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Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames take advantage of Blackhawks team lacking identity

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Photo credit:Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
7 months ago
For a Chicago Blackhawks team that has struggled defensively the Calgary Flames were not able to get a large number of high danger chances. Neutral zone play and breaking out of their own zone are areas that Calgary has really shored up since the start of the second period against the ‘Yotes. They scored enough to win and had their goaltender make some key saves to get the victory – the division title is within grasp if they keep this up.
CF% – 58.01%, SCF% – 52.76%, HDCF% – 65.67%, xGF% – 62.99%
It’s a Team Game – The criticism above was the number of high danger chances, but all across the boards Calgary did better than the Blackhawks. Possession and even physicality was turned up to a level the Blackhawks don’t have the number of proper personnel for. Outside of their two big offensive weapons at forward in Debrincat and Kane the Hawks weren’t able to generate too much, let alone consistently. Calgary most certainly took advantage of a team they should have.
Corsi King – Nikita Zadorov (77.17 CF%) has a knack to have well played games against former teams of his. It’s a trend I’ve noticed, and I hope he can channel what he does in these games in the postseason. Calle Jarnkrok (64.42%) has been a spark plug since coming back from his illness. Darryl Sutter mentions that points are just numbers – it’s how you check that matters. Jarnkrok’s speed and defensive acumen lately have been top notch, the goals will naturally go in again – they almost always do.
Corsi Clown – The only player that has high enough numbers to qualify as “off” was Noah Hanifin (43.59%) – The other players below 50% all had numbers that can be described with the no-event hockey tag. The Flames’ fourth line may lose the Corsi or all situations scoring chance battle sometimes, but as long as they don’t let a high-quality look against them that is a win.
Taken By Chance – It should never come as a shock that the Flames line with the most number of high danger looks was the top trifecta. In fact the trifecta line of Johnny Gaudreau (75.65 SCF% // 76.02 HDCF%), Matthew Tkachuk (80.55% // 76.03%), and Elias Lindholm (76.80% // 71.74%) had double the amount of high danger looks than any individual Hawks player. Only players that looked to really struggle were Rasmus Andersson (40.79%//38.99%) and Noah Hanifin (38.28% // 30.03%).
xGF% – A line I think is crucial for Calgary to get going now before the Stanley Cup hunt begins is the Mangiapane (66.92 xGF%), Toffoli (64.64%) and Backlund (58.78%). The third line has been scoring a fair amount recently and the first line never stops. Having the second line going to makes it almost impossible for any team to match up on paper, especially if the Golden Knights fail to qualify.
Game Flow –
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Calgary did grab the 5v5 momentum for the match, but Chicago also never was able to muster up some good chances to try and get momentum back. Some not-so-great goals got in though which is odd – especially the low danger goal.
Game Score – Top spot – aided by the ENG – Oliver Kylington (3.75 this game // 0.94 average). His partner Chris Tanev (2.18 // 0.92) did not nab any points but his defensive play was once again spectacular. Johnny Gaudreau (3.30 // 1.90), Matthew Tkachuk (3.05 // 1.85), and Blake Coleman (2.46 // 0.76) all round out the top 5 performances.
Shot Heatmap –
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The classic heatmap where Calgary smothers the other goaltender with shots from the crease. Lankinen did better than the score suggests, but it was the team in front of him that really was the problem.
In The Crease – 1.25 expected gals are some of the lowest totals I’ve seen, but the three high danger chances he stopped were necessary for the victory. Final score may say 5-2 but in terms of 5v5 goals it was 3-2. A. 5v5 SV% of 0.913% with one medium danger and one low danger goal getting by him.
Today’s Specials – The power play may not have scored for the Flames but it did look sharp in its ability to get some chances. Fast, crisp puck movement but no goals to show for it. As for the PK it did not allow Chicago to even get a chance from below the hashmarks – solid stuff from them.
Player Spotlight – Oliver Kylington – Not even taking the goal he scored into the empty net and he was back to hot-streak prime levels again in this match. He’s been a bit off since coming back from injury so maybe a few games against some non-playoff teams can help him get back to being a guy with top 4 numbers.
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Oliver Kylington
2) Johnny Gaudreau
3) Blake Coleman
The Flames are right back at It against Nashville tonight at 6 p.m. MT.
(Stats compiled from Naturalstattrick.com // Game Score from Hockeystatcards.com)

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