Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames let basement dwelling Blackhawks walk all over them

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
1 year ago
You can just go ahead and bookmark that as this season’s most disappointing loss by a landslide. Against the last place team (Chicago) – the second time you’ve played them in the last 2 weeks – and you come out flat footed and simply get overpowered. Normally the Calgary Flames have a quick bounce back ability, but they didn’t see a hard pushback until the game was out of hand with less than 10 minutes to play. Everything seemed to be a half inch away from the Flames – in terms of passing, puck battles, and shooting – just slightly off the mark all over the ice. A really tough pill to swallow given the current circumstances with the standings.
CF% – 54.57%, SCF% – 49.59%, HDCF% – 37.73%, xGF% – 48.74%
It’s a Team Game – It’s a concern for me when you look at their high danger chances – tonight was some of the most abysmal net front defence we’ve seen in a long time. Constant drives close to the net resulting in scoring chances from below the hashmarks. Off the rush the defence kept getting twisted up or downright confused. I caught myself asking if someone had put some sort of confusion spell on the whole team to make them discombobulated or something. Certainly not the normal Flames we are used to, but a new version that’s crept in to their game lately.
Corsi King – Rasmus Andersson (67.41%) led the way for the Flames with partner Hanifin (66.20%) in tow. The Flames forwards were led by Jakob Pelletier (63.96%) who got a promotion and a chance to play with Backlund (50%) and Mangiapane (54%). His ice time spiked to 12 minutes at 5v5 and he still did not look out of place. Tonight didn’t have as much pop as I saw the first two games, but a saw a professional player who makes smart decisions when he has to think quickly. The overall shooting attempts problem is never the issue for Calgary – it’s the disparity between the quality of chances is where you can find the flaws.
Corsi Clown – Dillon Dubé (44.83%) and linemates Lindholm (47.24%) and Toffoli (47.62%) were the only line to escape the blender in the late first period. I didn’t mind the new look lines and don’t think too many of the goals were outright their problem. This game I point a lot of my fingers at the defence and their lack of ability to be physical on the Blackhawks when they drove the net. Chicago was able to stick-handle around most of the Flames and Markstrom had to come up huge on multiple occasions. That’s where to start dissecting this one – in my opinion.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – Just two of their rostered players finished on the positive side of their high danger chance battles. Huberdeau (59.85 SCF% // 75,87 HDCF%) and Kadri (56.34% // 55.77%) get top spot by virtue of letting the least amount of high danger chances through. Huberdeau himself was only on for one high danger chance against. The most was Mackey (42.70% // 43.77%) and Stone (35.12% // 36.80%) who let over 7 good looks against. Stone was out for two goals against as well, Mackey just one. I would not be shocked if Dennis Gilbert was in next game for Mackey.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – Dubé (33.88%), Lucic (38.76%), and Lewis (39.54%) bring up the caboose of the list. Pelletier (55.01%) was a complement to both pairs of players he saw the ice with after the shuffling. Backlund (48.86%) and Mangiapane (47.91%) fared a little worse off than Kadri (54.88%) and Huberdeau (61.05%). Number 10 for Calgary led the team in xG% this night.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
*Note: That is a real ugly look for Stone and Mackey, a reeeeaaaalllll ugly look.
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – It is not fair for anyone to ask Markstrom for an extra save when he gets left hung out to dry like he did tonight. Just look at the stops he made on Colin Blackwell alone as proof he was giving it everything he had – his defence in front of him just let way too much through them. 2.44 expected goals against at 5v5 is ridiculously high for a Flames team to give up – Markstrom did have 4 beat him though. One high danger chance and three medium danger classifications are what got by Markstrom.
Today’s Specials – There continued to be a lack of power in the Flames power play. I honestly think they pay no real mind to it because there haven’t been too many noticeable differences to it night over night. When it is successful it’s a low% shot through distance but the Flames have a staff that should know the benefit of taking shots from as close to the net as possible regardless of location. The puck needs to be ran off the ½ wall through a winger that can establish good possession and make extremely quick passes in distributing the puck both low and high. They also need to emphasize attacking in ways that Matthew Tkachuk did last year – get the game tape and show your net front guys how to do it. Use him as a shining example because he’s one of the best in the league in that spot, in those situations.
Player Spotlight – Adam Ružička – The consistent emergence through three games of Pelletier and the absolute benefit Walker Duehr has brought every night he’s played… when does the realization these younger players are more impactful on the game nightly than the older players going to sink in. Is there going to be an “ah-ha!” moment where they finally see the value in the speed and quick cognitive thinking these younger players are providing. It’s nice to see all these veterans default to the base structure of Darryl Sutter’s attack, but until one of them gets confident enough to break the structure along the boards for scoring chances the offence will stay dried up. These young players are driving that offence and creating chances, how about we get them in the lineup and utilize their speed to our advantage. 
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Jonathan Huberdeau
2) Jakob Pelletier
3) Nazem Kadri
(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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