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Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames do not give a 60 minute effort in loss to Minnesota Wild

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
6 months ago
The Calgary Flames continue to show that late in games they are going to do everything they have to crawl out of a hole. The bad thing is they more often than not always find themselves in some sort of hole. Against Minnesota they came out in the sloppiest of manners with visibly terrible passing, over thinking shots, and 6 turnovers. After the first period 1-0 was a generous score – it should have been a runaway for the Wild. If Calgary can’t get off to better starts, they are not going to stay on the fringe of the playoff race very long.
CF% – 48.69%, SCF% – 50.85%, HDCF% – 55.69%, xGF% – 53.26%
It’s a Team Game – The first period was borderline unwatchable. Vladar was left to fend for himself most of the time, but even he made some questionable choices wandering away from his crease. Everything about what went down was just chaotic for Calgary. The Wild kept that up to start the second period and got a big enough lead to prevent Calgary from crawling back in. The third was more than enough to pot some goals, but then you get an unfortunate center sliding into your goaltender and the comeback stalls. Playing with a lead for once would be good for all involved.
Corsi King – Ilya Solovyov (72.04%) bounced back from some extremely rough first shifts to be an impactful player in the game. Too many times guys are getting the puck in the slot with room to shoot and they avoid it, Solovyov did the opposite of that. He put a loose puck on net and Zary (37.03%) got his stick in there to get the deflection. A lot better than hitting the trailer off the rush only for them to pass the puck into the corner. Walker Duehr (66.94%) showed some pep in his step, as he should after having some time out of the lineup. There are a lot of guys pushing from below for the limited playing time the roster provides – the fringe guys need to bring it every game to maintain their hold on a spot.
Corsi Clown – The pairing of Chris Tanev (25.86%) and Noah Hanifin (29.40%) spent a lot of time in their own zone. Dillon Dubé (27.94%) got the elevation to play with Zary and Kadri (38.88%) and it didn’t work. Most of the team averaged out in the mushy middle with the depth guys standing out. Nobody gets a pass after the first period of that game, they have to be ready to play in Game 25, no excuse does it.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – Walker Duehr (60.41 SCF% // 79.25 HDCF%) led the team with the most high danger chances at 5v5. He absolutely had to show up to play and he did. Only the duo of Mikael Backlund (67.94% // 100%) and Blake Coleman (65.85% // 100%) did not see a 5v5 dangerous chance against – very typical of them. Their linemate was the best guy on the ice for the guys in black – more on him below. Minnesota did a lot of capitalizing on chances that weren’t extremely dangerous so the Flames appear to grade out well here, although most of this damage is from the third period only.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – One guy I feel has really turned it up of late is MacKenzie Weegar (66.72%). Outside of the goals (he had some great shot attempts tonight) he’s been rock solid in his own end. I do think if the Flames end up selling Hanifin (41.96%) and Tanev (21.06%) they’ll have to separate Weegar and Andersson (52.94%) for purposes of depth and reliability. They may have enough forwards to call up and fill out their roster while still competing, but they are a little lacklustre on defence. DeSimone, Gilbert, and Oesterle (70.66%) won’t be enough.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – The Flames got way better after the first period, so Dan Vladar easily saw more difficult work than Dustin Wolf. I did like Wolf’s insane athleticism which was on display during the penalty kill. He can get side to side in the blink of an eye it’s electrifying to watch. Not to completely diss on Vladar because no goaltender would have been expected to survive the defence Calgary deployed. Let’s just say not many people would look at this game and point to goaltending as the main problem.
Player Spotlight – Jonathan Huberdeau – He must know AEW has arrived in Montreal because he was the most physical I have ever seen him play – and it was awesome. The reverse hit was one thing, but he kept it going, grinding in the corners, and physically fighting for space all night. He didn’t get an assist on the Backlund goal but that entire play starts with him winning a puck battle via a strong forecheck then constantly putting the puck to somebody with the space to make a decision. It was a treat to watch him play like that.
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Jonathan Huberdeau
2) Mikael Backlund
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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