Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames top line crucial as team extends win streak to 8 games

Photo credit:Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
2 years ago
Calgary may have taken control in the second period on the scoreboard, but the Ducks were able to provide a decent pushback until then. Honestly, the Ducks pushed Calgary pretty good in the first as they capitalized on power play momentum to help keep up their attack. It was all for not because the Flames still left the first with the lead on their way to another impressive team performance.
CF% – 63.28%, SCF% – 63.49%, HDCF% – 50.76%, xGF% – 60.78%
It’s a Team Game – The Ducks actually escaped the first period with better numbers. They had a really strong transition game tonight which didn’t allow Calgary to get extended possession in the offensive zone. The Flames would still get their chances, but Anaheim was picking up rebounds and skating them all the way to the Flames end. Eventually Anaheim’s lackadaisical defence cost them, but they have a very skilled group of forwards there – I’d watch out for them going forward.
Corsi King – This was a tight race for top honours tonight. Overall percentage wise it was Trevor Lewis (76.97 CF%) coming away on top with young Adam Ružička (76.60%) just behind him. Let’s make on thing perfectly clear – Adam Ružička has more than played well enough to stay in Calgary. I would go as far as to say unless he starts stringing together multiple bad impact games he should get used to the city. So far he’s had way more positive nights than duds.
Corsi Clown – Believe it or not the line that gave the Flames the most grief was matched up against Andrew Mangiapane (45.08%) and Mikael Backlund (45.22%). In a sense anyways – we’ll see in xG who let the more dangerous chances get by them. No this is just overall shot attempts that hit, missed, or were blocked – no danger classification yet.
Taken By Chance – Two high danger chances against while seeing none for – Erik Gudbranson (43.76 SCF% // 0 HDCF%) had trouble with the Ducks forwards tonight. He’s been quite solid for Calgary through this streak he just had trouble helping create offence. That’s on one side of the coin, the other saw Noah Hanifin (76.46% // 67.26%) and Rasmus Andersson (74.25% // 60.80%) push play and help in the dominant third period that sealed the game. Rasmus Andersson had to go some shifts without his partner tonight and never faltered. The top line all had 100% high danger ratios as well – pretty standard for them.
xGF% – Adam Ružička (95.44 xGF%) is getting favorable zone starts, but 5v5 the Flames tend to roll their lines and he isn’t getting as sheltered from solid competition as some may think. He played similar 5v5 TOI to the Flames third line and thrived. Johnny Gaudreau (83.69%) had two assists in 41 seconds as he continues to be a complete wizard. I said i’d touch on a line that struggled and it was Dubé – Monahan – Toffoli all finishing below 40%. Only just the three guys second time playing together so we’ll just point that out and move on – revisit it if it ever lasts over a stretch of games.
Game Flow –
Starting any game out with 6 minutes of penalty killing will make you feel like you’re chasing from the start. Even when it was 4-1 it still felt like the Flames needed to catch up, but the penalties never stopped coming for either side. Ducks did have a strong NZ transition which helped them temper the Flames for a bit, but Calgary never quits till the final horn sounds and teams are finding that out in harsh ways lately.
Game Score – Best score from any player on the night (at the time of me gathering stats – Makar could have passed him) Rasmus Andersson (4.54 game // 1.01 average) led the way. Others above 2.00 were Gaudreau (3.16 // 1.81), Matthew Tkachuk (2.59 // 1.69), and Elias Lindholm (2.90 // 1.45). Can Johnny hit 2.00 as his average game score this season? Doubtful but I’m rooting for him.
Shot Heatmap –
Calgary didn’t quite get as much volume from in and around the net as they usually do so credit to the Ducks for that. They also prioritized getting into Calgary’s crease heavily too. Anaheim tried to play Calgary’s game against Calgary and unfortunately for them they found out the Flames are damn good at it. Also of note – Flames have had severe shooting percentage luck of late – don’t get too upset if it disappears for a couple games going forward.
In The Crease – Markstrom had a lot of PK duties to fight off in this one – Referees liked the sound of the whistle. Only 18 5v5 shots against, 1.40 expected goals against with just one high danger chance beating him. An overall 5v5 SV% of 0.944%. He made some great saves off of transitional play as the Ducks tended to enter the zone with horizontal puck movement and tried to use their skilled shots to find goals. Not as successful tonight against Markstrom.
Today’s Specials – How can I not talk about special teams they were 1/3 of the overall game. Flames power play struck twice but gave up a shorty. Penalty Kill remained a beacon of strength. The first unit was slinging the puck around nicely to start their power plays but became more stationary later. If someone doesn’t move or charge the middle from the halfwall the power play will stall out.
Player Spotlight – Matthew Tkachuk – Did you know he’s on pace to get 94 points this season? He’s very much an integral part to this overall team’s success. He’s going to collect a paycheque this summer, it’s going to be hefty, and he’s going to have earned it. No more questions from me on him for a long time – Tkachuk has officially silenced last year and is moving forward as an elite play driving winger.
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –  
1) Rasmus Andersson
2) Elias Lindholm
3) Johnny Gaudreau
The Flames welcome back former captain Mark Giordano Saturday night as the Flames host the Seattle Kraken.
(Stats compiled from Naturalstattrick.com // Game Score from Hockeystatcards.com)


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