Beyond the Boxscore: Flames and Penguins put on one entertaining hockey game

Photo credit:Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
1 year ago
Fans were treated to a truly entertaining game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Calgary Flames on Wednesday night. The Penguins got the jump on Calgary, but they battled back, and with great physicality in their game to boot. Momentum would swing back and forth although both teams had stretches where they controlled play for a stretch. The goalers had to make some 5 alarm saves on both sides sending this game to a shootout where Evgeni Malkin got the winner on the night he was honoured for 1,000 games with the Pens.
CF% – 47.35%, SCF% – 49.4%, HDCF% – 41.24%, xGF% – 42.66%
It’s a Team Game – In the end no game is ever going to be scored perfectly even, tonight being no exception. Pittsburgh gets the edge due to the extra high danger opportunities they were able to get over the Flames. The second period saw the Penguins get some prime chances but after that it was all Calgary right until Dubé got the deflection goal. Jarry was in net for the Penguins, and he deserves just as much praise for his performance in this match as I’m going to give Vladar later.
Corsi King – Nothing crazy tonight but a whole bunch of players right close to 50% across the board. MacKenzie Weegar (57.31%) all the way down to Nazem Kadri (46.30%) and the 11 guys between them all playing close to shot-for-shot hockey. Positive signs that Calgary was able to put together a showing this competitive – the new lines have not gone stagnant. Here is hoping that doesn’t happen. Some people may still complain about Huberdeau (47.41%) and his linemates not being offensive enough – I say as long as the showings remain strong and the points keep coming leave the lines alone.
Corsi Clown – Andrew Mangiapane (40.01%) with Dubé (41.91%) were the forwards at the bottom of the list, not an insult just sharing the result. Those two guys with Kadri in the second period had one heck of a shift that rightfully ended with them getting the goal. The three buzzsaw boys didn’t lose a puck battle and passed it around the offensive zone like they played together for years. They went cold after a hot start, but now Dubé has found the scoresheet in two straight – we await with bated breath to see if this line can stay relevant nightly.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – Chris Tanev (55.07 SCF% // 100 HDCF%) has been getting a few easy minutes carrying along Dennis Gilbert (58.43% // NA). He’s not completely doing that though; he’s hopping up and taking shifts with the other defence when needed. And credit to Gilbert – he doesn’t control what minutes he’s given – he’s making the most out of his opportunity and playing very safe hockey. It earned him an assist tonight – he kept the puck in the offensive zone on the only goal before dishing it to Tanev.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – Nobody really stood out in any one way for possession, but you could see a major difference in the xG. The quality of the Penguins dangerous chance was much more significant than that of the Flames. Lucic (65.06%), Lewis (70.86%), and Rooney (55.15%) but everyone else graded below that. When you look and see 4 forwards below 35% you question a little about why it was so close in score – Vladar was the answer.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – 32 shots against at 5v5, one medium danger chance against, 2.73 expected goals from the Pens and Vladar put on a show. Breakaway stops, solid penalty killing form, great rebound control, and the rediscovered poise he showed all pre-season. This game is lost in regulation without this performance – the single best player in a Flaming C in this game.
Player Spotlight – Nikita Zadorov – Sub-mention to MacKenzie Weegar as these guys were heavily sent at Sidney Crosby tonight and were able to keep him off the scoresheet. Zadorov looks every bit like he should be playing 20+ minutes a night right now, the team is better off for it. Darryl Sutter and Ryan Huska have seemingly unlocked something this year, everyone’s waiting to see if it lasts. Right now he’s providing way more value than the 3.75M dollar contract he signed to stay.
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Dan Vladar
2) Chris Tanev
3) Nikita Zadorov
The Flames next game is Friday at noon MT against the Washington Capitals.
(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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