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Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames find a win on the wings of Jacob Markstrom

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
3 months ago
The Calgary Flames saw the game progressively go more in favour of the Montreal Canadiens as it went along making the amazing performance of their goaltender stand out. The Flames may have allowed more overall chances as the game went along but they maintained their commitment to protect the middle of the slot. Sometimes going as far to be stationary and parked there instead of chasing the puck up the boards. It certainly translated into a great night for Markstrom who made some highlight reel saves.
CF% – 48.22, SCF% – 47.17%, HDCF% – 50.8%, xGF% – 49.8%
It’s a Team Game – The first period saw the Flames get off to a slow start – the new line combinations were not ready to go off the hop. They rebounded and had a strong middle frame only to eventually play hang-on hockey as the Habs tried to tie the game. Markstrom’s point blank stop on Josh Anderson with under 3 minutes to go was as clutch as it could be, but why he was left so far open that close to the net is an issue. The Flames still need to find a way to play a consistent 60 minutes as a team.
Corsi King – Nazem Kadri (57.08%) and the young guns (only time I’ll use it, I swear) led the way for the Flames. The spin around and fire goal Kadri scored was gorgeous – going to fill highlight reels for a good month. Adam Ružička (56.79%), Martin Pospisil (56.83%), Connor Zary (55.28%) were the trio of players just behind Kadri. The youth of this team is driving the bus – when Pelletier (DNP – INJ) and Coronato (AHL) come back to this roster I have little doubt they too can find success. Not often Coronato was the one outmatched while he was up, the Flames shifting from a team that relies on its veterans to one that runs off the motor of its younger players could help propel them to relevance as early as this season… that’s if they get on this rumoured roster re-tool.
Corsi Clown – What are they really going to do about Jonathan Huberdeau (37.57%)? There needs to be significant more rope with Backlund (34.40%) before saying this doesn’t work but the options are starting to run out. Maybe get him some youth to play with – it worked for Kadri with Zary.  Noah Hanifin (43.44%), Nick DeSimone (43.89%), and Nikita Zadorov (43.99%) were the defence that got constantly buried on chances against. For the record – if Zadorov, Tanev, or Hanifin get moved – a pairing of Gilbert and DeSimone wouldn’t be the worst thing. If they all get moved it might have to be a thing – Poirier and Solovyov could see some time as well in that scenario.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – Credit to what worked and that was Ruzicka (58.56 SCF% // 100 HDCF%) with Mangiapane (47.48% // 100%) and Lindholm (52.99% // 100%). Funny it seems every line that had a spark of Generation Z on it showed up to produce. Mad props to Andrew Mangiapane I thought he had a hell of a game – really unfortunate his fifth goal of the season was taken away from him. If anybody on this team looks like they can hit 30 still it’s Mangiapane. Andersson (55.50% // 53.56%) has a lot of give and take in his game right now. He is the primary defender creating good chances off the wall in the offensive zone but is also everywhere and out of position in his own zone.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – Lindholm (73.72%) with his best quality share score in a little bit – really no need to shake up the lines for the next game. You’ve got Zary (67.90%) and Pospisil (66.42%) generating nothing but chances out there – Zary specifically looks lights out every time he’s on the ice. Flames fans have a reason to tune in every night – not to see if the team can win a game, but rather to see if Zary can keep this play up. 3 weeks in so far, so good. A final note on the skaters – Yegor Sharangovich (35.05%) keeps getting lost in the shuffle, but unless he starts finding his own space to utilize his shot that’s going to keep happening.  Can’t always rely on the others to do stuff for you, creating some space yourself would be a welcomed sight.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – 5 stars, no notes, all praise. Markstrom won this game himself as the Flames gave up significant looks and he had an answer for all of them. Throw some props to the crossbar and the posts as the Habs had their fair share of those too. 2.35 expected goals against with only 1 getting behind him. If you missed the game let me put it this way – he had a month’s worth of 10 bell saves this game alone. Someone buy this man dinner, he deserves it.
Player Spotlight – Chris Tanev – Someone being bandied about in the UFA trade rumours is perennial defensive specialist Chris Tanev. Now production-wise one may think he’s just a lowly defenceman, but Tanev has a tremendous first pass out of the zone and knows when to put the puck on net. He is worth more than the spare parts you’ll see fans offer for him on the internet, in fact the closer it gets to the trade deadline the more valuable Tanev is. Any contender wanting a stronger defence would pay mass amounts to get someone with his defensive acumen – in November? Not as likely. Maximizing value is a necessity.
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Jacob Markstrom
2) Connor Zary
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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