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Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames saunter into deadline day with low event loss to the Leafs

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
18 days ago
It wasn’t an extremely high event game by any means, but it was a close affair between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Calgary Flames. By the end everything from total shot attempts to high danger chances were fairly even between the two clubs. 5v5 the Leafs did shut out the Flames – keeping things in front of netminder Joseph Woll quite clean in the final frame of action. The Flames did control the game to start, but the Leafs never gave up and got a gritty whack-in goal to make the difference.
CF% – 52.6%, SCF% – 47.97%, HDCF% – 53.12%, xGF% – 48.77%
It’s a Team Game – I’ve got no real complaints about the performance of the team. It was a back-and-forth game that happened at a slower pace than many are used to seeing. The Flames do that by making sure they maintain long stretches of possession limiting the other team on how long they can attack for. While they have possession they try and find good passing angles for high danger chances, but Calgary can maintain a zone cycle as good as any team in the league even if they can’t find a good shot. All that time holding the puck takes it out of the Leafs high skill guys hands – even then Mitch Marner found ways to constantly dance around Calgary Flames for great scoring looks. They did an adequate job at keeping the goals and chances against down – tonight’s key factor was lack of execution.
Corsi King – Tyler Toffoli (78.65%) seeing under 5 shot attempts come against him all night is fantastic. Dubé (71.40%) and Lindholm (69.72%) were right there behind him as these three constantly outmatched their opposition on a shift-by-shift basis. They finished with no 5v5 goals for and none against. MacKenzie Weegar (69.50%) and Rasmus Andersson (69.25%) are a pair that is generating a lot of dangerous opportunities in the offensive zone. If they can become an above average offensive creation D pair the Flames can get a big help in improving their scoring woes.
Corsi Clown – After some games where everyone finished close to equal or above tonight some lines got hemmed in on occasion. Duehr (32.13%) and Gilbert (35.39%) were the only two guys below 40%. Not to single them out Lucic (40.02%), Lewis (44.83%), Hanifin (41.75%), and Tanev (44.01%) also finished on the wrong side of chances. When great players are on the ice someone’s going to be the victim of the Leafs constant high-end offence – tonight that unfortunate pair was Hanifin and Tanev. That’s not a reflection on their ability in a one game situation more or less just an unfortunate event.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – I don’t really know how the Flames fourth line escaped any high danger chances against them when visually I saw them get hemmed in their own zone and commit multiple turnovers. They were the victim of the Marner goal when he danced through everyone like butter, but the location matters to the model. Medium danger chances aren’t crap and this would be at the top end of that scale. Regardless, just because they didn’t allow one against does not mean they played well tonight – another reason to point out why watching for analysis is so important. These reviews are about combining the two worlds and using them to analyze in an effective, more informed manner. I guess I better name some players with some stats – here’s Weegar (64.85 SCF% // 81.67 HDCF%) and Lindholm (57.14% // 65.18%). I’ll throw in Kadri (48.08% // 36.26%) too. Linemates of all the players finished in similar ranges.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – Not to duck talking about it, but Huberdeau (29.18%), Pelletier (27.38%), and Kadri (26.55%) failed to generate very much. Pelletier’s speed still stood out and he made many great plays to keep the puck from breaking out of the zone, but nobody could ever aid him in his puck recovery. Unfortunately, in this game it didn’t turn into a bunch of high-end scoring chances. Nobody in this league goes 82 for 82 when it comes to good games played, going to have a dud every now and then. Since Pelletier has been put there the line has never looked as good and the Flames top nine hasn’t played better – seriously with an improvement in the team save percentage by as low as 0.005% the Flames are comfortably in the wild card race.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
I got it this time, folks!
In The Crease – Nothing but positives for me to Markstrom tonight. If we isolate to this single game, we can applaud Markstrom for his just 2 goals against on 2.56 expected. That comes with a 5v5 SV% of 0.929. That’s the Markstrom from the regular season last year that ended up a Vezina finalist. He’s still in there but if the Flames as a team want to salvage hope he needs to channel that every single game for the next 20 games. No nights off – for any reason. Very tough mental challenge for a goaltender already struggling through a difficult season.
Player Spotlight – Blake Coleman – The man they call Pickles was all over the offensive zone creating possible chances all night long. The puck seemed to gravitate to wherever he was – including having the puck redirect off his shinpad for an aggressive post. He has played some fantastic and consistent hockey and is one of the most reliable players I have ever seen put on a Flames sweater. He often doesn’t get the credit from his lines success like Backlund and Mangiapane do, but he does have two Stanley Cup rings to comfort himself if that ever gets to him.
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
 1) Blake Coleman
2) MacKenzie Weegar
3) Tyler Toffoli
(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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