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Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames cook up impressive team win over tired Canucks squad

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
3 months ago
Who was the team in black and what have they done with the Calgary Flames? From a team that couldn’t break out of their own zone with consistency to a team that could make short zone, no-look passes with ease. The pure amount of heart and hustle that was on display is something Flames fans had been void of most of the year. The entire team showed up for a rivalry game against the Canucks and gave the fans in the building a lot to cheer about.
CF% – 61.12%, SCF% – 58.94%, HDCF% – 64.95%, xGF% – 66.5%
It’s a Team Game – The Flames really took care of business in the second period. Both coaches mentioned post-game they felt the fatigue of playing and travelling last night as having an effect on the outcome and the second was where that got clearly amplified. The crisp passes on everyone’s tape, the willingness to attack the slot, and the fortitude to keep the puck away from the Canucks for long stretches all made this very entertaining for a Flames fan to watch. The Canucks were indeed tired – but that doesn’t stop the Flames from getting the 2 points.
Corsi King – Nikita Zadorov (82.32%) and the blueline dancer Nick DeSimone (75.11%) led the way for a great night for the entire D corps. DeSimone was playing with confidence, giving out head fakes and trying to freeze defenders. We had not seen this level of confidence in DeSimone in any of his other outings, maybe enough time on the roster has him settling into his true game. At 28 years old him playing a regular role for the first time is a pretty awesome story. Hey there Huberdeau (74.77%) having a get-right game. Keep smiling brother, and keep them feet moving – the constant movement from everyone is the number one reason so many chances were created.
Corsi Clown – Andrew Mangiapane (40.23%) comes in at the bottom but is hardly worthy of much critique. The Canucks’ top guys have plenty of skill themselves – Hughes, Boeser, and Pettersen were tops in the entire league the other night – defending them is going to present challenges. Long story short no matter what you do they’re going to create their own chances. Rasmus Andersson (42.83%) is maybe the one guy you’d want to see higher as your number 1 defenceman.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – Nazem Kadri (57.94 SCF% // 100 HDCF%) continues his run of great play. He’s become the player they hoped they signed after being placed with Connor Zary (53.53% // 74.68%). It’s amazing watching the rejuvenating effect the young guys are having on the entire roster. Shout-out AJ Greer (67.37% // 75.59%) because the split-second drop pass, he makes to Weegar (56.90% // 73.01%) is necessary for that to be a goal. Of course, coach Huska had the major pinpoint down to Elias Lindholm (25.52% // 65.09%) and his quick feet through the neutral zone. Positives in abundance everywhere after that match.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – Nikita Zadorov (84.61%) led the team being out there for a full expected goal at 5v5. The Backlund (68.19%) line was rolling after a rough night in the game on Tuesday. Oh yeah, and Dillon Dubé (60.18%) had his Blasty flakes this morning for breakfast. The man always finds a way to produce when wearing the black jersey’s and It’s just an unexplainable anomaly that I adore. I saw people online bet on it because it happens so frequently – beers are on you folks that cashed in tonight. Noah Hanifin (49.13%) and his smooth goal are the last needing a major shout-out – beautiful cut down the lane and an even better awareness to try and tuck the puck back in front. It got the bounce he needed, but the PDO kings (Vancouver) had to have it bounce against them eventually.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – It’s nice to have a bit of a night off even though you played, isn’t it? The Canucks were able to test Markstrom a few times but as the game wore on and the gas tank for them was on empty it got easier for Markstrom. 1.26 expected goals against with just 1 getting behind him (5v5 SVA). After stealing one for the team against Montreal the team gave him a win on Thursday. That’s got to feel great when the team plays for you like that.
Player Spotlight – Martin Pospisil – This team had some need for a little vinegar, a little salt to rub in other teams paper cuts. Pospisil had a bit of a coming out party as a pest. The Canucks kept wanting to go after him and focus on what he was doing rather than paying attention to the play. It allowed Calgary to keep momentum on their side taking advantage every time it occurred with extended possession. He also had the whole bench smiling after some big hits to Canucks star players. He plays a hard game and has earned his roster spot for the immediate future.
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Nick DeSimone
2) Jonathan Huberdeau
3) MacKenzie Weegar
(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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