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Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames win battle of the goaltenders over the Vegas Golden Knights

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
2 months ago
The Calgary Flames will wake up sitting in a playoff spot because Dan Vladar was sensational in a 2-1 overtime win over the Vegas Golden Knights. His competition across the ice was superb as well getting the Flames caught in a good ol’ battle of the pipes. The Flames may have a team that can put pressure on the other team, but when they make a mistake it leads to dangerous chances off the rush in their own end. Vladar had to make some 5-alarm stops to keep the Flames from falling behind thanks to turnovers and odd-man rushes. If the power play could ever sort itself out they may not need to win games this low scoring, regardless their goaltender had their backs to bank the 2 points.
CF% – 55.45%, SCF% – 51.24%, HDCF% – 41.8%, xGF% – 54.43%
It’s a Team Game – Some may not know this but Vegas started the season 11-0-1. Since then, they’re 3-5-2 with their only regulation wins coming against the San Jose Sharks and the Montreal Canadiens. The Flames didn’t exactly catch the defending cup champions playing their best hockey. You can only play who’s on the schedule though and banking the extra point within your division is always an added bonus. Calgary ended up owning the third period in yet another comeback game because they have a coach who adapts his lines to play whose hot instead of rolling his fourth line out there against Jack Eichel. There are still piles of things to work on but for tonight they’ll feel good with the victory.
Corsi King – I feel it was very fitting that the only guy to want to stand up for Carrier running into Dan Vladar so aggressively – A.J. Greer (74.50%) – also ended up being the tying goal scorer. Karma isn’t a statistic – probably not even real – but that’s what that felt like, good karma. For those wondering why Dillon Dubé (67.33%) got extra time in the third, it’s because he wasn’t hurting them in this one. Anytime Weegar (71.64%) and Andersson (64.06%) are playing well the Flames have a real shot at victory.
Corsi Clown – Adam Ružička (39.98%) hasn’t made much of a case to stay in the lineup recently. Every time he gets to play fourth line center the play drops off, yet when he’s playing wing within the top 9 he’s shooting pucks and making plays. Almost two different players, get this guy back on the wing somehow. Just 6:13 at 5v5 as the coach recognized he wasn’t going early. The only thing I have to say about Chris Tanev (40.77%) is about how tough he is. Man dove in front of a shot to block it with his face, respect.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – Nikita Zadorov (41.18 SCF% // 0 HDCF%) was the only player not to be on the ice for a 5v5 high danger chance. Noah Hanifin (40.04% // 40.21%) led the team in both raw high danger chances for, as well as against. Beat out the next closest guy for HDCA by a clear 2. The best overall performance by a skater I would say was Weegar (82.46% // 100%). I will disagree with the 0 high danger chances against because we all saw him cough up a clear breakaway in the third period, bailed out by Dan Vladar. He got him the W in the end so he repaid his debt rather quickly.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – AJ Greer (82.59%) already one of the most effective Flames waiver claims of all time? I’d have to consult Pike on that, but he’s up there. Despite all the noise to play more kids he’s been a steady presence on the fourth line constantly playing well. When you come from a team that had over 60 wins the year before you sure know how to do a lot of things right, he’s been fantastic to have around this season. Backlund (69.51%) was back on his positive game after spending a night in the dumps. He’s not going to win every shift/game 82 times a year, but he does find ways to always bounce back with strong defensive play. Never really gets into a long slump, that Flames captain.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – Praise Vladar, take a breath, then praise him again. 101% the reason the Flames even had a chance to win as they gave up plenty of amazing chances and he stopped them all 5v5. He only got beat by a cross ice power play pass and we don’t blame goalies for power play goals against – they didn’t put their team down a man. (I mean I have before, but they were egregious goals). A 5v5 shutout of 1.60 expected goals against. All that bad talk from me after Saturday undone in a single performance! That’s not how it actually works, but certainly a massive step in the right direction.
Today’s Specials – Just read this and laugh because until someone actually makes the Flames skate on the powerplay instead of all trying to pass the puck while glued to a single spot the abysmal track record will continue. I would rather go outside and watch the grass grow for 2 minutes than watch the Flames struggle while UP A MAN. Something has to change in a drastic fashion here because this can’t continue, completely unacceptable at the NHL level.
Player Spotlight – Dillon Dubé/Connor Zary/Ryan Huska – I am convinced, based on me doing all these reviews after the games, that Ryan Huska is looking at some metrics to see who’s having a good game at the second intermission. He is batting 100% at sitting the guys at the bottom of the xG chart and playing guys who have had better nights more often. Every single time – tonight Connor Zary was seeing all sorts of high-quality chances against while Dubé led the team in raw xGF. This has occurred every single time he’s sat someone outside of Huberdeau’s third period bench warming. Do I have any proof? Not a shred. Do I have reasonable suspicion? More than enough evidence to at least speculate.
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Dan Vladar
2) MacKenzie Weegar
3) AJ Greer
(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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