Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames control the game, take down Vegas

Photo credit:Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
1 year ago
Against one of the best teams in the division the Calgary Flames put on a performance for their fans. All eighteen players giving everything they had, every single shift. Many Flames who had passable outings in the first two games executed at a higher level much to the chagrin of Vegas goaltender Logan Thompson (The Calgary born goalie put on quite the performance). A solid performance top to bottom – let’s see just how much.
CF% – 60.22%, SCF% – 59.28%, HDCF% – 72.84%, xGF% – 66.97%
It’s a Team Game – All three periods the Flames won in every single metric. Now these are just 5v5 but being able to control as much of the game as the Flames did at that strength is the point of all this. Nobody enjoys watching another team walking all over them only to be bailed out by the goalie constantly. Controlling possession, getting dangerous chances every period, and consistent pressure on the puck every night is a blessing for the fans of the Flames. The season is just getting under way but so far it has been a truly impressive start.
Corsi King – Trevor Lewis (81.25 CF%), Blake Coleman (76.99%), and Mikael Backlund (74.31%) were all over the opposition tonight. The Flames new depth up the middle – given to them by the Nazem Kadri (57.07%) signing – is going to help in close matches against quality opponents. Backlund can handle any assignment that comes his way. When other teams focus on Huberdeau (64.36%) or Kadri it will free up Backlund and Coleman to feast on lower competition.
Corsi Clown – Noah Hanifin (47.53%) and Dillon Dubé (47.94%) finish just marginally below the even ratio mark. Quite literally this is nothing to worry about as both contributed greatly to the success of the team tonight. It’s not too worrisome unless a player starts finishing consistently below 45%.
Under Pressure –
No doubt the constant power plays in the second period played a factor in the amount of pressure Calgary was able to lay on. The limiting of the Knights in the third period was most impressive to myself.
Taken By Chance – Seven players got high danger chances for without surrendering one against. In no particular order: Trevor Lewis (46.16 SCF% // 100 HDCF%), Blake Coleman (63.52% // 100%), Nikita Zadorov (74.54% // 100%), Nazem Kadri (57.34% // 100%), MacKenzie Weegar (62.75% // 100%), Chris Tanev (60.78% // 100%), and Dillon Dubé (49.16% // 100%). Brett Ritchie and Kevin Rooney went zero for and zero against – what I like to call no event hockey. No event hockey is – in fact – a positive. It only ever gets negative when there’s high danger chances coming against the Flames, if that is absent than it is indeed a positive.
xG Breakdown –
Nazem Kadri with 5 attempts and none of them missed – One of those big blue boxes under Toffoli should. be a goal but Logan Thompson committed a felony of a save.
xGF% – Blake Coleman (80.11 xGF%), Mikael Backlund (78.20%) and Trevor Lewis (77.90%) led the way up front with Chris Tanev (75.35%) and MacKenzie Weegar (74.23%) leading on the back. Always having a prominent forward and defence pair in this range is a good recipe to keep getting wins. Having your lowest forward in Kevin Rooney (49.85%) is another sign the team was dominant. The Jets only getting 3 high danger chances at 5v5 helps a lot, but that’s because of hard work by the players.
Game Flow –
The steady rise toward the Flames side in the third period is what i like to see the most. That’s closing out a game in a real professional fashion. Vegas is no slouch of a team, they were undefeated coming into this one, making this even more of a standout.
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
More chances from the crease than the Oilers got, but it was still a darn good defensive performance from Calgary. Calgary’s never ending pursuit of shots inside the goalies kitchen is reflected by the giant dark red spot. Hats of to Logan Thompson one more time – Calgary could (should) have had 5 or more.
In The Crease – I’ll mention the bad Carrier goal once – it was classified as medium danger but sure felt lower danger than that. The focus shouldn’t be on the one bad goal – it should be on the impressive bounce back after. The second Vegas goal the center needs to not let his man get inside positioning. The rest of the way Markstrom had the answer, not panicking and not letting an early flub get into his head. 0.97 expected goals against at 5v5, one high danger and one medium danger goal against for a 0.857 SV%.
Today’s Specials – Jonathan Huberdeau was making some passes that I felt only a wizard could pull off. On the powerplay though things are starting to find the funnel to the net more often. Andersson is a good catalyst for that with his point shots, but I’d rather the attempts come originally from a lot closer. Settling for perimeter shots isn’t the goal at 5v5 why is it a priority when you have an advantage? Both goals came from in tight – drive the net low and crash the crease. I’m being way to critical, they got 2 goals its fine.
Player Spotlight – Jonathan Huberdeau – Of the three games that have counted this was easily the most standout so far for the new face of the Flames. Two games in Huberdeau and his line struggled to have possessive shifts but that ended tonight. Many plays were kept alive specifically because of #10’s aggressiveness on the boards. Not to mention his pinpoint passing in ways I’ve never seen a Flame pass before – he does love the spin pass, but it’s crazy accurate. When he plays with an edge like he did tonight he controls the entire flow of the game – the play runs through him and it’s great to see it in a Flames red jersey.
 The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Blake Coleman
2) Jonathan Huberdeau
3) Mikael Backlund
The Flames next game is Thursday night against the Buffalo Sabres at 7:30 p.m. MT at the Saddledome.
(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)

Check out these posts...