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Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames go the distance in Sunrise

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Photo credit:Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
2 days ago
In a tilt that saw both teams get an even number of chances it was Calgary that ended up victorious. Storylines galore as all sorts of reunions overlooked the match pre-game, yet at the final horn all the talk was about the Flames young Adam Ružička getting his first career three-point game. The Florida Panthers are a very skilled hockey club and going shot for shot with them isn’t a terrible thing – it may not be what the Flames wanted it to look like but they’ll take all the wins they can get after that long losing streak.
CF% – 54.35%, SCF% – 52.49%, HDCF% – 51.2%, xGF% – 42.14%
It’s a Team Game – Calgary has been able to have a stretch of games with fantastic first period efforts. That’s never really been their main concern though. Later in games when other teams pressure Calgary has found ways to collapse. Sometime it bites them and they lose (e.g., Oilers), and sometimes they end up with a win like this game. Regardless the 5v5 play late in games needs to be managed better if there is going to be sustained success.
Corsi King – Your TOI leader with 26:34 on the night was also the leader here. Nikita Zadorov (73.16 CF%) was tops with partner MacKenzie Weegar (70.29%) in tow. To put this into perspective Zadorov played nearly a full period by himself at 5v5 – in that period he spent 14:35 (ish) of those 20 minutes putting pucks on the net. That’s not a tried-and-true calculation, but it’s a rough guess-timation based on percentages and such. I’ll take that performance any day of the week. Adam Ružička (60.77%) led all forwards just ahead of Mikael Backlund (60.19%).
Corsi Clown – Rasmus Andersson (30.51%) and Noah Hanifin (36.79%) got on the bad side of both attempts against and quality against. A major part of that comes from playing hard minutes against a very talented trailing team that knows how to ramp up their pressure. While not the single most flattering performance they did not get scored on 5v5. Nazem Kadri (43.58%) was the lowest forward – even then 44% isn’t terrible.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – The new look Lindholm (53.94 SCF% // 54.87 HDCF%) line was once again stupendous. Ružička (48.24% // 54.87%) was once again making the most of his opportunity. All it takes with Sutter is a couple of periods off to be pulled out of that spot – decent enough pressure for anyone to try and keep it. Finally, Toffoli (48.24% // 54.87%) rounds everyone out showing a solid performance from this line all around. They went against some heavy Florida skill and graded out evenly which is a win in my books.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – Nazem Kadri (20.03%) went from being the main guy every night to struggling with his linemates. I would honestly still expect some Stanley Cup fatigue in his game – maybe it just took a few weeks to creep into his game. He’s never put up metrics this low yet so I’ve got faith he’ll get back to being what we all know he is. Mikael Backlund (53.94%) is constantly in the positive every night in expected goals. He’s got Huberdeau (52.49%) playing a lot better in open space too.
Game Flow –
Due to an error in the chart it will not be posted at time of writing – please check NaturalStatTrick.com to find the game flow chart for this match.
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – I’ll say one thing about Markstrom’s performance – all the 5v5 goals were classified as high danger. That’s right they’ll call them high danger right in front of the net whether the goaler is there or behind it. One could argue without him behind the net it’s an even higher danger chance but now I just feel like I’m being extra mean. 1.85 expected goals against 5v5 with 3 high danger chances get behind him. Still got the W though because Spencer Knight couldn’t stop much himself.
Player Spotlight – Dennis Gilbert – There’s a good way to get your name on the scoresheet – especially with a scrap like that. Gilbert is doing whatever he can to stay noticed and be impactful for the Flames. He has not got a regular roster spot – and he doesn’t really have one when everyone is healthy – so for now just do your best to show you can be the guy to fill in. Every day in the NHL comes with a pretty hefty pay increase over the minors – doing what it takes to stay, I’ll always respect that. 
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Adam Ružička
2) Elias Lindholm
3) Nikita Zadorov
The Flames continue their road trip against the Philadelphia Flyers Monday at 5 p.m. MT.
(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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