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Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames come up just short in thriller against Avalanche

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Photo credit:Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
2 months ago
A high paced game of offence in the mountains went the wrong way for Calgary as the Avalanche’s star power overwhelmed the Flames’ well-balanced attack. Nazem Kadri looked like he was on a mission and many of the Flames flashed offensive skill but couldn’t get the saves needed to pull out the win. When crunch time came the Avalanche showed why they’ve recently won a championship with a relentless attack that saw them score 3 goals in quick fashion. Ultimately – critiquing aside – you just want to watch fun hockey games. The game played Monday night was entertaining to watch.
CF% – 47.81%, SCF% – 49.29%, HDCF% – 59.75%, xGF% – 58.45%
It’s a Team Game – The second period was as good as could be for the Flames as they directed over 9 high danger chances towards the Avalanche net. Funny, the only one that was from within the front of the crease was whacked out of mid-air by Connor Zary. The rest of the goals caught a goaltender in a bad night as Georgiev was letting in long distance shots right up until he got pulled. The script flipped as the Avalanche pressed in the third and the Flames – for the second time this year – struggled to beat Prosvetov. Two games in a row against high quality teams that saw the Flames collapse in the third period – the gauntlet strikes again.
Corsi King – Blake Coleman (61.46%) is in the middle of a career year. He’s got a great nose for turning the puck north towards the attacking zone whenever it gets within his radius. The first goal by Kadri (43.15%) doesn’t happen if he stays passive, instead he pounces on some bad puck management from Rantanen and follows it up with a tape-to-tape drop pass across the slot to Kadri. Dennis Gilbert (56.98%) was thrust into a huge role with the Chris Tanev injury 15 seconds into his night – the result was over 20 minutes played and the best night of his career. Well, we’d have to ask him that because scoring his first goal in the home area of Buffalo would have to be up there for him.
Corsi Clown – Connor Zary (31.17%) really got pushed back in his time tonight. 9 shot attempts for while seeing 20 against – says something about him though that when he gets a chance, he can capitalize on it. Martin Pospisil (38.66%) barely played getting back into the lineup – the Flames keep finding themselves in tight games and Huska shortens his bench to stay competitive. The balance between trying to win and trying to grow these players isn’t easy, it doesn’t always go in the favour of the youngsters.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – Dennis Gilbert (66.42 SCF% // 100 HDCF%) saw over 7 high danger chances while seeing none go against him. Nobody can claim that was a product of Chris Tanev’s play either, that was him coming out and playing a hell of a game. It was an extremely volatile night that saw many defensive gaffes on the Flames side. Two of the goals were from directly in front of the goaltender in areas where they should have been contested. Rasmus Andersson (48.83% // 42.64%) himself saw over 7 high danger chances go against him. To be fair, I don’t want to defend a rush of MacKinnon and Makar, so great job man. No need to be too critical when it’s the best players in the world playing like they are some of the best players in the world.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – Andrew Mangiapane (84.17%) has become a bit of a whipping boy amongst fans of late looking for something new to be upset with. Until he played with Kadri (70.49%) he wasn’t getting those sweet slot passes to bury either. Still generating chances at a rate above league average I’m in the camp that they are eventually going to go in. I think they need to get Huberdeau (48.50%) away from Backlund (43.44%) and Coleman (55.38%) now that he’s found a bit of stability. You need to get him some higher scoring linemates. Zary and him make sense to try together but the Flames haven’t moved either of the LW this year so that’s going to be a hard combination to try. Also shout-out to Ilya Solovyov (71.77%) who has been sheltered for sure, but he’s running on three straight games of profoundly positive impact.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – It’s hard to blame the goaltender completely when you see some of the goals that went in. The defence in front of Vladar very clearly was having brain lapses at the highest degree. That being said you can’t give him a pass on every goal as 5 of them came against at 5v5. Only 2.07 expected goals against – finding a way to get that extra high danger save was needed In this match.
Today’s Specials – My only advice, and I’ll keep it short and sweet, is for the Flames to watch what the Avalanche do on their power play and do that instead of what they do.
Player Spotlight – Elias Lindholm – When they needed him in a battle of offence amongst the top players on each team Lindholm failed to find the scoresheet. He really failed to execute creating any offence at all. It really feels like Yegor Sharangovich has been digging his line out of trouble. The lack of offensive output from him was one thing, but he’s having an extremely hard time getting good looks or setting up his partners for good looks. They need more from him – if he’s going to be checked out early it’s just going to push the Flames towards selling (which they should do regardless).
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –  
1) Dennis Gilbert
2) Nazem Kadri
3) Andrew Mangiapane
(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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