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Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames offence comes up short (again) against Arizona

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Photo credit:Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
8 months ago
The Calgary Flames once again find a way to sneak a game into overtime only to come up short against the Arizona Coyotes. Always bringing the fundamentals in strength they just have shown time and time again to be missing that final ability to be clutch and pull out the final goal. Earlier in the year I pointed the finger at goaltending pretty heavily, but the continued collapse the last three weeks have seen has been solely on the backs of the 18 guys skating in front of the net. Things keep rolling downhill every single time the Flames need a positive boost.
CF% – 60.73%, SCF% – 65.61%, HDCF% – 49.12%, xGF% – 56.51%
It’s a Team Game – This story has been told plenty of times this season. Lots of possession, tons of distanced attacks, and not enough high danger chances. Against a team with one of the weakest defensive coverages in the league they managed just 7 high danger chances at 5v5. They just couldn’t get to the net against a defensive group anchored by Juuso Valimaki, JJ Moser, and rookies Victor Soderstrom and Michael Kesselring. It’s just to the point that there are no excuses anymore – there has to be a change in some manner because the status quo is too repetitive. Last season already feels like a long distant memory.
Corsi King – Milan Lucic (71.87%) led the Flames and even got a temporary run of a couple shifts with Lindholm (56.41%) as Pelletier (49.84%) had a shift with the fourth line. It was a brief and quick lesson for the kid, and I have no idea if it was intentional, but he was put back with the top guys pretty quickly. The Flames never have a problem in this department – they generate shots at the best rate in the league. They need to emphasize a better way of getting more constant looks from the slot though. There is too much settling for bad shots on a nightly basis.
Corsi Clown – Pelletier was the lowest ratio on the team. I’ve never checked but they may set a record for games lost when the entire team was on the positive side of the shot attempts. Is it embarrassing or sad? I’ll let the masses decide.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – Clear standout in this one was Noah Hanifin (75.39 SCF% // 73.79 HDCF%) who got involved in the most high danger looks. On the front end it was Tyler Toffoli (72.87% // 82.63%) whose shoot first mentality deserves to get rewarded more than it has. He’s had a rough go from getting goals in tight but has taken over from mid-range. The team could do with a few more of their wingers following his ability to get shots from between the hashmarks. Too much board play is great for possession but bad for tangible goal scoring on a nightly basis.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – It is truly amazing that Chris Tanev (75.72%) has the ability to turn anybody into a top-level defender. Kylington, Hanifin (66.99%), Weegar (48.78%): everyone that he plays with sees top level advanced metrics on a nightly basis. Did you know that Chris Tanev’s passing metrics are among the most elite? You wouldn’t because the passes he makes so much – and completes them – are breakout passes leading to a rush. He loses a lot of assists because of that and plays defence first from goal line to goal line, but he’s not appreciated to the level he actually plays at. The Norris trophy won’t go to him – and there are players in a clear tier above him – but he’s not as far down the tier list as conventional thinking would tell you.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – Markstrom was the victim of the Coyotes speedy new young winger Matias Maccelli shorthanded as he ripped that puck right by the Flames goaltender. At 5v5 he was only beat by high danger looks and kept all the soft goals away for another night. Markstrom is back in his prime form just in time for the offence to sputter. Nothing can line up for a stretch longer than 2 games – consistency has been a problem, but not in net since Boston.
Player Spotlight – Dillon Dubé – He’s got the ability to be red hot or ice cold and there is absolutely no in-between. You can’t rely on him for nightly offence yet at this point of his career. He’s got 1 goal and 1 assist in his last 10 games – which did result in a brief fourth line demotion. We’ve seen how Pelletier’s speed has stood out and become a shining positive In his games most nights – Dubé would do well to watch the youngster because if he imitates his game even a little bit, he would find himself with more turnovers and prime opportunities. Dubé doesn’t deserve most of the blame for the offence, but his ability to vanish from relevance is noticeable.
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Chris Tanev
2) Jonathan Huberdeau
3) Mickael Backlund
(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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