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Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames see almost every defensive mishap end up in their net against Detroit

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Photo credit:Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
6 months ago
The Calgary Flames found themselves trailing early after Alex Debrincat scored to put them on their heels and despite the final score they responded quite well. They continually got to dangerous areas of the ice for chances, kept the Detroit Red Wings largely to the perimeter, and even scored what felt like a momentum shifting goal to end the second period. Not enough key saves mixed with a few missed assignments and instead of going home happy the Flames will arrive with a 2-3-1 record.
CF% – 53.43%, SCF% – 51.04%, HDCF% – 68.56%, xGF% – 62.34%
It’s a Team Game – As much as people want to look at the final score and jump to a conclusion that the Flames “suck,” that would be a way too early over-correction to a short-term result. Keep your heads on – the sky won’t fall forever chicken little. In fact if this game is simulated 100 times with these team metrics I would wager on the Flames coming out ahead more than the Red Wings. True shooting talent in the form of Alex Debrincat really destroyed them – more than the goaltending (which was not good) or the team play in front of the goalie (which was quite good). The metrics could have been even more skewed, but the Flames trailing off in the last 10 minutes of a blowout to end a 5-game road trip is completely understandable.
Corsi King – Andrew Mangiapane (71.80%) was back with some old friends, much to my surprise. With Mikael Backlund (68.38%) as your center you can always find yourself on the right side of pursuing the puck as a winger, you can trust he’s going to be back in the right spot defensively to handle any possible breakdowns. MacKenzie Weegar (68.37%) also was on the positive side of the shot share. Most of the Flames fell below the line, but when we get to quality of opportunities, we can see why that wasn’t so bad.
Corsi Clown – Matt Coronato (41.57%) may seem like he was on the low end but the number of attempts for and against were marginal (6 for – 7 against). Smaller amounts make for more volatile percentages. Noah Hanifin (42.62%) is a better pick, who still didn’t play bad, as he was on for 16 for and 18 against. Raw numbers matter in terms of percentages in one-ff evaluations. You can identify struggles within a player in a singular game, but the actual real evaluation needs to be done based on a summary of overarching work.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – You know who did not surrender a high danger 5v5 chance? Elias Lindholm (31.15 SCF% // 100 HDCF%) and his young wingers. They did not dominate in the all-situations chance category, but they played strong enough defensively in their zone to not allow the Red Wings a good look. They themselves only generated one high danger chance – it was also the first time the trio had ever played together so they get a pass on that. The real problem with chemistry and Kadri (44.71% // 55.15%) was not how he played with Ružička (37.42% // 100%), rather the amount given up when playing with Dubé (44.71% // 55.15%) – at least in my opinion. When I saw the new lines I was confused as to why they were still together, but I just do not see what the coaching staff sees. The line of Kadri, Dubé, and Huberdeau (44.71% // 55.15%) saw 4 high danger chances against while generating 5 – the problem is they got scored on even when they weren’t giving up high danger looks. It was a real problem.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – Andrew Mangiapane (84.47%) isn’t having any early season issues finding chemistry with anyone like he did last season. Of course, he has always had a prime-time ethereal connection with Backlund (78.78%). On defence the trickle-down effect of Rasmus Andersson (SUSP) not being in the lineup saw Oesterle (65.22%) enter the lineup – he did an okay job in his home state. Dennis Gilbert (41.49%) did not though – both are capable fill-in players but neither come with a high enough ceiling to be a real difference maker. Some fans were preaching for Jérémie Poirier, be patient and let him cook in the AHL for now… his time will come.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – 1.34 expected goals against at 5v5 with one high danger, four medium danger, and one low danger goal getting behind Dan Vladar. Debrincat’s first goal is a blown defensive assignment, Larkin’s and Debrincat’s second came off terribly defended rushes, and the Veleno goal came off a deflection. I can accept those. Walman’s point shot and Debrincat’s third goal where he just snipes it need to be saved. One of those off the rush would have been nice to have your goaltender snag too. Not every defensive breakdown can end up in the back of your net and that happened to the Flames and Vladar Sunday afternoon.
Player Spotlight – Yegor Sharangovich – Use that shot more! The dangerous are for Sharangovich to shoot from extends out farther than others because of how hard he can release the puck. There were a couple instances where he got it off and every game Yegor finds more space to utilize it. Ever since being put with Duehr and Greer he’s found a nice comfortable place to start his Flames career. The top line may be too much for him but settling into the middle 6 at some point this season is not off the table.
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Andrew Mangiapane
2) MacKenzie Weegar
3) Elias Lindholm
(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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