Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames lose sixth straight in regulation despite Connor Zary’s amazing debut

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
7 months ago
A youth fuelled start got everyone on the Calgary Flames energized only to see a listless second period ruin it all. A pushback came in the third period, but the Dallas Stars have one of the best goaltenders on the planet – not making bad mistakes and playing bad defence in the first place limits the need to create offensive panic at the end. It wasn’t complete doom and gloom however as Connor Zary electrified everyone that watched with an amazing individual performance. Problems still persist but at least their recent draft picks are giving it all they got.
CF% – 54.04%, SCF% – 43.8%, HDCF% – 39.62%, xGF% – 42.12%
It’s a Team Game – Hidden behind the excitement of the Zary show was an extremely subpar defensive effort from the blueline. They got buried by an absurdly talented Stars offence that had them constantly backed in, collapsing on their goaltender. Based on what came his way Markstrom did a fantastic job, the team in front of him needed to do a lot more for him. The Flames allowed 9 high danger chances in the second frame – forcing themselves to play catch up rather than defend a lead. Hard pressed to see how they do with a lead because it’s been two weeks since they’ve held one for any significant amount of time.
Corsi King – Nazem Kadri (72.77 CF%) led the way and it was visibly evident. He was controlling zone entries but doing very little to make them dangerous – but at this point any major step in the right direction is what we’ll take. The Flames are truly better off if Kadri can play like the player we all know he can be – harping on him isn’t going to do any good. With some youth next to him in Zary (63.57%) the positives he brings stood out like the Calgary Tower being placed in the middle of Saskatchewan.
Corsi Clown – I still think Matt Coronato (18.28%) can fill in and play centre in a pinch but you’re going to have to play him with more than Walker Duehr (23.02%) and AJ Greer (21.23%). Put him in a position for him to have success – I know people are tired of the line juggling, but Sharangovich (68.22%) really worked with those wingers – if Zary-Kadri can be a thing maybe getting them a prime shooter in Coronato could help. With Dubé (DNP) out there’s a hole for the taking and it need not get plugged just because of contract status.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – The Flames got just spanked from the dangerous areas of the ice. Relentlessly dominated by a much better Stanley cup calibre team. Jordan Oesterle (19 SCF% // 0 HDCF%) got absolutely cooked to the tune of over 10 high danger chances against while contributing to none. The turnovers and crazy yard sale passes out of his own zone are not helping the team – he’s been a serious problem when he plays. Poor Dennis Gilbert (17.17% // 0%) couldn’t keep him afloat. Shout-out to Gilbert for what it’s worth – he’s been more than a reliable third pairing defenceman and has earned at minimum a consistent seventh D slot in the NHL.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – 5 players finished under 10% while the rest were all well over 50%. The coach recognized it and started limiting their ice time late, but oh boy did the fourth line and third D pair get cooked. That still should not be the difference maker in this game, a contributing goal from Jonathan Huberdeau (56.63%) is what’s needed. He has to produce almost nightly – that’s his job. In 32 Thoughts Elliotte Friedman wrote the Flames are committed to making it work with number 10 – I agree in that has to be necessary. Let him find some more open space with the neutral zone, and please get him to start moving his feet through the middle of the ice too. Get him off the damn wall and into space where he can move.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – Hard pressed to blame the goaltender when the defencemen are defending rushes on the inside of their own hashmarks. Someone has got to step up and at least make it difficult to get into your own defensive zone. The forwards aren’t off the hook either there are some weak back checkers on this current roster. Markstrom shows up and cares every night – he’s already won me back after last season – the kids show up too. Time for the veterans to do their part. 2.82 expected goals against – 1 high danger and 2 medium (deflected) danger goals.
Today’s Specials – The second unit is the first unit, and the first unit is garbage. Simple as that – the Andersson play on the shorthanded goal was an absolute disaster. I get it if you’re gassed but either get off or give a crap. Don’t raise your hands afterwards like you thought it was an icing or something either – the entire sequence was unacceptable from start to finish. At least Markstrom found the path back to the net – I was worried he’d follow the Mike Smith rut and end up in La-La Land.
Player Spotlight – Connor Zary – He’s staying. There’s nothing you can say to justify not keeping him on the NHL roster after that amazing debut. Wow – hope for the future wrapped up in smart play on both sides of the puck and some sprinkle of razzle dazzle that could ignite the ‘Dome. There were 3 times I counted him being the only guy hustling his butt off on the way back into his own zone. I’m in awe – I never imagined it going that well in the middle of a 6-game losing streak. I enjoyed watching Flames hockey last night primarily because of Connor Zary.
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Connor Zary
2) MacKenzie Weegar
3) Jacob Markstrom
(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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