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Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames get to the dangerous areas but can’t solve Ottawa netminder

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Photo credit:Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
3 months ago
It is reasonable to start to wonder if the Calgary Flames have a hex on them whenever they play Ottawa? No matter how strong of an effort they put in they haven’t been able to find too much success against them in recent years. Saturday was no exception as the Flames frequently found ways to get good shot opportunities but failed to beat Joonas Korpisalo. When you have a losing record, games that fall under the moral victory category don’t feel all that positive. If Calgary can find a way to fix their defence from the atrocious own zone turnovers the Flames could start winning games.
CF% – 48.76%, SCF% – 52.42%, HDCF% – 70.16%, xGF% – 60.17%
It’s a Team Game – The Ottawa Senators – desperate for wins and having a large lead in the third period – reverted to simple hockey. The problem with that is it becomes even more difficult to make your way through the neutral zone with either possession or speed. They forced a lot of dump-ins and low event hockey. Calgary was trying their hardest but without a true puck-carrying playmaking forward the Senators were able to shut them down early. The Flames not being able to capitalize on their first period sustained pressure before the Senators was a huge blow to them and their ability to create offence later in the game.
Corsi King – Blake Coleman (69.24 CF%) has been scorching hot lately, he’s always responsible defensively but playing with young Martin Pospisil (62.33%) has helped him start to score goals. He’s had 20 in a season before – once upon a time – the Flames need someone unconventional to step up and have some career numbers if they want to crawl back into the playoff picture. On the back-end the Weegar (56.93%) and Andersson (53.80%) pairing had a huge bounce back. They weren’t the direct cause of the problems today, that lies with the other two pairs.
Corsi Clown – Not every night can be a winner for every line, on Saturday we saw the first real rough game for the Kadri (26.50%), Zary (26.59%), Sharangovich (27.69%) trio. They still brought lots of energy, but in terms of generating chances they were nothing compared to what they had been the prior 3 games. Noah Hanifin (34.48%) needs to stop turning pucks over in the neutral zone – almost every time he does it comes back with a dangerous chance (or goal) against. Same thing can be said for Zadorov (47.66%) and his turnovers in his own zone. Speaking of Zadorov, he will have his trade request filled whenever GM Craig Conroy feels good and ready and not a second earlier.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – The Flames themselves see most of their ratios on the fine and dandy side after the hot start they had. The overall three period summary doesn’t tell us how it got harder and harder for offence to present itself as the game went on. Hanifin (40.42 SCF% // 26.19 HDCF%) particularly has been too polarizing with his game. He isn’t giving any sort of consistency in his performances as they roll by being hot one game and then a turnover bakery the next. Even next to Tanev (43.07% // 50.95%) he can’t find a regular groove – with his name circling trade rumours that may or may not be a good thing.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – I gave him a rough ride the last two games so positive shoutout to Adam Ružička (80.78%). When Ružička is on his game he directs a bunch of pucks into the crease to create chaos. The puck wouldn’t bounce his teammates way today, but they came close multiple times. An aggressive post on the powerplay late also came off the stick of Adam, he was around it tonight. On the Huberdeau (63.44%) watch things are going very middling. He still does not look like he’s about to pop off for piles of points, but he isn’t a major defensive liability. Yeah, he’s had some bad backchecks but he’s in the right spot the vast majority of the time.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – Am I going to attempt to justify every single one of the goals scored against Dustin Wolf? Yes. Joseph goal was one of the nastiest tips – great coverage by the defenceman to not touch Joseph at all. Batherson’s goal was on the power play and we don’t blame goaltenders for going down a man. The Chartier goal is completely on Nikita Zadorov for his play behind the net, then Desimone overcorrects and covers the guy the center should have – lead to a tap in. Hamonic’s goal… Wolf should want that one back. All together he did a real good job, almost got back to a .900 save percentage because the Flames leaked so many shots through. He looked fundamentally sound and none of the goals seemed to rattle him. Just another day at work. 1.31 expected goals against with 1 high danger and 2 medium danger 5v5 goals against.
Player Spotlight – Rasmus Andersson – I’ve highlighted Huberdeau and Lindholm in the past couple games but another Flame struggling with consistency Is Andersson. They need him to massively improve his neutral zone transitional ability. Right now, getting pucks out of their zone with speed through the middle, so the team can form a dangerous attack going the other direction, seems to be a problem. Andersson is the guy they lean on more than anyone to be there true number 1 defenceman and to have that job you have to get the puck up with poise to the elite talents on your team – just not happening at the rate of success you’d like to see from your top dog. When Hanifin, Weegar, Tanev, and DeSimone/Gilbert also are struggling to do this the urgency for Andersson to improve is amplified. 
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Blake Coleman
2) Adam Ruzicka
3) Martin Pospisil
(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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