Beyond the Boxscore: Calgary Flames youth shines bright in victory over Golden Knights

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
1 month ago
After a week of beatdowns the Calgary Flames found some flow and were able to take down the Vegas Golden Knights. Young players shined all night as Dustin Wolf showed he can do it against playoff teams and Matt Coronato stood out as a difference maker from start to finish. Throw in the physicality from Pospisil that’s evident every time his feet touch the ice and the youth of the Flames look fun and entertaining. One game doesn’t tell anything, really, in terms of the big picture. However, having success like this can lead to a bit of a successful run going forward. Saturday will be appointment viewing for the fans who want to watch the Flames new youth movement closely – because after that come together win against the Golden Knights
CF% – 54.79%, SCF% – 58.99%, HDCF% – 69.99%, xGF% – 65.18% 
Playoff Odds: 3.3% (Moneypuck.com)
Lottery Odds: 3.0% (Tankathon.com/NHL)
It’s a Team Game – All three periods were driven by the Calgary Flames. The Golden Knights showed up and laid a massive dud. Mark Stone being out of their lineup is a huge hole for Vegas, who also is trying to fit in both Hanifin and Mantha while adjusting to Eichel returning. They aren’t anywhere near their best, but even at their worst they are still a playoff team. Calgary being able to control that much of the game with the changes they’ve dealt with (which out-does anyone in the entire league for what it’s worth) is just a huge positive. The kids lead the way which is exactly what fans, coaches, and management all want to see in the stretch drive.
Corsi King – Another game, another performance where Brayden Pachal (72.03%) was able to carry his pair to a heavily positive shot share. This has occurred enough times it does not shock me when it happens anymore. Is he a perfect player – well nobody is – but he does a lot of the things you want a defensive defenceman to do well. Throw in he’s a better skater than most of the guys built like him and it’s quite the waiver find for GM Craig Conroy. New man Nikita Okhotiuk (Ok-hoht-chyook) at 61.58% right there with his defence partner. On the flip side it wasn’t a tremendous night for everyone. Walker Duehr (23.87%) didn’t see a shift after 34 minutes against Colorado, tonight it was around minute 38. If he’s not someone the coach wants to grow with than the roster spot is wasted. Pelletier (23.87%) got parked next to him in this one.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – I feel like most nights when I’m talking about high danger looks against I’m talking about Rasmus Andersson (48.48 SCF% // 59.88 HDCF%). He has really struggled in quality suppression this season no matter who his opponent is. He can transition the puck at a top 4 level, his offensive instincts are also top 4 level, but he has got to improve his defensive coverage, speed, and abilities if he’s going to be The Guy. The coach seems to recognize that some nights and gives Weegar (56.88% // 77.83%) more minutes. When away from Andersson – which coincides with him playing his strong side – his defensive ability amplifies. There’s more of an in-depth dive here needed than a small blurb in a post-game breakdown, but it is something that’s a noticeable trend. Shout-out Okhotiuk (73.44% // 100%) as the only player to help get a high danger look while seeing none.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – I absolutely adore the “Matty Scoresheet” nickname Matt Coronato (72.41%) comes with. After you watch him rip that goal top shelf you can understand why the Wranglers were calling him that. Beautiful, powerful, accurate shot off a saucer pass over a defenders stick… while on the rush. You can’t coach that into a guy, he has to have the ability to do that and at 21 years old he has it. Over point a game in the AHL (42 points in 40 games) when he is allowed to get up to speed in the NHL, he is going to be a difference maker. He is certainly – in my opinion – the young forward with the highest potential on the roster. Remember I’m the only writer at FlamesNation to have him ranked over Wolf in our pre-season prospect rankings (Wolf was #2).
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – For the first time in the NHL they gave Wolf appearances in consecutive games. Turns out, once the man can get settled in a bit, he can play the game at a high level. There is so much more that is going to go into evaluation of Wolf going forward, but for one night Flames fans can go to sleep with some confidence that Wolf could be what they need him to be. The Flames have not drafted and developed a starting goaltender (for them) since Trevor Kidd. Drafted in 1990 and last played for them in 1997 – 27 years where it’s been pretty tough outside of Kiprusoff and now Markstrom. The point stands – they didn’t draft those guys – and the fans have so much hope for Wolf to finally be the guy to break that trend. Thursday night he gave those fans reason to keep believing in him.
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –  
1A) Matt Coronato
1B) Dustin Wolf
3) Dryden Hunt
(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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