Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames escape with point after rough game with Rangers

Photo credit:Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
1 year ago
As entertaining a start as fans could have asked for – a fun way to dive back into Calgary Flames hockey after nine days off. The overall performance itself wasn’t that sharp, so that raises some concerns. It was a road game after a vacation, so I take it with a grain of salt, but it’s still worth seeing who dominated and everybody else that struggled. The Flames lost to the New York Rangers by a 5-4 score in overtime.
CF% – 53.74%, SCF% – 42.55%, HDCF% – 36.17%, xGF% – 40.3%
It’s a Team Game – The entire second half of the game really saw momentum swing the Rangers direction. They completely dominated in the dangerous chance department even winning the third period 3-1. The Flames failed to get to the crease for opportunities which was a common theme whenever they laid a bit of a dud the month prior. It doesn’t happen too often, and I do think they come out during their next game swinging, but this one was not fundamentally well played. No matter how fun it was to watch.
Corsi King – The Flames never have problems winning the overall shot attempt battle – it’s a good sign that they are able to spend so much time getting into the offensive zone to have the opportunity to shoot the puck. They could do a better job and prioritize their shot location but based on comments previously made in the year I wonder if that’s what they’re being told to do. Dillon Dubé (75.74%) led the team with the wonder three of Mangiapane (66.39%), Backlund (64.98%), and Coleman (59.51%) being right behind him.
Corsi Clown – Hate to be the bearer of bad news but Jakob Pelletier (38.11%) had his first real slap in the face as an NHL player. Across the board he struggled but so did linemate Nazem Kadri (45.79%). Another young player that lost the attempt battle was Ružička (42.52%) with linemates Lucic (44.80%) and Lewis (44.91%) there with him. This is the light stuff that makes the whole team look good – just wait it gets worse.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – Six high danger chances against and none generated at 5-on-5 – Elias Lindholm (36.84 SCF% // 0 HDCF%) got stuck in his own zone frequently. In fact, neither Dubé (57.99% // 0%) or Toffoli (37.36% // 0%) snuck away to get a 5-on-5 chance either. No disrespect to Dubé there I thought he played his guts out and Toffoli used the PP to get a team-leading 19th snipe. That can normally be survived – a whole line failing to get much – but when a second top nine line pitches another shutout too… I’m shocked they got a point out of this. Huberdeau (46.26% // 0%), Kadri (35.29% // 0%), and Pelletier (21.30% // 0%) also failed to get a high danger chance. Thankfully for everyone listed before this that Mikael Backlund (62.83% // 63.82%) plays for the Calgary Flames.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – I’ll leave the chance section and Corsi Clown as the sections where I’m overly negative so I can rave about one of the best lines ever assembled here. Backlund (59.92%), Coleman (61.53%), and Mangiapane (71.73%) constantly get the job done. I think Mangiapane and his ability to get net-front chances in the offensive zone drives their chances. Coleman supports everything with amazing board play while Backlund is the anchor that is always in the right spot. Add in the fact that all three players know how to cover for the other if things get turned around or messed up and it makes for a real nice positive goal differential. Mangiapane has a goal every second game still in him – I truly believe that it’s just a matter of time.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – I’ve read about enough of everyone dumping on poor Markstrom. He’s not going anywhere and just keeps being the whipping boy. If his team could actually limit the chances in front of the crease when he plays, he may be able to actually improve his numbers. “MaKe a SaVe” – you get in there and get shell-shocked from a team that doesn’t defend the front of the net. That being said if the team plays better in front of the other guy you should probably play him a bit more. 2.00 expected goals against with one high danger and two medium danger chances getting by him at 5v5.
Today’s Specials – Mixing up the power play? In this economy? What are the coaches learning? It worked because Toffoli is bound to have one of his post shots go in a month (apparently just one a month though). Anything is better than the status quo from before the break and it’s a welcome look. I want more looks though before I seriously try and break down how its working. The closer they get to the net before taking their shots the happier I’ll be.
Player Spotlight – Jonathan Huberdeau – He played 15:19 tonight – I doubt internally he’s very happy with how this is going. Everyone always talks about how Darryl is going to get to do whatever he wants but money talks – and Huberdeau is committed more money for a longer term than the coach. Tonight was a bad game for him something that isn’t common. He’s transitioned quite well to be a possession heavy board player but if they ever want to unlock the goal potential you’re going to have to find a way to let him get the puck off the rush. Nobody is trading for him when that new contract kicks in right now – I’m just saying something is going to give eventually and usually the guy getting paid the most wins that battle. 15:19…. After what he did in Florida I wouldn’t be happy, but that is just me.
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Andrew Mangiapane
2) Mikael Backlund
3) Blake Coleman
(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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