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Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames victorious in third round of Battle of Alberta

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Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
1 month ago
The Flames came out swinging with a hot start that left the Oilers chasing all night long. There were scrums, scraps, and fisticuffs in what felt like the first revival of a hatred that disappeared when Matthew Tkachuk and Zach Kassian left their respective former teams. The crowd in Edmonton was loving the content on the ice despite their team losing 6-3 – the entertainment value of this one was extremely high. The playoffs – even with pieces moving – are still enough to drive the locker room to show up every night for Calgary.
CF% – 42.54%, SCF% – 38.76%, HDCF% – 38.31%, xGF% – 46.06%
It’s a Team Game – The Flames really only had a good start to the game. 16 minutes in I sent a tweet about how the Flames were playing some of the most impressive hockey I’d seen them play – especially in the offensive zone. It was extremely premature as the last 4 minutes of first and the first 10 minutes of the second the Oilers turned their game up and stopped playing like a bunch of statues in their defensive zone. Calgary did a good job of getting ahead of them in the first place – it allowed them to dictate the flow of play and even be protective of possession at times. Not a perfect score game by any means, but one where things bounced the Flames way.
Corsi King – Andrew Mangiapane (67.10%) likes to stir the pot on occasion. He certainly never lets anybody push him around for any reason. I wish on zone entries for there to be a way to get him some better puck control, but once it gets down low in the attacking zone with possession Mangiapane thrives. He, Backlund (58.05%), and Coleman (57.59%) got fed the defensive zone starts again and it didn’t phase them – it hardly ever does. Those three were the only ones to break over 50% on shot attempts for the Flames in this game.
Corsi Clown – Kevin Rooney (30.04%) and the fourth line got limited minutes and still saw double the shot attempts against vs. what they created. Props to Walker Duehr (38.76%) for the perfect pass to Kadri (38.41%) for the early deflection goal. I would like to state that after the first period it would have looked like all the Flames dominated, it was the final 40 getting peppered with attempts where they fell behind in overall shot attempts.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – They may have been engaged physically but Rasmus Andersson (33.69 SCF% // 28.59 HDCF%) and MacKenzie Weegar (34.19% // 33.47%) got cooked at 5v5 in high danger chances. Andersson himself had over 9 go against him while he was out there, one such chance because the other teams wingers were just plain faster than him. They naturally go out so often the two play against the best of the best in competition, but on a game-to-game basis it varies whether they control their play or get controlled. The structure of two right shots in the defensive zone does cause minor breakout and safety net issues – after Hanifin and Tanev get traded these two guys being split up to balance things out would not be a bad idea, at least for a bit.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – Andrew Mangiapane (69.08%) with the nice quality share. The most surprising thing that jumped out to me when looking at these numbers was Weegar (53.02%) being on the positive of the goal share despite the large disparity in high danger looks against. It speaks to the massive amount of quality that did come in the opportunities he got. Stuart Skinner’s blocker got him good once when he went in all alone – that’ll do it. After the first period Kadri (19.45%) and Pospisil (16.37%) with Zary (23.42%) struggled mightily to get back and attack the Oilers. Zary got some residual chances on the power plays the Flames received, but 5v5 the last 40 that trio struggled to get chances.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – Dan Vladar deserves praise for getting thrown in against the high flying Oilers in the primetime spotlight – amidst all the rumours about the other guy – and thriving. The 5v5 goals that beat him were both right in the kitchen and resulted from bad defensive play more than anything Vladar was responsible for. 2.28 expected goals against at 5v5 with 2 high danger goals getting behind him. Oh yeah, the big victory over the rival too.
Player Spotlight – Dryden Hunt – Dude, where did you pull that shot out of. It was a hell of a goal shift as the play would have died in the corner 95% of the time, but Hunt hussled and got possession from a coasting Oilers defender to keep the Flames attacking. Eventually he got the awesome Huberdeau sauce pass from low to high but then this man picked his corner like it was nothing at all. Huska has shown an immediate liking to Hunt since his recall – certainly his reward for keeping his feet moving every shift and showing a serious amount of care in his play.
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –  
1) Noah Hanifin
2) Blake Coleman (Hell of a scrap)
3) Dan Vladar

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(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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