Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames steal win from Arizona Coyotes to kick off homestand

Photo credit:Brett Holmes-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
5 months ago
A game that started out putting everyone asleep turned into a chippy, physical affair that saw the Calgary Flames beat the Arizona Coyotes for a 3-2 overtime win. Without Jacob Markstrom or Jonathan Huberdeau in the lineup the Flames rallied from a 2-0 deficit – almost immediately – and the game sparked alive. Players started getting aggressive trying to get into attacking lanes while defenders amped up their hitting presence. It became a really fun to watch ending that certainly entertained all who made the trek in snowy Calgary to see the red-hot Flames who are now 10-4-2 in their last 16 games.
CF% – 36.04%, SCF% – 35.33%, HDCF% – 24.92%, xGF% – 38.27%
It’s a Team Game – Calgary isn’t going to be talking about this win with too much pride. The result is more a wasted effort from a Coyotes team who played a decent road game – their start was atrocious – rather than a Flames team who snagged a rightful victory. The Coyotes used to be this automatic thought in one’s head that the game should end up a win, but this current version is way better than they have been and they’re only trending up. High danger chances in the last 40 minutes favoured Arizona 10-3 so props to Vladar and the post for keeping this a possibility. The Flames did show they still have that killer comeback instinct after having started so many of their recent games with an early lead.
Corsi King – Only one singular player finished above my personally established threshold of 47% – that’s just to adjust for low event guys too. Chris Tanev (49.32%) paced the Flames in what may have been their worst game all year at getting shot attempts. Defensively they still were able to limit them like a playoff team would, but they had a severe problem getting chances off. It’s not like the Coyotes have an all-star defence either so it happening to this extent does raise a few flags. If corrected in the next game though it just becomes another thing to not worry about – time moves fast in the NHL.
Corsi Clown – Nick DeSimone (15.22%) and Jordan Oesterle (25.91%) got absolutely run over tonight. Neither really looked strong to begin with and both kept making questionable decisions in their defensive zone. One such play Oesterle just gave up on a puck race because it went behind the net after the score became 2-2. It allowed a very easy possession gain from Arizona and led to the massive spike in shot pressure on the chart below. Dennis Gilbert can’t come back soon enough.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – 6 players failed to register any high danger chances at 5v5, two of which couldn’t handle the loss of Huberdeau (DNP) enough to do anything. Mind you replacing him with Dubé (0 SCF% // 0 HDCF%) was a good look at maybe seeing if there was anything still there, but as the numbers show Dillon did diddly squat. The healthy scratch from a week ago is closer to where his play has warranted a spot, not playing with your perceived number 1 centre. Although Lindholm (14.45% // 0%) has shown in every facet this season that without the right wingers he cannot carry a top line.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – Before I get to Hanifin (65.85%) I just want to acknowledge that Adam Ružička (0%) finished with what I call a no-event game. That is perfectly acceptable fourth line hockey. Don’t let anything bad happen while you are out there and any offence achieved is a bonus. People may want him to develop into something different but being a serviceable fourth line NHLer is no slouch. Okay, now the man who is allegedly – according to the Sportsnet intermission panel on a Flames-specific broadcast – close to being signed again. My thoughts are like this – it’s not terrible to slightly overpay a second pairing defenceman that can keep the needle pointed in a safe direction… so long as you don’t have any other contracts with massive amounts of squandered money on the books. Throw in that you are completely overpaying for UFA years because the market demands it and those extra dollars elsewhere on the roster matter more. I get why the Flames would bite on doing what it takes to keep Hanifin – I mean just look at their defensive prospect pool, it’s terrible – but they are also in a position to move forward and really build a strong foundation to compete in the future. Do the 2 playoff games this season really matter if you can get good enough to compete deep in the playoffs in 3-5 years? That’s the question Conroy has to answer, and it may be a different answer than the very online fans are clamouring for.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – The Coyotes had Vladar’s number a few times but could never get that extra one to sneak behind him. There were moments where Vladar had to be brilliant to keep the score close, my personal favourite being the extra pad stop after the Cooley stopped breakaway. Was it Jacob Markstrom level excellence? Not particularly. Is it fair at this point of his Calgary career to ever expect that? Also no. Good for Vladar to get the W, more than likely earned another start if Markstrom is going to miss Thursday. (Sorry Wolf crowd, they’re shooting for the playoffs not the development Olympics.)
P.S. I’m the Wolf crowd.
Today’s Specials – The power play does not get credit for Sharangovich’s overtime goal because it was so bad on all the 5v4s the 4v3 is washed. There was one power play stretch where the Flames kept trying to force it through the middle – where all 4 of the Coyotes defenders were – about 3 times in a row with absolutely nobody out wide on the wings. They could have waltzed in, established possession, and maybe have earned some more chances instead they spent 75 seconds trying to gain the offensive zone. I’m going to pull my hair out watching this version of this team try to do whatever it is they are trying to do – at least it is a better looking unit now than it was in October (you can thank Zary for that).
Player Spotlight – Martin Pospisil – Right as I’m in the middle of discussing who Pelletier should replace in the top 9 with my friends does Pospisil go and make the single best play of the night. A one hand pass right to Kadri’s tape in the crease after a burst of speed got him in down low and ahead of the defenders stick check. So easily I assume in my head he can be replaced, but then there are nights where I’m reminded – by his play – that the trio with him, Kadri, and Zary aren’t where they are without his contributions. I couldn’t begin to predict his long-term future – heck I can guarantee you not a soul had this man playing this many games in a Flames uniform, for his entire career let alone this season, before the puck dropped in October. What a play from the young man whose really shown what it means to make the most of your opportunity. A good example setter for other call-ups.
The Goals –
I love that they changed Coleman’s – the Texas Tiger – goal song to “Roar” by Katy Perry. Beautifully done.
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Noah Hanifin
2) Blake Coleman
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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