Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames push Oilers hard but fall just short

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
20 days ago
The Calgary Flames gave their fans plenty to cheer for even in a loss to the playoff bound Edmonton Oilers. Calgary played them as hard as any playoff team would really showing pride in their team performance despite being officially eliminated from playoff contention after their last loss. The Oilers – who have run away with games against Calgary before – did have some high quality looks but the Flames did a tremendous job committing to playing strong in front of their goaltender. In the final season stretch positives are a good thing to keep the team going, this performance was in fact positive in spite of the loss.
CF% – 59.23%, SCF% – 59.11%, HDCF% – 53.29%, xGF% – 58.43%
It’s a Team Game – Calgary really didn’t get the result they worked for because the second period was all them from the moment Sharangovich scored. They were the better team in the first period too before the penalty trouble at the end. The Oilers really only got one stretch of pressure after it was tied and unfortunately that was power play fuelled as well. 5v5 it was all Calgary, all night – minus any 5v5 goals. Major credit to Calvin Pickard who showed great lateral movement and looked sharp.
Corsi King – Daniil Miromanov (76.13%) with a whopping 28 shot attempts in his minutes, the three way tie for forward chances was Backlund (72.43%), Coleman (71.01%), and Sharangovich (65.79%). Really only the fourth line found themselves on the wrong side of chances. I don’t think that Coronato (29.70%) is going to work with Rooney (22.69%) no matter how many attempts Huska gives them together. He just doesn’t play with the pace nor the ability to make the space that Coronato needs out of his centreman. Pospisil (52.38%) is so good next to Kadri (55.52%) that leaves another shooter like Sharangovich or, just maybe, give him a spin with Zary (62.42%) and Huberdeau (71.37%) who looked lethal together. Until that happens you’re going to find yourself disappointed in what you’re getting.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – Blake Coleman (80.86 SCF% // 76.23 HDCF%) clearly got a message delivered to him – start shooting bud. You aren’t going to get number 30 passing it off. He was majorly aggressive on offence and is probably the single biggest victim of Pickard’s great play on the whole Flames roster. Sharangovich (70.09% // 65.03%) got his milestone so that’s one less Flame that needs force fed chances to try and achieve something significant. Weegar (60.88% // 58.52%) was letting shots fly too – we’re all rooting for these guys to hit these goals. Six games left!
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – Dryden Hunt (83.50%) seems to be able to complement everyone while helping to contribute strong metrics and yet the offence is so marginal you can’t keep him anywhere long term. I can clearly see why the coach loves him – he’s trained himself on doing the little things wingers need to do and do them right. He gets pucks out at his blueline, he keeps possession alive on the boards, and he dumps it deep in the neutral zone when pressured rather than risk turnovers. However, his forechecking ability is limited due to his size and he’s not as shifty as a Gaudreau to sneak in and get away with possession of the puck and space. Coronato (0%) certainly isn’t making any strong cases for himself on the fourth line but the work he did in the AHL should matter for what kind of role he’s “earning” in the NHL. Having Hunt – who we know what he is and what he can be – play over the player that needs minutes to develop seems less than an ideal.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – Only the one 5v5 goal against on 18 tries for Markstrom. Certainly nobody can point at him as the fault for the loss – giving Mr. 99 assists time and space to manoeuvre by going down a man is the worst strategy possible. It’s probably not his favourite thing to be splitting starts with Wolf down the stretch but is playing strong regardless. I have no idea what his future is going to be, but the man can still keep his team in games.   
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Yegor Sharangovich
2) Nazem Kadri
3) Jonathan Huberdeau
(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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