Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames show they can keep up with Avalanche despite falling short

Photo credit:Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
6 months ago
The Calgary Flames were never going to capture every game of the gauntlet they are on, that method of thinking would be naive. They did, however, give an impressive showing against one of the league’s top teams, the Colorado Avalanche. The difference boiled down to a couple bad goals against, but this year’s version of the Flames kept to their modus operandi and fought like hell to try and crawl back into it. Long stretches of the game were controlled by the Flames showing that they can run with the big boys, they just don’t have the goal scoring to recover from some unfortunate goals against.
CF% – 50.58%, SCF% – 53.83%, HDCF% – 47.47%, xGF% – 48.01%
It’s a Team Game – The first period was pretty bad. The Avalanche looked like they were on their way to a massive victory and there would be nothing the Flames could do to stop them. Then, the turnaround that saw them crawl back to within one – albeit for a very brief amount of time. We’ve got more than enough sample to state with confidence that – despite nobody playing at a truly elite level – at least the whole team has that dawg in them. I’ve been absolutely thrilled more often than not lately because I get to watch a team that puts everything, they got on the line to win 9 times out of 10. They won’t always get the result they want, but as long as they try it’s an easier pill to swallow.
Corsi King – Connor Zary (61.55%) only played 8:43 and had no defensive zone starts. It’s a good way to manage him at 5v5 by putting him in spots to let his offence try and shine. Him not getting defensive zone starts does take away possible ice time where he could generate more offence in transition, but it’s only game 11. That will come. Chris Tanev (58.09%) led the Flames defence here – he’s quite good at making sure the puck doesn’t stay in his end too long.
Corsi Clown – Jonathan Huberdeau (22.04%) really spent most of the night in his own zone struggling to get out. He flashed his offensive skill – it’s still there – on the goal leaving a horizontal drop pass across the low slot for Backlund to whack home. Caught the other netminder going the opposite direction. Outside the first period where everyone was sleeping the whole team picked up the pace going forward.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – For the second game in a row Elias Lindholm (55.55 SCF% // 66.98 HDCF%) and his line worked out. Positive side of the puck, generating good looks, and doing it with consistency. They aren’t running perfect or anything, but they’re providing positive value. Rasmus Andersson (54.52% // 45.44%) was out for both he most high danger chance for as well as the most against. Against the Avalanche your number 1 defenceman performing like this at 5v5 is more than respectable. On the power play is where these guys are losing a lot of lustre.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – Dennis Gilbert (71.92%) comes to work, keeps his play simple, limits mistakes and does a fine job doing it. Chris Tanev (69.62%) does the same thing just against a higher level of competition and more important game situations. Andrew Mangiapane (59.26%) and his play continue to be on the positive side of things. Even on nights he doesn’t find the scoresheet he still spends most of the night attacking more than defending.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – Some may give Vladar a bit of a break on the second goal as Flames defenceman Nikita Zadorov was caught with his feet not moving at his own blueline and gave Johansen the rush, but Vladar over-commits to the pump fake and completely sells out the far side of his net. To me it felt too much – and the back breaker came from distance immediately after finding life. Bad timing, bad goals, bad night for Dan Vladar.
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Chris Tanev
2) Elias Lindholm
3) Connor Zary
(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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