Beyond the Boxscore: Despite third period gaffes Flames find a way to take a point

Photo credit:Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
7 months ago
The Calgary Flames never let the score get in the way of how hard they worked as they fought back against the New York Islanders to earn a point in the standings. They were in control of the 5v5 flow most of the night and looked like the stronger team. It was another case of a tired opponent as the Islanders were at the end of a long road trip, but the Flames have not played down to their opponents, instead they’ve pushed the pace as the game goes on. The team is starting to develop a rhythm and playing a stronger, more structured, and offensively aggressive brand of hockey. The wheels fell off late, forcing Markstrom to play out of his mind, which will happen taking some of these offensive risks. Not a perfect 60 minutes, but one that banked a point.
CF% – 52.57%, SCF% – 50.19%, HDCF% – 50.32%, xGF% – 46.31%
It’s a Team Game – The end of the third period really saw the Flames break down defensively – or make some amateur mistakes in their own zone – causing Markstrom to have to be on top of his game. Nikita Zadorov – whose agent dubbed the best Flames defenceman – was a turnover machine as he sometimes can be. The second period was all Calgary with the Islanders failing to register a high danger chance, but with over 11 in the third period they found their second wind at the intermission. Calgary’s still working at their breakouts but having the kids use their speed and ferocity to push the play north is reverberating throughout the whole lineup.
Corsi King – Martin Pospisil (68.79%) was the best Flames skater by a mile. He was constantly involved in offensive chances and continues to find smart areas to play the body. On the back end MacKenzie Weegar (59.24%) stepped up in a big way. Weegar – and DeSimone (41.75%) – were all over the offensive zone when they got extended possession. The defence are activating off the blueline, pushing the play down low in the zone, causing fits in the other team’s coverages. As long as the whole team keeps moving their feet and not reverting to stationary passing or attacking, they should look fine most nights.
Corsi Clown – Adam Ružička (33.64%) had a pretty bad game. He wasn’t making good neutral zone reads and hindered the ability to have the puck transition into attack mode. The Dubé (50.34%) swap didn’t really work to the effect the coaching staff was probably hopeful for. The end of the game saw Sharangovich (50.45%) get some extra shifts with the more offensively orientated players – look for that in lineup versions going forward. I don’t think ZKP is going to get touched, but the Lindholm/Mangiapane pairing could see some rotating characters.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – 10 high danger chances against and it’s because he thinks too long with the puck in his own end. Zadorov (36.04 SCF% // 26.53 HDCF%) has been a problem on this roster in terms of quality of play ever since Dan Milstein un-professionally opened his mouth on the internet. Now because of Zadorov’s size, skating ability, and history of NHL games played (never said if they were quality games or not) he is still going to be coveted and paid for. I understand waiting on Lindholm (49.63% // 80.08%), Hanifin (56.61% // 69.20%), and Tanev (51.76% // 74.61%) but if Zadorov is going to continue to dish out whatever he has employed recently you need to maximize that value sooner rather than later. Doing the work is the hard part, now is the time to do the hard part.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – Martin Pospisil (71.65%) is doing more than I would have ever given him credit for – and maybe it slows down in the future – but for right now this is the wave that the Flames find themselves surfing on. Whenever the team play stalls out again there is a fair amount of 3+ year pros in the AHL that could come up and take a spin. Dennis Gilbert (DNP) could find himself into more NHL games too, he’s certainly not deserved a demotion. Honestly after the disaster Zadorov (20.83%) just iced Gilbert should be asking his coaches for a way in the lineup. A lot of guys finished right in the 50% range showing the balance of the game as a whole. The Islanders didn’t get pushed around all night and had their own positive reasons for coming out with a win, but it does feel like Calgary left a point they could have had on the table.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – Some of the goals that went in could face some criticism but all of that goes out the window when you watch a man stand on his head to keep the team alive. The third period the Flames got atrocious with their own defensive coverage – being more aggressive to try and tie it will naturally lead to less forward support – but the defence just crumbled. Failed zone exits are an absolute killer because the other team comes back at you with more speed sending the entire team onto their heels to play defence, those came in an abundance yet Markstrom stood tall. 2.85 expected goals against at 5v5 (season high) with just two 5v5 goals getting by him. A- score from me.
Player Spotlight – Nick DeSimone – If you were to just look at a spreadsheet without watching the game you would have an assumption that DeSimone struggled – he did not. There are still some issues in defensive coverage where he loses a man, but he’s been much more aggressive on the rush and in the attack. He has shown some swagger with head fakes and finding tremendous passing lanes – specifically like sequence that led to the Coleman goal. He’s in his first real NHL season at 28 years old and he’s been improving and getting more confident nightly. He’s not going to win any individual awards, but he can help this team generate some goals.
 The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Martin Pospisil
2) MacKenzie Weegar
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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