Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames can’t solve Kraken’s Driedger

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
6 months ago
Every now and then it doesn’t matter how good your team effort is, the guy between the other teams pipes is going to steal one. The Kraken saw Chris Driedger start his first game in over a full year and he was lights out against a Calgary team that was striking quick in transition and maintain lots of extended pressure. They got plenty of five alarm chances, but Driedger had an answer for all but one. The Flames don’t get the result they deserve after a strong bounce back systemically after a harsh night against the Los Angeles Kings.
That’s hockey sometimes.
CF% – 52.3%, SCF% – 57.13%, HDCF% – 38.42%, xGF% – 45.91%
It’s a Team Game – The Kraken themselves came out firing getting 5 high danger chances in the first period – yet the goal scored by Seattle wasn’t one of them. Calgary still struggled to get high danger looks at 5v5, they found ways to get a lot of distance shots and milk the clock with possession – need to find a way to convert that into better shooting opportunities. The defence were burned on quite a few stretch passes with forwards getting in behind them – luckily Markstrom was on his game.
Corsi King – Nazem Kadri (71.48%) has got to be having fun playing hockey with his new linemates right now. They are fast, creative, and play fluid hockey together. He and Zary (66.81%) look like they’ve played the last three years together – they clearly think the game the same way. It’s such a spark to the lineup. Dennis Gilbert (64.09%) and Nick DeSimone (64.09%) had an interesting outing – they won the overall shot attempt battle, but they saw three times the amount of danger/quality against as they were able to create.
Corsi Clown – Dillon Dubé (31.32%) and Walker Duehr (31.57%) were once again of little help to the team. The fall of Dubé this season has been crazy to see. Sometimes players can take a step back, but he’s fallen off a cliff. Hard to believe there’s much – if any – confidence left in the individual. A fresh start is probably more than necessary – it can do wonders, look across the rosters at Kailer Yamamoto.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – Two men finished above 50% in terms of getting high danger looks. Yegor Sharangovich (43.13 SCF% // 63.38 HDCF%) and Jonathan Huberdeau (46.87% // 56.37%) were those guys, Huberdeau in particular started the game looking like a man desperate for some offence. I feel the severity of attack slowed down as the game got later, but I hadn’t seen that level of fight in him for a long time. In the 54 seconds we got to see Huberdeau with Connor Zary (42.64% // 25.61%) and Nazem Kadri (50.84% // 29.99%) after the first expired power play we got to see what Huberdeau at his best looks like – great to reminisce.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – Always worth bringing up when your top defencemen perform as such – Rasmus Andersson (64.39%) and MacKenzie Weegar (63.52%) showed what they can do against a team with great depth and minimal star power. Huberdeau (74.31%) generating almost a full goal worth of expected value for led the team in quality share. The fourth line all finished under 15% with the third pairing defence sitting right around 30%. The Kraken depth cooked the Flames lacklustre depth when it mattered while the top line guys found ways to generate success.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – Markstrom let two 5v5 goals against on 2.05 expected goals against – so right on par with an expected performance. He isn’t at fault for this one, although he may be wanting that first goal back. If the offence can’t actually find tangible production these “moral losses” will only feel okay for so long. Eventually you need to develop scorers or try something new – in the crease this year the Flames have been fine thanks to a resurgent Markstrom.
Today’s Specials – If I’m going to spend the majority of the season bashing the power play when it fails, I also need to give out credit when a noticeable improvement gets made. The personnel currently on the top Flames unit are starting to work really well together at moving the puck around to establish possession, and then moving everyone around some more to create more scoring chances. They aren’t forcing passes much anymore and are entering the zone thanks to an adjustment in how they break-in. it’s resulted in a bit of a power play bump – it’s just unfortunate it’s arrived when theirs a 5v5 drought. Time them together and Calgary could earn a five-game win streak. They have the talent to do so.
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –  
1) Jonathan Huberdeau
2) MacKenzie Weegar
3) Nazem Kadri
(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 // All stats at 5v5 SVA unless specified)

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