Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames get late third period goal explosion in Saturday night win

Photo credit:Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
1 year ago
A steady diet of the same thing over and over eventually wore the Washington Capitals down Saturday night in Calgary. The Flames found some chemistry all over their lineup for the second straight outing. This time their strong effort resulted in some goals, the majority of which came after Darcy Kuemper left the game. If Calgary can keep this high level of play up for another game they may just get their confidence and their swagger back.
CF% – 63.95%, SCF% – 59.28%, HDCF% – 68.75%, xGF% – 63.67%
It’s a Team Game – Huge compliments to Calgary who stepped on the gas in the second period – got the lead they were looking for – then proceeded to lock things up in the third period. Not that they had an overabundance of anything themselves in the third frame (well, maybe goals) but the Capitals were limited to no high danger 5v5 opportunities. Calgary didn’t overwhelm the Caps any given one time rather they kept up a steady attack all night long. In order to do that their transitions through the neutral zone as well as their forechecking had to be operating successfully all night long. Strong fundamentals from Calgary.
Corsi King – Adam Ružička (74.44%) playing with the red hot Backlund (71.92%) turned into an electrifying combination on Hockey Night in Canada. Ružička himself has been able to produce offence no matter where he plays in the top 9. The Flames always seem to be on the verge of going in a losing direction because of a lack of goals when #63 swoops in and solves the problem. Nights like this when you go over the boards on-the-fly and you get to go straight into the offensive zone help everyone. Always being deployed into a situation where you have to dig yourself out of the defensive zone every other shift gets annoying.
Corsi Clown – None, not one. Lowest guy: Michael Stone (55.59%)
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – I’m never surprised to see Huberdeau (55.16 SCF% // 100 HDCF%) at the top of these lists anymore, the counting totals are just knocking at the door. I don’t know exactly what the final piece that needs to click in to place for the door to burst open, but I doubt that issue lies in him. At least when he’s not getting points he still dominates possession while out there – hard for them to score if they don’t have the puck.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – Ružička (78.36%) is still doing all this with a significant ice time drop from the other forwards. You can chalk some of that up to not playing on the PK and only recently getting time on the second unit. I mean why not put your hot hand on the top unit with your other most skilled players. The power play is so stale any change to it would be welcome. MacKenzie Weegar (71.21%) continues to be a rock on defence. On nights when Rasmus Andersson (62.97%) and Noah Hanifin (60.60%) struggle to get out of their own zone Weegar always seems to come through. Now that wasn’t the case tonight, both defence pairings transitioned the puck quite well, but that has been an issue at times this year.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – I mean that’s a 5v5 shutout for Dan Vladar – 1.23 expected goals against with none getting behind him. At this point he’s earned an extended run of starts. I know you’ve got more dollars invested in the other guy but why wouldn’t you want to roll Vladar out with the way he’s been playing? Until the other guy gets back to steady form it’s a privilege to have such a skilled guy hold the fort.
Today’s Specials – I delete this section sometimes because I have nothing good to say about the Calgary Flames special teams very often. The strength has to be the penalty kill and it caved tonight. We all wish the power play could be the strength, but I can’t watch them do the same thing over and over again, constantly failing, only for them to switch where everyone stands and be shocked when that does next to nothing.
Player Spotlight – Andrew Mangiapane – Maybe the most important wildcard piece the Flames need at his top level for them to have any serious playoff hopes. They’ve got a battle ahead of them just to get into the playoffs already which makes Mangiapane finding ways to score even more important. He’s been dynamite ever since Brad Treliving told him to be a Honda Civic, now maybe the Flames GM could tell someone to get some Toyota Corolla in their step.
 The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Adam Ruzicka
2) Mikael Backlund
3) MacKenzie Weegar
The Flames return to action on Monday against the Arizona Coyotes at the Saddledome.
(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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