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Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames use strong performance from Markstrom to help steal two points from Florida

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
6 months ago
Get in, buckle up, hold on, and hope it all goes your way. The Calgary Flames used that strategy to the best of their ability as the Florida Panthers came to town and spent a bunch of time skating in circles around the Flames offensive zone. The Panthers hardly mustered up much in terms of dangerous chances though as the Flames players really committed to playing a team first game – blocking shots, aggressive checking – to help aid their goaltender. In classic home game fashion, they turned things around and played a more impressive third period on their way to the victory. Stick taps to Jacob Markstrom for one of his best games of the season.
CF% – 38.32%, SCF% – 39.54%, HDCF% – 56.41%, xGF% – 38.84%
It’s a Team Game – In my mind that was a good playoff-style win. Give the team the outside of the attacking zone all day but do everything you have to protect the middle of the ice. This game also featured a higher number of penalties than the average game, as well as only 40:42 played at 5v5 when most games usually hit 48+. If it really was the playoffs, you are beyond stoked this was the outcome – if you are in the regular season, you get happy you got the win, but look across the ice and wonder what it’s going to take to get as good a team as the Panthers. Maybe getting rid of taxes and gaining permanent suntan temperatures would work – we’ll get the Flames brass on that.
Corsi King – The sheer ability to put anybody that finished positively here floored me from the second I opened up NaturalStatTrick.com – Martin Pospisil (56.73%) and his linemates were the only ones to not lose the shot attempt battle with the Panthers 5v5. The rest of the team went either shot-for-shot or were worse. Noah Hanifin (51.51%) was the lone defenceman north of the mark too. Florida really aggressively won on shot attempts, but the Flames took the battles that mattered most.
Corsi Clown – Adam Ruzicka (0%) did not register a single shot attempt for while 12 went against him. In the roughly one minute and twenty seconds his linemates played without him they achieved two attempts for. Truly may have just played the worst game of his NHL career – so there is nowhere to go but up. Elias Lindholm (27.04%) continues a long run of play where he can’t propel his line to a positive shot share. A true number 1 would be able to do it at least periodically – even Lindholm’s positive games of late see him on the losing side here. Its getting concerning.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – The public can take their pick for king of the high danger chance ratios – is it Noah Hanifin (67.83 SCF% // 100 HDCF%) who didn’t see a high danger chance against or Jonathan Huberdeau (49.18% // 73.74%) who had the most involvement in high danger looks on aggregate. Outside of the bottom line and Rasmus Andersson (24.13% // 27.08%) the rest of the team put up incredible high danger numbers for the amount of shots faced. Now remember none of what I’m currently looking at counts 4v4 or any other form of special teams, so if you remember seeing something that contradicts that information remember what the game situation was.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – Expected goals comes through as cumulative quality, so it does not always reflect properly what happened in a game. Games like this one where the other team takes a bunch of chances that aren’t dangerous that’s when their cumulative total can become higher than the other team getting one serious good look. For example, 5 chances worth 0.2 is worth a total of 1.0 – the other side could get 1 chance worth 0.6 and still finish with an xG% of below 50% (0.6/1.6 = 37.5% while 1.0/1.6 = 62.5%). For those people that are saying “I was told there would be no math” the translation is: this stat can be deceiving sometimes. So by using those parameters to say guys like Sharangovich (46.73%) and even Huberdeau (34.69%) could have had good games then Hanifin (79.90%), Kadri (76.18%), Pospisil (73.75%), and Zary (72.07%) didn’t just have a good game, they had an excellent one.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – You will never finish with a top 5 pick if Jacob Markstrom is patrolling your crease – he is too good and his mojo is back baby. Coming off an injury that had him out around 2 weeks and being able to put up that performance is exceptional. A 5v5 shutout where he stopped a full 2.00 expected goals against on 22 shots. He certainly found ways to steal this game directly from the Panthers who peppered him with all sorts of attempts.
Today’s Specials – There isn’t much analysis ever needed here because simple statistics sum it up pretty easily. Over the gauntlet run against the league’s best/top teams the Flames scored more shorthanded goals than they did power play goals. If they could muster even a shred of a competent power play on a nightly basis we wouldn’t just be discussing a wild card birth with this team, they would certainly have pushed themselves into a fight for divisional slot number 3.
Player Spotlight – Chris Tanev – This man just missed time with an injury and comes back in to block a career-high 10 shots. He does all of this while playing elite defensive coverage and being one of the best dump-in retrieval guys in the league. He is everything a coach could ever want in a defenceman, if they could create the perfect playoff second pair defenceman in a lab it would come out as an exact clone of Chris Tanev. He probably will never be worth as much as his full value on the trade market so of all the remaining UFAs I wouldn’t cry over keeping it would be him. He is an absolute warrior.
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Jacob Markstrom
2) Martin Pospisil
3) Noah Hanifin
(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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