46%) and Lewis (59.13%) got even more chances.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – It happened once on a line change – Zadorov (47.73 SCF% // 40.60 HDCF%) and Andersson (48.46% // 55.68%) out at the same time for an extended period of time. They ended up getting stuck in their own zone and the Avs unleashed a barrage of high danger chances. The giant line in the Game Flow chart that spikes towards the Avalanche side – that’s right when this happened. Failure after failure to clear the zone combined with succumbing to a very effective forechecking attack run by a championship calibre team. The Avalanche did not take it easy on Calgary – they put forth a full effort, the Flames weren’t ready for its full magnitude.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – No weak shot inflation here – Calgary got really good looks on the Avalanche they just could not find a way to beat Georgiev. The Flames have struggled enough in beating rookie goaltenders and those that barely have their whistle wet, getting a goaltender that’s established and playing as well has Georgiev did not aid in their offensive woes. Gilbert (80.85%) led the team as he spent most of it outside of his own zone. No 5v5 offensive zone starts for him either via NST. The forward line that performed the best – did anybody really need to ask: Backlund (75.88%), Mangiapane (75.78%), and Coleman (78.26%). 90% of games that trio finishes on the better side of shot share, quality share, and overall possession. They’re the efficiency line? No that’s lame too… we’ll come up with something eventually.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – Eventually the letting goals in to start the game has to stop – it just has to otherwise Calgary’s going to just stay where they are. Calgary themselves has a problem with either getting the next goal or getting the next save and when it’s late in a game tied, I’m not confident Calgary pulls it off. They’re best bet at winning is to get a lead and play with it, but even then, they’ve been finding ways to lose those games too. A real bad stretch for the whole organization outside of the young bright spots. Markstrom faced 2.27 expected goals against 5v5 with two medium danger and one low danger goal getting behind him.
Player Spotlight – Brad Treliving – Since the All-Star break Calgary has done nothing but worsen their position ahead of the deadline. The team this season has sent a clear message that they are not one that a simple roster addition will fix. The coach is always going to have the mentality of pushing for the playoffs until they are mathematically impossible – good that’s his job. It’s the players on the teams job to play every game as hard as possible and try to win too. It’s Treliving’s job to be the one that has to look ahead at what’s next – even without a contract for next season himself. If the Flames ever get a GM that prioritizes thinking like a coach rather than a GM again it would destroy their future in a matter of years, Brad is not that and I have faith he understands the future assets are more valuable to the team right now than a deadline acquisition for the 40% (roughly, via HockeyViz.com model) shot at the 2023 postseason.
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Dennis Gilbert
2) Mikael Backlund
3) Tyler Toffoli
 (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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