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Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames end up as a stepping stone as Ovechkin chases history with Capitals

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
30 days ago
The Calgary Flames slowly let the determined Washington Capitals take over the game. Despite their ability to get high quality looks more frequently than the visitors, the Capitals never quit peppering young Wolf with shots. Aided by a couple power play goals, Washington didn’t roll over to the Calgary pressure, stuck with their own gameplan, and outworked the Flames for a respectable win.
CF% – 46.91%, SCF% – 43.21%, HDCF% – 47.76%, xGF% – 59.62%
It’s a Team Game – Most games the Flames are ready to come out and really play a great first period – set the tone for the rest of the night. Monday evening did not follow that typical path, rather the Capitals out chanced the Flames 4 to 1 in high danger looks. The Flames would go on to lead the back 40 in that regard, but trying to play catch up after a slow start is hard work in the NHL. With everyone on their team rolling offensively a cold snap was bound to happen – although I never did expect it to occur against Charlie Lindgren.
Corsi King – Jonathan Huberdeau (63.69%) continues to be a night and day different player from his first 18 months with the team. He has found some chemistry with Nazem Kadri (59.29%) amidst some injury line swapping to form a formidably dangerous attack. On paper Huberdeau-Kadri looks like it would always work but both guys are finally in sync on a hot streak, maybe if the coaching staff can get this to click now it could lead to something we’ll see consistently for the next 5 or so years. On the flip side of things new number 7 defenceman Joel Hanley (34.83%) struggled to move the puck up ice. He’s still new enough I give him the benefit of the doubt as he tries to settle in – it may take him longer than Miromanov (50.51%) who has seemingly stepped into a top 4 role and has been effective immediately.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – It’s not often a team can find ways to stick Backlund (38.79 SCF% // 31.63 HDCF%) in his own end, but the Capitals were able to do it to the tune of 9 high danger chances against. Of all of the games he’s played in his time here this Is not one of the games he’ll remember fondly. The defensive pair they got stuck chasing with was Weegar (44.00% // 36.89%) and Miromanov (44.16% // 32.58%). I mean, if you’re going to lose at least it’s to a couple of goals scored by the greatest pure goal scorer of any generation.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – Not to get lost in the Huberdeau (80.72%) and Kadri (79.25%) chemistry is the third piece that does the hard work in Pospisil (75.23%). His speed on the forecheck has become something nobody is prepared to deal with and the edge he plays with keeps defenders on their toes. Is he the guy needed to create space for Huberdeau to really take off? We’re going to find out as long as the lines don’t switch up when Zary returns. Dryden Hunt (37.92%) and Andrei Kuzmenko (41.99%) brought up the rear for the Flames. Kuzmenko’s game at times looks flashy but it’s chaotic and filled with unexpected passes into areas nobody is ready to go into. He has all the ability and skill in the world but sometimes he moves too fast for everything to work together – kind of like Nail Yakupov used to play like.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – I was not a fan of the first goal against on both the goaltenders part and the defenders. Nobody challenged the shooting lane, so Strome had time to pick his spot – the defenders needed to press him rather than watch with glazed eyes. Wolf needs to come out and challenge more, Strome hesitated, and it froze Wolf enough he was able to shoot it right by his glove. Wolf has an unwavering ability to move on to the next game and perform at a high level no matter what happened the previous game. 1.46 expected goals against at 5v5 with just 2 against. Not the worst, not the best.
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –  
1) Jonathan Huberdeau
2) Nazem Kadri
3) Martin Pospisil
(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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