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Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames run over Boston Bruins in dominant team victory

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Photo credit:Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
18 days ago
In an unexpected twist the new look Calgary Flames came out against the wagon that is the Boston Bruins – in their own house – and dominated the game. The Bruins themselves were uncharacteristically bad compared to their normal standard, but that does not discount the fact that the Flames were on them constantly. All four forward lines were able to find chances in a quick strike transition while keeping the Bruins out of their defensive zone for long stretches. The Flames are still going to go through some roster transition as the month goes on so the vibe meter has a chance to change on a day by day basis, after today: vibes are immaculate.
CF% – 61.9%, SCF% – 63.08%, HDCF% – 56.14%, xGF% – 66.85%
It’s a Team Game – Thank you to the Fan 960 and Meaghan Mikkelson who pointed out pre-game that the Bruins had only allowed 3 goals in the first 5 minutes of a game all season – Calgary was at 16. So when Kuzmenko found the back of the twine 4:20 into the game it really signified the Bruins weren’t themselves. Everything about that goal sparked something in the Flames who continued to be fun and creative in their attack all night long. Aided in part by their power play (which looked way better) and their penalty kill (the Roon Dawg – Kevin Rooney – was an admirable Lindholm replacement) the Flames showed the league to not let them be an afterthought on the upcoming schedule.
Corsi King – Noah Hanifin (73.66%) always seems to elevate his play when back playing in his home area. He had one sequence outside of his goal that stood out – he made an aggressive move to drive the center lane in the attacking zone. He manoeuvred around a number of players before losing the puck just before taking a chance. That was Hanifin at his peak – using his vision to find lanes and then attacking them to try and spark offence. Andrew Mangiapane (72.55%) should never be pried away from the MBC line again. They won’t ever go a point-per-game as a line but they will also never be pushed around by any combination of players they face.
Corsi Clown – It is very rare nobody finishes below 50%, but that is what happened. Even more rare when that incident occurs against a top 5 team in the NHL. Top level play from the Flames.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – The only complaint I have actually comes from one of the new guys in Brayden Pachal (46.72 SCF% // 0 HDCF%). Loved his physicality and he makes a lot of the simple plays well, but a couple times he completely yard-saled the puck right in front of his own goaltender. He and Kylington (56.51% // 0%) were the only ones that played the full match to not register at least 1 high danger chance. Game one with a new team is hardly enough to get overly critical though it is worth mentioning how it went. On the other side of things Andrei Kuzmenko (65.205 // 100%) was the only Flame to not see a high danger chance against at 5v5.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – Every single line had their positives to it with Hanifin (83.55%) leading the team. Let’s have a touch-in on the new guys. Pelletier (62.36%) got all that extra ice time after Pospisil (59.33%) was removed from the game, he absolutely crushed it. Kevin Rooney (50.42%) didn’t knock anybody’s socks off, but as I alluded to earlier was a welcome addition on the penalty kill. Brayden Pachal (52.34%) was a nice physical presence on the back end. Then there was Kuzmenko (66.52%) who is most certainly NOT Elias Lindholm. Kuzmenko was doing all sorts of creative things to get chances in tight in his minutes aided by his new partner Jonathan Huberdeau (59.72%). There was a ton of pre-game talk about how this line would fare with Sharangovich (61.73%) in the middle – Pinder described it as all gas, no brakes – but they did nothing close to sinking and instead swam rather well. It won’t be a one and done experiment, they have earned more runway together to see what happens.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – Oh I forgot to mention in all of this the Vezina candidate goaltender who pitched a 5v5 shutout. Only goal that beat Markstrom came on a 5-on-3, but he was not tested in a difficult manner outside of that. Calgary controlled the puck for most of the match giving him a nice game to ease back in after the break. He certainly out-duelled the All-Star at the other end of the rink (even though he deserved to be one himself). Hey at least those of us fans in and around Calgary had Tate McRae there to represent the Flames. 1.04 expected goals against with 0 5v5 goals allowed.
Player Spotlight – Jakob Pelletier – I’m nowhere near the team and even I feel the infectious positivity Pelletier brings to this roster. Pelletier is one of the smartest and hardest working players in the Flames system. He will not spend long outside the Flames top 9 because nobody will ever be able to outwork him. Tuesday even – in his first game back – one where he was to be eased back into NHL action he was thrust into an increased an irregular role after Pospisil was ejected. Did not faze him one bit. The puck pursuit, the intelligent approach to corner battles for the puck, and the sheer speed he can transition the puck on a turnover are all assets that are going to make him a very important Flame for a long time.
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Noah Hanifin
2) Jonathan Huberdeau
3) Nazem Kadri
(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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