Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames get bounce back win over Ottawa

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
5 months ago
The Calgary Flames needed a big bounce back after the letdown in Chicago and they found it in the third period against the Ottawa Senators. The game itself was fairly even in terms of chances but the superior performance from Jacob Markstrom led to the victory. It wasn’t for a lack of heart on the Senators part, just a lack of saves. Calgary finally got some offence they didn’t have to exert all their energy to achieve earning the victory in the process.
CF% – 50.61%, SCF% – 51.95%, HDCF% – 48.47%, xGF% – 43.18%
It’s a Team Game – Overall shot attempts and qualified scoring chances were pretty well exactly even. Each goaltender had to stop about 2.5 expected goals worth of quality and the single biggest factor in the victory was the one guy made the stops. Both teams got their looks but after the floodgates opened for Calgary they didn’t close. Pretty fair game with typical results across the board from every player except Korpisalo.
Corsi King – Nazem Kadri (74.72%) continues to roll along at a top-notch clip. Connor Zary (68.63%) and him found lightning in a bottle together and haven’t looked back since. With Pelletier coming off IR and bringing some great energy to Wranglers practice on his first day it breathes hope into the conversation that maybe more Veterans can be inspired too. Yes – what I’m hinting at is very obvious, but I’m still holding out hope something like that can work to get Huberdeau (50.72%) going. He’s in his best stretch of the year with 6 points in his last 6 games.
Corsi Clown – Walker Duehr (32.08%) didn’t exactly do much to suggest Dillon Dubé (N/A) continue to be scratched. No matter the combination of the fourth line it’s extremely hit or miss and no version of it is going to string long chunks of top-level play together. Some nights they don’t play enough to even get the feel of the game going. Tonight, they had just shy of 10 minutes 5v5, and they did not fare positively. I still want to see Elias Lindholm (41.77%) finish on the plus side of shot attempts for an extended run but I’m not sure we are ever going to get that.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – After three points you just knew Noah Hanifin (56.41 SCF% // 58.10 HDCF%) would lead all skaters in high danger chance involvement. The backhand goal was something new I’d never seen him really attempt in a game before – a welcome sight. He’s always visibly appeared to have the skills to still take a step, but he never really got past being a third defenceman. He doesn’t regularly hurt you in his minutes, nor does he add constant offence every night, but he is good for a solid burst a handful of times a year. Huberdeau (42.25% // 41.41%) saw the most high danger looks against for the Flames – ratios are solid because it was a high event game for all the big players as they traded shots.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – Shoutout to Blake Coleman (48.92%) for continually finding ways to get Calgary where they need to goal. He currently leads the team with 17 goals now, tremendous production for his contract. It’s a spike in production I never expected but always knew he was capable of. After the first two years 20 seemed like an off-chance, now it feels like a certainty. Nazem Kadri (79.74%) and Connor Zary (65.69%) owned their competition all night long. Not even close for them as they continue to be the most creative combination on the roster.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – If he doesn’t want to go I won’t campaign for him, but Jacob Markstrom is clearly the most deserving Flame to go to the All-Star Game in Toronto. Maybe he wants to take some time and relax in the sun – with it hitting -20 here in Alberta this week I wouldn’t blame him. All I’m trying to get at here is if anyone in a flaming “C” jersey is deserving of the All-Star title, It’s Markstrom. Just 3 goals got by him (2 at even strength) on 2.97 expected goals against.
Today’s Specials – I kind of don’t comment here anymore because for the longest time the power play was a stale as the bread you left uncovered on the kitchen counter while you visited family for two weeks over the holidays, but tonight I enjoyed that even more players are starting to move their feet. Connor Zary and Nazem Kadri have become quite adept at entering the zone with possession, but they still need to work on the plays they make after gaining the attacking zone. They forced a few things too early and had to regroup too often because of it. Better power play for sure, still so many steps to take.
Player Spotlight – Yan Kuznetsov – I love a good rookie lap, I also love when the Flames follow through on their promise to try more young talent on the team. Kuznetsov didn’t stand out, but he also didn’t look any more out of place than his linemate DeSimone. He had things go fairly uneventful other than the unfortunate first bounce. He responded well and played an alright game – one he will remember forever. Now let’s see if the Flames give him a chance to string some games together and learn from the previous one to improve.
 The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Connor Zary
2) Noah Hanifin
3) Jacob Markstrom
(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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