Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames have impressive bounce back performance in crucial win over Kraken

Photo credit:Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
1 year ago
The Calgary Flames came out swinging against the Seattle Kraken and promptly sat them down and taught them what hockey was for the first half of this game. It was entirely in Calgary’s control so much it felt unfair – Calgary even got a two-goal lead and kept it for a long time. The Flames kept to their structured game and played with a massive amount of speed and looked night and day better than the performance in Chicago. They seemed to run out of gas near the end, but their coach gave them a pass for that in the post-game presser so I will too.
We can focus on the Blackhawks loss still if we want, but of the last 2 games the Flames did get a regulation win in the one that mattered more. The last 32 games of the season feature 11 prominent western conference playoff contending teams so buckle up for some intense hockey as the playoff window grows ever smaller – for everybody.
CF% – 61.75%, SCF% – 62.02%, HDCF% – 60.45%, xGF% – 63.33%
It’s a Team Game –   Folks the Flames had 7 high danger chances in the first period alone. They responded really well to a performance I’m sure they all felt was bad inside their room. This team shows flashes of game controlling potential on a regular basis, but they can’t bring it consistently. The new kid – Pelletier – is providing a spark for the whole roster with his speed and the fact that he’s yet to take a shift off in the NHL. Ružička, Pelletier, and even Duehr have been massive pieces for motivating Calgary this year showing a real need to incorporate just some basic speed into the lineup. Still kinks to work out but that was a great showing from the Flames top 9.
Corsi King – Mikael Backlund (77.60%) lead the way with his linemates right there with him – Coleman (74.15%) and Mangiapane (71.98%). The Kraken defence struggled mightily with the Flames board play tonight, Calgary constantly kept possession. Stone (75.21%) and Gilbert (69% – nice) kept things simple and it paid off for them. The massive help for everyone was the back-checking and neutral zone play. I can’t state enough how much Pelletier (64.83%) has already stood out every single game in that regard. He’s always back defensively when it’s his job and he’s picked off a few pucks for quick counterstrikes too. Same stuff Backlund/Coleman/Mangiapane do nightly.
Corsi Clown – Adam Ruzicka (43.84%) does not play well with defense first forwards regularly. He has shown he’s an absolute booster to xG when he plays with talented players and yet with Pelletier looking so good in that spot so far there’s nowhere else for him to go. Calgary would still have to adjust their roster to try and get Duehr back with him – a combination that was paying dividends every night. The thing with that is one of Lucic (57.34%) or Lewis (46.47%) would have to sit every night and I really don’t get the sense they have the appetite for that. Brett Ritchie is coming back into the fold and we haven’t even mentioned Zohorna either – things are getting crowded fast.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – Worth noting the pair of Gilbert (63.96 SCF% // 100 HDCF%) and Stone (73.62% // 100%) did not see a high danger chance against them. I think it’s worth pointing out that Gilbert fits the stay-at-home style the Flames like their defence to use in transition – it’s not often you see the D on the rush as any of the first 3 options – and he’s been constantly more effective than Mackey. He has hardly ever had a real bad showing and mostly just goes unnoticed – which is a massive compliment for your sixth defenceman on any night. Obviously, Tanev is the priority but I’m willing to state Gilbert is the best option for their seventh D right now. If the Flames ever do get in a position to buy, they should look at upgrading their sixth RD. The guys that struggled were Dubé (43.58% // 27.77%) and Zadorov (35.81% // 19.22%).
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – Nazem Kadri (84.94%) and Jonathan Huberdeau (86.77%) had some of their best games of the season next to speedy young Pelletier (80.12%). Huberdeau still needs to figure out how to attack on the rush without getting the puck taken from him or using a fast spin move to go across the crease – just maintain possession for a bit dude! Your linemates will come to support you.The thing is though Pelletier is fast enough if they can play together long enough to figure out their neutral zone tendencies, we could see a lot of odd man rushes from this group. It went awesome tonight against a quality opponent in the Kraken – it deserves to continue after the break is up.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – Dan Vladar just keeps getting points. He gets the stat that matters most in any season, standings points. Most nights he’s right around a balance of letting the same number of goals against as expected, but the strength is not letting in the weak ones. It takes quite the quality chance to get the puck behind the Flames goaler and it’s looked that way ever since he was the best Flames player through the pre-season. He’s probably up to ¾ starts every 2 weeks territory until he starts to see his performance dip. You don’t want to over-saturate his workload though – he’s never played more than 45 games and that was in 2018-19. The best solution is to have both goalies running hot in a tandem, see: Boston.
Today’s Specials – I’m still getting video clips from Robert (@RingOfFireCGY) of all the power plays – I’ve had enough and am going to clip it down and dissect every inch of wrongness about the whole thing. It’s atrocious from the zone entry all the way up to the point of attack. With players this skilled there’s no rhyme or reason for it to be this bad other than ignorance to change it up. Are they scared somebodies feelings are going to get hurt if they spend a couple weeks on PP2? This is the pro ranks – earn your spot. Let’s have some merit for all-situations not just 5v5. With how he has been playing of late Mangiapane would be my first suggestion for the net spot.
Player Spotlight – Nazem Kadri – The Flames All-Star representative heads to the game with 19 goals and 19 assists in 50 games. He’s constantly been noticeable as a player that always brings the same compete level – it’s been extremely evident in games the team has failed to show up for (CBJ, NSH, CHI… CHI again). I think he’s one heck of a choice to represent the city of Calgary and will do everyone proud. I still have to pinch myself to be reminded he came to play in Calgary and we get him and his work ethic for 7 years – a fantastic thing to have rub off on future younger players.
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Blake Coleman
2) Elias Lindholm
3) Jakob Pelletier
(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)

Check out these posts...