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Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames pushed to the brink of elimination after just four games

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Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
8 months ago
Not even the Edmonton Oilers letting an 150 yard chip shot in was able to help the Calgary Flames achieve victory as they fall down in the series forcing themselves into a massive corner. Was the game overall tipped in their favour in terms of possession and chances? Yes. Does that matter now that the Oilers won? Absolutely not. Playing better and losing is only a decent consolation prize for the regular season. Having it happen in the second round of the playoffs just plain stinks. That one was within the Flames reach and they failed to box out the front of the net when they needed to most.
CF% – 62.09%, SCF% – 56.02%, HDCF% – 50.79%, xGF% – 45.33%
It’s a Team Game – After the first period Calgary had a 5-3 advantage in high danger chances and a 3-0 deficit – seems normal right. The Oilers were the team to make a big push when the score became tied again. Calgary was coming across the blue line with more possession instead of resorting to dumping it and that was a major reason they were able to crawl back into it. As soon as the score gets even they start dumping the puck again – which I’m actually fine with… as long as the forecheck is good enough to win possession. It ended up not being that and instead the Oilers were able to find a winning goal – and it didn’t involve McDavid, Kane, or Hyman. Nice little surprise for them – it just came in the form of a dagger for Calgary.
Corsi King – When the only player to be on the ice for a 5v5 goal for and none against is the guy clearly playing very injured you got some problems. Chris Tanev (70.02 CF%) being healthy would very clearly change how the first 4 games went but there is literally no use in crying about it now. He’s hurt – they are fighting – and he’s doing what he can. The guy that pretty well got bumped for Tanev hardly played anyways, but it’s pretty impressive that he was one of the most impactful defences on the entire ice and he’s nowhere close to healthy.
Corsi Clown – Michael Stone (36.39%) hardly played at 5v5 and yet he was out there when the 4-3 goal got put in. Bad night for Stone who really never got enough ice to find any sort of rhythm. Probably not a good idea to roll with him so soon after you tie the game – that one is on the defence coach. Trevor Lewis (41.86%) and Dillon Dubé (44.83%) have been nothing similar to what they were in the first round and it’s hurting Calgary. Depth scoring with the big guys off the ice has been hard to come by all playoffs, Dubé needs to find a way to use his speed like the Oilers to create more significant scoring chances.
Taken By Chance – Again Chris Tanev (73.42 SCF% // 100 HDCF%) isn’t human he’s actually just a machine designed to play elite defence. If he’s healthy does anyone think that first power play goes in? I’m of the mindset probably not because Tanev would have been able to engage better physically. Is Stone (18.87% // 0%) even out there with Kylington (62.23% // 67.98%) late in the game if Chris is completely healthy – we’ll never know but I can say that I am of the opinion that would be doubtful.
xGF% – If any Flames fan has the spare part Chris Tanev (79.41 xGF%). With the lines being jumbled it means there’s not a bunch of consistency amongst linemates, but Johnny Gaudreau (47.21%) and Matthew Tkachuk (46.36%) were not on the positive side of the quality share. If the comeback is to even have a shred of hope these guys need to start contributing on the scoreboard nightly. Johnny needs to come back and dance around defenders like he did in Games 6 and 7 against Dallas. We’ve seen it before – now is the time to bring it. Harder in the corners, win more races to the puck to start, and then win those puck battles. Who cares if they are bigger – just give it everything you have every shift. Otherwise shine up the golf clubs.
Game Flow –
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It was a fairly solid effort from the Flames. Nobody can really say they didn’t show up to play. I’m gonna bark at Markstrom later in the goalie section but he did keep it close as they tried to crawl back into the game. Overall the had more possession and that’s always a good thing because it means McDavid has less time with the puck on his stick. Sutter seemed ready to fight in game 5 so lets see if they come to play.
Game Score – Chris Tanev (2.10 game // 0.87 average), I think I’ve mentioned him in the majority of sections now. He is a non-flashy game changer when he is healthy and everyone watching is witnessing that now. He hardly has a bad game and even when down and almost out he can step in and be their best defenceman. Sorry – best player in game 4 for them certainly. 12 out of 19 players finished with negative game scores – not ideal.
Shot Heatmap –
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Where are the Calgary Flames that actually drove the crease for shot attempts? The ones that made the other goaltending job a nightmare to accomplish every single period? The ones that knew when to take the easy dump-in and when to charge across the blueline for a rush chance? Put them on a milk carton – they’ve been missing for far too long in round 2.
In The Crease – No excuses left from me. That first goal can’t happen in a game you need your energy level up – that is a colossal mistake. The Flames recovered after that – the power play goal I hardly criticize because of McDavid, but Kane’s goal I got beef with too. It went off a stick sure – but it was from way out with no traffic. Look at the game flow chart above and see which direction all the momentum was heading in just before that Kane goal. 4 games of simply not good enough play from Markstrom after a first-round goalie duel for the ages. If he’s not at his absolute best next game Calgary is most likely done their season
No pressure.
Today’s Specials – A power play wash in terms of production, but a terrible waste of opportunity by the Flames. Evander Kane and Darnell Nurse handed you two power plays right while momentum was swinging in their favour, and they come up with diddly squat. One of those power plays they didn’t spend any time attacking and got no shots. They are constantly turning the puck over in the offensive zone on the cycle to the Oilers defenceman – there has to be a better way. Patience may be the key factor here as when the Flames stood still the Oilers collapsed in on Smith – maybe a little more confidence with the puck and someone creating some space could help too. Seemed awfully lacklustre for the situation at hand.
Player Spotlight – Oliver Kylington – Kylington has got to find a way to not be beat up the middle lane of the ice. The Oilers players need to be in front of him when defending the front of the net and in Edmonton they got behind him way too much. The 4-3 goal Nugent-Hopkins has clear positioning on him for the rebound, he can’t do anything about it because he was on the wrong side of his man. Game 3 one of Kane’s drives to the net he gives him the middle lane to try and defend McDavid going out wide – Kane walks in and scores. It’s resulting in tangible scoreboard results that are hurting the team. Other culprits are out there – I just truly believe Kylington has what it takes to be great and always being in the right spot defensively is a huge step towards that.
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Chris Tanev
2) Mikael Backlund
3) Chris Tanev
No typos
Plea: Please find a way to come back – Flames fans went through the ’80s not being able to say anything to Oilers fans (aside from 1986) and now here 31 years later it’s even worse. Just win game 5 – for your fanbases sanity. Give your fans a reason to say you either did it or make sure they have zero doubt you went out swinging.
The Flames will try and survive Thursday in Game 5 – Oilers lead the series 3-1.
(Stats compiled from Naturalstattrick.com // Game Score from Hockeystatcards.com)

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