Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames play the role of comeback kids once again in defeat of the Carolina Hurricanes

Photo credit:Brett Holmes-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
6 months ago
It does not have to be perfect to count and the Calgary Flames showed that on Thursday against Carolina. For a long stretch of time the Flames seemingly fell off and stopped pushing, but as has been the script so many times already this year the switch flipped at the second intermission. Calgary came out like world beaters in the third period and not even a quality team like the Hurricanes could get the wave of attackers down. Ryan Huska shortened his bench like he’d been doing for over a month and the players that got to play pushed through some more adversity to come out victorious.
CF% – 42.3%, SCF% – 54.17%, HDCF% – 62.67%, xGF% – 60.35%
It’s a Team Game – Carolina is a team that likes to win the Sutter way, lots of opportunities from the perimeter while dominating possession. Calgary had a goaltender in net exceptional at re-directing those shots into non dangerous areas, making both the defence’s life easier and getting the forwards out of the zone with speed. Carolina ran out of gas in the third period after responding well early to a coach that was frustrated with their play the night before in Edmonton. Once Calgary gathers the reigns of momentum it’s really hard to keep them down, if only they could figure out how to do that from the opening puck drop.
Corsi King – Noah Hanifin (54.79%) leads in an area most Flames will find themselves on the sub side of 50%. Carolina takes a lot of shot attempts, but they aren’t all dangerous. Calgary as a whole did a collective positive job in regards to winning the high danger battle. Blake Coleman (53.93%) did beat that in his minutes played as he continues to have a career year. That shorthanded goal after the little fake was gorgeous. Everyone that didn’t get their minutes cut short in the third I’d say had an alright game.
Corsi Clown – That does not include Dillon Dubé (13.59%) who played just 5:37 in this match as his season hits an all-time low. He’s had an opportunity with nearly everyone on this team to find chemistry, has only ever settled in as a fourth line guy, lost his job to both Zary (45.77%) and Pospisil (45.17%), while being unable to seize an opportunity when promoted. A laundry list of things going wrong for the young man from Cochrane, AB. Maybe, as a pending RFA, he too could be on the possible list of guys getting a change of scenery.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – There is a whole bunch of give and take going on with the Flames top defence pair of late. MacKenzie Weegar (48.67 SCF% // 53.93 HDCF%) and Rasmus Andersson (38.81% // 48.47%) see as many high danger chances against as they help create. They play the most out of anybody and get the elite competition all the time, so it makes sense they aren’t running away with inflated percentages. I am of the belief that at least playing even gets you more of a chance to win than getting buried – focus on the positive side of things. The guys that struggled all got their ice time cut severely so the coach knew what was going on and who was rolling yet again.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – Nazem Kadri (73.09%) and the kids, Zary (73.02%) and Pospisil (70.53%), continue to impress almost a month after being put together. They’ve had their moments when either Zary or Pospisil need to have a seat or their minutes scaled back, but the next game they know they are going to be given every chance to seize the opportunity. Huska has created an awesome dynamic with everyone by treating them all equally. It doesn’t matter if it’s Huberdeau (67.14%), Dubé (26.78%), or any call-up – if you aren’t going at 100% you can have a seat on the bench for a little bit. The next game the opportunity will be given back to you, it’s up to you what you decide to do with it.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – I’ve been chomping at the bit to get to this section and praise Dustin Wolf for one hell of a win. There was a massive chunk of this game where Calgary was not putting pressure into a counter attack and Wolf had to be sharp. Two extremely nasty deflection goals – you may want him to come challenge those more, but in career game 4 I don’t think he quite has the timing down. The NHL is a significant jump from the AHL in terms of speed an adjustment period is necessary. Congrats to him on his first quality win. It wasn’t in garbage time to a lottery team, nor was it in relief. This came against a well-coached, perennial second round playoff team. Vladar has played well of late and deserves to get some starts too, but Wolf has earned a bit of a rotation with a statement victory. 
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –  
1) Connor Zary
2) Dustin Wolf
3) Blake Coleman 
(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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