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Beyond the Boxscore: Clutch performance by Calgary Flames ties franchise record

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Photo credit:Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
9 months ago
It is no longer a secret around the league that Calgary is a tough team to play against. It’s especially hard to beat them in their own arena – but teams are starting to really try. The last three games Calgary’s seen some teams best efforts in attempts to take down the Pacific Division leaders. Nobody has been successful though as the Calgary Flames continue to get comfortable playing with one goal leads.
CF% – 54.33%, SCF% – 50.4%, HDCF% – 38.22%, xGF% – 50.78%
It’s a Team Game – Winnipeg has some big defenceman who did a good job of not allowing any space in front of their goaltender for significant chances. It took a skilled deflection to beat Hellebuyck because that was all Calgary could muster up. As the game wore on the Jets got better and better overall, but Calgary’s players stick to their good habits well enough to grab their 10th straight win.
Corsi King – Andrew Mangiapane (65.41 CF%), Mikael Backlund (62.70%), and Blake Coleman (61.19%) have really got something good going on every single night. It allows for Calgary to be able to sneak some wins even if their top line has the odd off night. The Flames third line also were able to get on the positive side here.
Corsi Clown – Elias Lindholm (40.01 CF%) and his linemates were the only ones that finished with under 10 total attempts towards the Jets net while seeing over 10 attempts back at the Flames own net. Not the strongest overall performance from the players, but they came through when they were needed most.
Taken By Chance – Mikael Backlund (66.63 SCF% // 77.83 HDCF%) continues his strong stretch of play – he’s been on a tear since the all-star break ended. Erik Gudbranson (65.66% // 65.09%) and Nikita Zadorov (55.60% // 65.09%) were the only defence pair to allow one high danger chance or less against. The offensive zone starts help, but there is nothing wrong with a coach putting guys in positions to find success.
xGF% – Mikael Backlund (75.06 xGF%) finished on top in this category as well. Milan Lucic (55.64%) got a bump up to play on a line with Sean Monahan (64.50%) and Tyler Toffoli (50.82%) – They were able to find some decent chances in their first game together. Toffoli made a nice quick decision play to grab the empty net goal. He hesitates for a second or more there and the defender stick checks him – that was a smart and skilled attempt from Mr. Toffoli at the end there.
Game Flow –
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One of the most even looking flowchart we’ve seen in this entire run. Calgary plays hard to the final horn every single game – and they do it with consistency. The whole roster is telling all of their fans that if you show up to watch them play at the Saddledome they are going to give you their best possible performance they have. This team has given fans every reason they can to entice fans to go watch – when the ‘Dome can be full once more the volume will be off the charts regularly.
Game Score – I typically set the high level bar at around 2.00 and no player from Calgary was able to hit that benchmark. Mikael Backlund (1.36 game // 0.71 average) was numero uno for Calgary with Blake Coleman (1.31 // 0.67) in tow. Jacob Markstrom (0.86 // 0.36) has been strong throughout all of these games as well. Not giving up any real low-danger weak goals has allowed Calgary to stay competitive every single game.
Shot Heatmap –
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One thing Winnipeg did do really well was protect the area directly in front of their goaltender. The Jets got some real big defenceman that can make life tough for forwards that want to score goals. Meanwhile Calgary’s top four D – in contrast from what they usually do – had some trouble keeping the Jets best players from right out front of the net. Jacob Markstrom was fortunately up to the task.
In The Crease – 1.63 expected goals against at 5v5 with 1 high danger chance beating Markstrom – a 5v5 SV% of 0.950%. Markstrom had to stop 11 of the 12 high danger chances the Jets were able to muster – and again that was just at 5v5. Factor in the Jets power plays and Markstrom himself had a real nice Family Day afternoon game.
Today’s Specials – The power play goal was a result of the power play a little bit – most of the time you can bank on an NHL defenceman being in that lane Monahan had to the net if it were even strength. The setup changed too as we saw Tyler Toffoli replace Sean Monahan on the top unit. The head coach mentioned in a post-game press conference that they were doing too much perimeter attacking on the powerplay – the guys need to emphasize getting chances from the middle of the ice.
Player Spotlight – Mikael Backlund – Backlund himself had a bit of an injury scare in this contest. He missed a shift and left the bench for a bit of time but ultimately returned to the game and played regular shifts afterwards. That was great news for the Flames as he was one of their best players in this game. When Backlund is playing to the top of his game it makes Calgary just that much more dangerous.
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Mikael Backlund
2) Erik Gudbranson
3) Sean Monahan
The Flames will try to set a franchise record 11th straight win Thursday against the Vancouver Canucks at 8 p.m. MT.
(Stats compiled from Naturalstattrick.com // Game Score from Hockeystatcards.com)

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