Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames trail off after great start against the New Jersey Devils

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
6 months ago
The New Jersey Devils came into Calgary and flipped the season script on the Calgary Flames – coming from behind to take the victory on Saturday afternoon. Usually, it is the Flames that find themselves behind to start and they spend most of the game getting better before crawling back into it. This game they got progressively worse as transitioning the puck out of the Flames zone seemed to become a daunting task. The third period pushback was not what it has been in recent weeks as the fresh, high-octane Devils prove too much for Calgary.
CF% – 49.84%, SCF% – 48.95%, HDCF% – 45.89%, xGF% – 46.14%
It’s a Team Game – I always tell myself the positive in the Flames losing this year vs last year is that at least this season they’re losing while attempting to get dangerous shots. They just need more guys that can turn those chances into goals – at a significantly higher percentage than they get now. Matt Coronato ripped a beautiful shot off the post, but the amount of over-passing done down low is ruining their opportunities for good goals with rebounds. Sometimes it feels like they need the perfect angle before they can shoot – and this is pretty much everybody not any singular player. If the opportunity for a shot down the middle is there – with little to no resistance – take the darned shot.
Corsi King – Noah Hanifin (63.86%) led the way here for the Flames while logging over 20 minutes of 5v5 ice time. Partner Chris Tanev (57.24%) ate up 17:46, that’s a lot of minutes needing to be replaced on the blueline if those guys leave. They aren’t perfect every game – nobody is – but they provide solid minutes for this team as they are trying to compete. The skill to be a scoring fourth line is there, yet most nights somebody on that line is a passenger – not usually Greer (58.98%). Sidenote on Greer – he already is one of my favourite waiver claims in team history. Guy has immersed himself in the locker room and quickly become a quality teammate. He’s functional snarl on your roster – fills a good niche role.
Corsi Clown – Matt Coronato (33.55%) gets back in and gets stuck in his zone. He wasn’t as fast as the rest of the guys by my eyes, but it wasn’t egregious or anything. Ilya Solovyov (38.06%) and Connor Zary (38.60%) were down on their shot attempt ratios too. If it’s going to appear like this – where all the kids are near the bottom and struggled to generate shots – I’d much rather see that against a quality team like the Devils than some tanking team like the Sharks or Blackhawks. These guys got some great experience against a playoff tested hockey club trying to crawl back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – We got a couple of no high danger performances out of some guys that don’t normally play no-event hockey. Elias Lindholm (39.91 SCF% // NA HDCF%) and Andrew Mangiapane (52.80% // NA) did not generate a high danger chance, nor did they give one up. Usually when I see that it’s from a fourth line that played great defence first hockey, not really a positive when it’s your top line that’s supposed to help create goals. Mangiapane doesn’t look like himself of late, he’s having trouble keeping possession on zone entries and isn’t getting the puck touches he usually gets around the net. The gauntlet schedule started off great but the Flames have been stalling out of late throughout the lineup.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – Adam Ružička (17.41%) and Dillon Dubé (18.19%) are simply lost right now. They can’t string together more than maybe 2 positive shifts before they get stuck in their own zone with no way out. They had been taking turns on who is getting benched a well. I felt in the first period they had a good start but after that it was messy passing and bad clearing attempts. On the positive side of things Yegor Sharangovich (75.39%) stood above everybody as the standout in this match. I’m sure the added motivation to show the team that traded you they made aa mistake is a big one, but I don’t think the Devils are regretting that deal just yet. Backlund (53.78%) and Huberdeau (53.43%) had a decent game as well, though Huberdeau missing that glaring open net might haunt him for a little bit. He’s maintained his physicality increase throughout the week, using his size a bit more effectively. If It gets him even more engaged in the game then never quit!
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – Dustin Wolf didn’t have a great day – it wasn’t necessarily a bad day, but it certainly can’t be classified as good. The third goal comes off a giveaway from his own stick so he’s got to wear that one. He doesn’t ever look rattled or out of place though no matter what kind of goal goes past him so my confidence in him to bounce back is high. 3 goals against on 1.82 expected goals against (5v5), with 2 of them being high danger opportunities.
Today’s Specials – There wasn’t a real powerplay for me to complain about so in that sense the powerplay did good. The power-kill ability of Yegor Sharangovich has been on display of recent weeks. He and Blake Coleman have made another formidable shorthanded unit on par with Backlund and Lindholm. That’s needed because like I was concerned for the defence if Hanifin and Tanev go, the PK wasn’t going to be the same with Mangiapane killing next to Backlund. Having Sharangovich-Coleman thrive right away in that capacity is a good sign.
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –  
1) Yegor Sharangovich
2) Jonathan Huberdeau
3) Rasmus Andersson 
(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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