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Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames embarrassed on home ice by San Jose Sharks

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Photo credit:Brett Holmes-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
2 months ago
The Calgary Flames failed to bring an acceptable level of energy to the rink on Thursday night as they fell flat against the lowly 2023-24 San Jose Sharks. Not many things went right for the Flames who more often than not were the direct cause of their own problems all night. Whether it was an egregious turnover from a defenceman that should have known better or the rookie goaltender having a rough, rough outing it was pretty well bad news from the start of the second period on. It is kind of silly how the Flames can always get up for games against the Bruins, Lightning, or Avalanche yet stumble over their own feet against teams like the Blackhawks, Senators, and Sharks.
CF% – 47.96%, SCF% – 50.82%, HDCF% – 69.39%, xGF% – 56.33%
It’s a Team Game – After the first period ended just 1-0 I was quite worried. The Flames absolutely dominated the Sharks at 5v5 in the opening frame but paired that with an Atom level power play. The result was a lead that could have vanished very quickly with some bad bounces – instead it was turnovers so bad even the bakery would have thrown them away. The atmosphere after the Sharks fourth goal could only be described as a deflated balloon. A disappointing night for all who attended, to say the least.
Corsi King – I’m probably going to get harsh on a few players and one is actually the Flames leader in this category – Noah Hanifin (64.79%). It’s great that he was able to help get so many shots, even dangerous ones, but all that is for naught when you literally hand the puck to other team multiple times for even more dangerous looks against. He was a primary candidate for guys having bad nights turning the puck over. MacKenzie Weegar (41.69%) fell under that category as well. Nobody plays 82 good games a year, the Flames had a whole bunch of guys turn in bad ones at the same time.
Corsi Clown – Oliver Kylington (33.76%) and Brayden Pachal (36.21%) were the ones that saw the most chances against. Jonathan Huberdeau (36.83%) looked more like the guy that started the season than the one we’ve seen since 2024 kicked off. His whole line had a game where they were on the wrong side of the shot attempts which cannot happen for a line of that pedigree against a team of this quality. Same goes for Andersson (44.08%) and Weegar.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – In a very “of course they did that” way the Backlund (34 SCF% // 100 HDCF%) line didn’t surrender a single 5v5 high danger chance against. At least Huska has one line he can rely upon no matter the level of competition that strolls through the Stampede gates. Also not being subjected to a day of misery from the 35-point Sharks was Kevin Rooney (55.22% // 100%) and what I’m going to call the Lego line. It’s pieces change so constantly it’s hard to get a sense of what they’re going to be the next game – different pieces on different days. Cole Schwindt (50.59% // 100%) certainly deserves to keep playing he did nothing wrong in that one.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – The first period being all Flames is going to skew the overall quality share in favour of the whole roster. So, due to that, anybody finishing well below 50% of the share really had a bad night. Rasmus Andersson (44.08%) and MacKenzie Weegar can’t turn in a performance with that many failed zone clears. On a plus note Andrei Kuzmenko (70.15%) continues to be a sparkplug of offensive chances. He’s clearly rejuvenated here in Calgary and already has the C of Red falling in love with his personality. He found success getting chances in his brief time away from Huberdeau (59.32%) and Sharangovich (59.32%). Is he the next 200-foot king? Not a chance, but the man knows his way around the offensive zone.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – I’m a huge Dustin Wolf fan, but he was not himself in this game. He wasn’t coming out to challenge shots, playing back on his heels in the crease, and couldn’t track down pucks he maybe should have. The first two goals against he may have had some questionable 2-on-1 choices, but the defenceman should have never handed the puck to the Sharks on a silver platter to begin with. Throw in some deflections and I could probably make a case, but after watching Markstrom play at a Vezina level for the last few months it’s clear there was a major drop off. I do believe that if given more consistent NHL opportunities he could get himself into a rhythm, but alas – that was not the case Thursday. 1.63 expected goals against at 5v5, 4 medium danger and one high danger goal against.
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Mikael Backlund
2) Andrei Kuzmenko
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)

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