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Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames take care of needed business with shutout in Anaheim

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Photo credit:Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
5 months ago
The Calgary Flames took control of the game in the first period and never looked back. They had long stretches of extended possession and displayed a great ability to run down loose pucks against the Anaheim Ducks. Calgary was aided by a bunch of power plays – one which they actually found a goal on – in this dominant match. The Ducks themselves did not bring much of a challenge as they were disconnected and struggled to maintain much in terms of an attack outside of their own powerplay opportunities. This was a game where the Flames needed to show they wouldn’t play down to their opponent if they were serious about competing for a playoff spot – they passed with flying colours.
CF% – 51.63%, SCF% – 45.05%, HDCF% – 60.36%, xGF% – 58.68%
It’s a Team Game – There was a 5v5 lapse amongst all the special teams in the Flames’ second period, but they did start by spending the entire first period preventing the Ducks from getting any high danger chances. Calgary’s defensive zone coverage has gotten better as the entire group has gotten used to how to manoeuvre to keep from any dangerous passing/skating lanes opening up. Not every line succeeds at a rate they should, but for the most part the Flames get more than enough time attacking to at least keep games close.
Corsi King – Martin Pospisil (69.41%) was on my mind today when I saw on MoneyPuck.com that he along with Nazem Kadri (44.20%) and Connor Zary (47.38%) form one of the best 10 forward line combinations in the league. What they have accomplished together in an instantaneous fashion is nothing short of extraordinary. Zary himself looks like a seasoned veteran who never panics and isn’t scared to try something creative or different to get some offence. Adam Ružička (68.91%) played a very limited 5v5 role with a decent number of power play minutes. 8 shot attempts in under 4 minutes means whenever he got out there at 5v5 he was attacking – the defensive zone trust does not seem to be there for the coach anymore.
Corsi Clown – Yegor Sharangovich (18.02%) and his line had a brutal night. It’s amazing that everyone is going to praise Lindholm (24.77%) because he finally put up some tangible points, but he spent the rest of the night outside of those three instances massively being a detriment to the success of his club. If he can’t win a shot attempt matchup with the Ducks top players, how is he going to eventually be able to do it regularly against far more well-structured teams? It wasn’t as all rainbows as the Boxscore would have you believe.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – At 5v5 Kadri (33.54 SCF% // NA HDCF%) and the kids went with a no high-event game. You have to remember DeSimone’s (56.85% // 73.05%) goal wasn’t exactly from a dangerous area. Andrew Mangiapane (0% // 0%) and Yegor Sharangovich (0% // 0%) didn’t register a single scoring chance in over 11 minutes of 5v5 play. If the Ducks were remotely competent this could have been a disaster game for the Flames. That and not getting so many power plays that kill the Ducks momentum. It’s time for the Flames “top” line to be split up – a certain number 10 needs an offensive spark, again.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – I just have to mention it because it being so low is a shock to me – Yegor Sharangovich (2.56%) with an all-time low score. On the flip side Mikael Backlund (84.57%) and Blake Coleman (82.84%) were there usual self. Not too dominant and crazy sound defensively. Huberdeau (78.03%) looked better than he has in weeks, but he doesn’t ever get anyone on the rush to help him right now. I wonder if him and Pospisil (80.69%) could work – Pospisil has the speed some of Huberdeau’s other linemates haven’t had of late. Every week though it just feels like grasping for something new to make this work – they’ve got lots of time left to try every single combination though.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – Markstrom earned the shutout in this one making 24 saves at 5v5 with 5 of them being high danger. It was only 1.46 expected goals against as the Flames locked up the middle of the ice quite well. There were times when he may have got bored – particularly the long special teams stretch in the latter half of the second period. Jacob Markstrom has been fantastic in two starts back from injury and may just look the best he has since he’s signed here.
Today’s Specials – Connor Zary is a great example of a player to watch to see how to find some success on the modern day power play. Even after he makes a pass he stays in motion making it harder for the defenders to intercept or anticipate passes. If they could get their defenceman and bumper position players to do the same that can leave the far side player to be stationary for a better – more powerful – shot. I don’t normally talk about the penalty kill but it is super aggressive and the personnel the Flames use on it all have found great offensive success at a disadvantage. Sharangovich had a breakaway in this one – it just never stops.
Player Spotlight – Nick DeSimone – Never give up on your dreams. DeSimone’s story is one of perseverance and determination mixed with his ability to impress once he got his long-awaited chance in the show. With the possible turnover on the Flames defence, they need players to step up and show they can play and the Flames trust DeSimone enough to let his waiver-free eligibility expire. It was fitting he was surrounded by fellow Wranglers on ice after he finally got his first career goal at age 29. Congratulations DeSimone, I’ve enjoyed watching you play so far.
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Jacob Markstrom
2) Nick DeSimone
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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