Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames fold on the river in Vegas

Photo credit:Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
1 year ago
It is not uncommon to see the Vegas Golden Knights come from behind to win in the third period – and in Calgary’s case this isn’t the first time we’ve seen them lose a 3-1 lead in third period either. More of the same story for both teams unfolded as the Flames could not fend off the Vegas attack when they picked it up in the third period. One really bad mistake by the Flames most consistent player in overtime draws the most attention, but one goal against does not lose you the whole game. Calgary is now three points behind Minnesota with them having a game in hand, one point behind Colorado and they have four games in hand. It’s not looking any easier for the Flames.
CF% – 53.39%, SCF% – 63.74%, HDCF% – 51.74%, xGF% – 53.38%
It’s a Team Game – Through two periods Calgary had the clear advantages across the board. The more high danger chances, the better-quality chances, and were clearly ahead in terms of shot attempts. The third period completely flipped everything on its head leaving Calgary with just one shot on goal in the third period.  Vegas didn’t get any more in terms of quality than Calgary got in each of the first two periods, but they did get the saves they needed despite all the pressure. There’s no point in calling a blown third period a good game, but I will state that in terms of metrics it was fairly close. Vegas was better when it mattered most and made the less crucial mistakes.
Corsi King – Chris Tanev (71.45%) with Weegar (63.33%) worked well as it usually does, and Mangiapane (67.89%) continues to help pace the forwards in terms of shot attempts. All three of the Flames top three forward lines finished on the positive side – it was the defence that ended up split in half. Nikita Zadorov (55.39%) was the one who ended up on the positive side of the battle. With how the game played out it all ended rather close for a large chunk of the forwards.
Corsi Clown – Trevor Lewis (35.80%) and his linemates of Walker Duehr (37.70%) and Milan Lucic (42.84%) got pinned in their own zone a fair amount. I liked Duehr’s energy and his speed compared to the other two guys stands out so much. His energy needs to remain in the lineup, Andersson (41.40%) and Hanifin (41.90%) also spent more time in their own zone than they would have liked. I’m still largely giving Andersson a pass after he got hit by a literal car – that’s all I’ve got to say on him for a little while.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – The most common problem with the Flames this year have been goaltending and their ability to create dangerous chances. In this game the Flames had 2 forward lines fail to generate a high danger 5v5 chance. The fourth line having that happen is going to occur when you play top end teams like Vegas, but the Lindholm (71.26 SCF% // 0 HDCF%) line failing to get one hurts tremendously. The minutes are so evenly distributed on this team if one line gets shut down Calgary’s ability to score drops dramatically. The positives? Well Jakob Pelletier (76.69% // 71.68%) being one of the best players on the ice for either team is a huge plus. He really has earned the right to fill that top-9-hole Calgary had for the rest of the season – whether he slumps or not. Calgary is emphatically not in a position where they should be doing any serious adding to their roster for short term durations – it’s not worth the future capital – and Pelletier fitting in that hole as well as he has will allow them to do just that.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – He’s going to be villainized for his bad overtime change – which he owned up to after the game – but Backlund (67.73%) stood out again at 5v5 throughout the whole game. Worth noting that Pelletier (62.14%) finished a good 15% higher than linemates Huberdeau (46.11%) and Kadri (48.34%). Without Pelletier on that line, I’d really actually dread to see what the nightly impact of that line combination would be – my bank is not good. There is two guys the Flames need more out of nightly and I think if Pelletier keeps up how he plays he’ll drag both of those guys right out of their funk.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – Neither guy when given a chance to go back-to-back has shown the ability to string wins together. The entire season the Flames have never won more than three in a row and the biggest finger is pointing right to Calgary’s crease. Tonight, wasn’t atrocious by any means, but once again was not enough. From a purely defensive standpoint and the process of limiting chances against Calgary has been a top 10 team, but they’ve received bottom 10 goaltending too. The only way to counter that is with a more potent offence which just clearly is not in the cards for the Flames this year. The goaltending as a whole needs to improve – the quality/amount they’ve been facing has been at more than an acceptable level.
Today’s Specials – Why did it take 50 games to improve the power play. How many of those 22 one goal losses could have been prevented by having a power play attack the same as Calgary has employed since the All-Star break. It keeps looking better and more efficient each game too. Pelletier and Hanifin have a special connection up a man and Mangiapane is bound to get a goal from the bumper slot the way he’s been going. Hanifin specifically sees the offensive zone different than the rest of the Flames defence and should be leaned on as the primary power play QB option.
Player Spotlight – Trevor Lewis – I’m not going to be too kind here, but it needs to be said. At some point if the Flames don’t get back on the right track his roster spot and role are going to be… unessential. Backlund, Mangiapane, Coleman, Lindholm, Dubé, and Toffoli all kill penalties for this team and his nightly roster spot would be a good look to actually give some prospects that have played well with the Wranglers some looks – or even just Ružička nightly with Duehr. Now this is all hypothetical and only necessary should Calgary slide extremely out of playoff contention, but they’re closer to that happening than making it. Do I think this will happen? No because as long as the Flames aren’t mathematically eliminated every veteran player we’ve seen all year is going to be given a shot to try and clutch their way into the dance (as it should be for all active players and coaches – that’s the whole point of playing, to win). I’m just trying to shed some light on the possibilities that could take place should it continue to go wrong. Should they fall back the roster spot for some of those expiring deal veterans should be used as auditions for next year to see who can make an impact. 
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Jakob Pelletier
2) Andrew Mangiapane
3) Chris Tanev
(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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