Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames loss brings them right up to the edge of elimination

Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
1 year ago
The Vancouver Canucks got to the Calgary Flames right away in the first period jumping out to a two-goal lead. That would be killer for Calgary because it changed the entire dynamic of how the game was going to be played. Vancouver shelled up and protected their net – only taking chances on the rush when they presented themselves. It’s not the most potent offensive strategy but if you have forwards buying in and playing strong defensive hockey all, you need is for the skilled ones to find a few goals. Calgary did a very good job of fighting back and then locking things down in the third, but because of the bad start and a lack of 60-minute effort they find themselves even closer to elimination.
CF% – 55.76%, SCF% – 61.63%, HDCF% – 68.8%, xGF% – 65.88%
It’s a Team Game – Make no mistake over the span of the entire game Calgary definitely found the advantage of more and better quality scoring chances. Most of every game is spent with Calgary cycling the puck along the boards in the offensive zone trying to find a path to the net (You may have to go through someone guys), and as such Calgary typically always grades well in overall shot attempts. They usually lack on the quality but they really did flare their good defensive instincts up tonight to make sure the game never got too far out of reach. The point means they still have some hope, but everything is completely in the Winnipeg Jets hands – if they don’t lose two of three then the Flames are toasted.
Corsi King – Blake Coleman (75.77%) is a damn fine 3rd line winger and if the cap were to go up his hit would be more palatable. That extra cap hit is to pay for the playoff experience, but they need to get there for that to be relevant. This season is by no fault his doing, in fact it’s the best point totals of his career this season. Chris Tanev (72.97%) led for the defence – him being highly possessive in his game is nothing new. Zadorov (49.02%) finished right on the verge but remember in one game sample sizes 48-52% is basically pure neutral. Huberdeau (62.69%) and company saw very few shots attempted against them.
Corsi Clown – I don’t know what caused Andrew Mangiapane (42.32%) to only be involved in 7 shot attempts but that’s entirely too low in a game of this magnitude. Andersson (46.14%) and Weegar (44.25%) have ratios that look bad but it’s entirely the low % of quality events while they were out there. Part of me always feels it’s too cruel to criticize one game samples because nobody in the history of the NHL has ever played 82 games without making a mistake. Heck, I’m sure very few of them have ever played a complete game without making at least one misread or missed check. What we want to see is consistency in low amounts against, and consistency in limiting high danger chances. Weegar and Andersson – even on nights they get out-shot – hold up that end of the bargain. At least defensively anyway.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – I don’t know what has got into Noah Hanifin (86.13 SCF% // 89.96 HDCF%) but he is playing on a different level if given space in the offensive zone. He’s so much more of a weapon than he’s ever been used as – there are a whole bunch of offensive totals waiting to be unlocked with him. Over 9 high danger chances for Hanifin, Tanev (86.13% // 89.96%) and Dubé (70.49% // 75.01%). That’s the Dubé I want to see every game – engaged and fast with the puck. Driving off the wing to make plays entering the zone. Being a pest around the net. All of that makes him so good and yet it vanishes for weeks at a time. Eerily similar to how Sam Bennett was, and we all know how that ended up playing out.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – Some games you’re the hero some games you struggle to make a significant impact. Walker Duehr (29.79%) is currently living that reality in the NHL. He, Trevor Lewis (34.25%) and Milan Lucic (36.63%) all got significantly outdone by the Canucks. Normally a coach would match up lines, but these guys go out against whoever is next and always seem to struggle when the home team can get the matchup they want. I hate to break it to you but with your season on the line Pettersson/Hughes/Miller should not be getting extended zone time against these guys. Also, they are playing 12 minutes 5v5… you aren’t exactly acting like your backs are against the wall and the urgency to start the game reflected that.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – I’ve got huge kudos for Markstrom for making quite a few big saves in this game to even get the Flames a point. When Calgary messes up they mess up big time – seemingly every time. They only tend to mess up 7-10 times a game (that is not very much) and yet every time one occurs the goaltender needs to be ready. Markstrom saw 1.56 expected goals against allowing just one low danger 5v5 goal. To his credit the crowd in front of the net on that one was more packed than the C-train during rush hour on a Thursday afternoon.
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Noah Hanifin
2) Nazem Kadri
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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