Beyond the Boxscore: Flyers beat Flames as the key contributors struggle yet again

Photo credit:Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
5 months ago
An afternoon of survival in Philadelphia for the Calgary Flames ended in a regulation loss as the surprising Flyers found a steady stream of pressure on Calgary for the majority of the game. Jacob Markstrom stood out again for the Flames as he did everything he could to keep his team in it. Calgary’s special teams were a large factor as they surrendered a power play goal and shorthanded goal in the match – the shorthanded goal being the dagger that allowed for the Tortorella special in the third period which saw very little in terms of 5v5 quality. It’s easier to beat the Flyers with a lead, the Flames couldn’t manage the same gameplan as New Year’s Eve.
CF% – 48.09%, SCF% – 51.47%, HDCF% – 42.79%, xGF% – 38.42%
It’s a Team Game – Expecting any team to win when they only get 38% of the quality share is a stretch of a thought. From the first Flyers power play near the end of the first period, through  the entire second period, and right up to the shorthanded goal allowed the game was dictated by the Flyers. The Flames did manage to score in that stretch but that wasn’t because of strong play – it was opportunistic scoring. A breakaway where the player out-muscles his competition and a flyby rebound are not pillars of how you create extended offence and control the flow of play. The Flyers used their home-ice to their advantage and were the team that deserved the win.
Corsi King – Martin Pospisil (77.56%) and Connor Zary (68.73%) continue to see limited 5v5 minutes. The coach is employing a lot of ice time balancing in Calgary and as such these two young forwards are often eighth and ninth in ice time. When offence is needed pressing on them with Kadri (71.91%) more is a better option than what we’ve seen from Elias Lindholm (45.31%). The general manager is going to have to remove the safety blanket from Huska to truly let the young guys on this roster attempt to take another step. There is constant talk about being competitive and yet the most competitive guys aren’t ever in the top of the ice time conversation.
Corsi Clown – Adam Ružička (35.26%) and AJ Greer (35.62%) play so little at 5v5 their results are always polarizing. One shift where the other team gets their top players out and it would appear they have a bad game. I’m not really advocating for them to play more, I’m content with the fourth line’s usage, it’s just going to lead to rough numbers on the road and better splits at home. The Flyers have a top-quality coach who knows how to use his bench, it showed all over the ice tonight.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – I do give a lot of flack to Rasmus Andersson (45.75 SCF% // 37.33 HDCF%) in this section because, even though he is getting the toughest matchups, he’s at the point in his career he needs to find ways to win these minutes. He has been a tremendous contributor to the offence, usually being the top of the list in defencemen involved in high danger chances, but he’s usually also on the top of the list for most high danger chances against too. He is going against teams top competition, but if the Flames want to truly take a step forward they need a defenceman that consistently is on the positive side of quality and danger shares to receive them. This season he’s been far too inefficient in his own zone to be a consistent top pair guy on a playoff team. That is not me saying say he can’t do it, I think he has the tools to be THAT guy, but there needs to be a significant defensive improvement.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – Elias Lindholm (21.96%) can’t have a quality share that low at 5v5. The polarizing games where sometimes you see life in his eyes and then two days later you wonder if he’s really giving it everything he has. We don’t have to look far to see what caring and consistency looks like, after a rough 10 game stretch Nazem Kadri (59.87%) has been the most consistent offensive threat the Flame employ. Every player that gets strapped next to Lindholm has seen their totals plummet as well. It took less than 60 seconds of Mangiapane (46.27%) escaping his wing for him to become an offensive threat again. Elias Lindholm has been a major problem for the Flames, all season long, and he also plays more than any other forward.
It needs to be addressed sooner rather than later if they want to move forward with success.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – Jacob Markstrom was excellent yet again for a Flames team that can’t keep up with enough offence to really give him the winning record he deserves. This game becomes a Philly win in the second period, running away, if not for the big Swedish netminder. I understand the Flames want to compete, but when you currently look at the state of two contender’s creases in Colorado and New Jersey it’s worth wondering what kind of king’s ransom you could acquire for Markstrom. Getting a top end defensive prospect from New Jersey isn’t unrealistic – they aren’t going to be able to pay Luke Hughes, Simon Nemec, and Seamus Casey big money while also having Hamilton on the books. Of course all of this only matters if Markstrom and his full no movement clause wants to go in the first place.
Player Spotlight – Jonathan Huberdeau – I have stopped caring about his defensive proficiency at this point I just want his offence back. Go counter-Lindholm and give it all offence saying screw the defence. The coaches in Calgary would hate it, but if he starts producing points and goals again the balance of the rest of the roster can handle the remaining wave of attack. Cause some chaos – disrupt the system – be the x-factor like you were 36 short months ago. We saw it for a brief second tonight as the breakaway goal was what fans craved, give us more of that every time you lace ‘em up.
 The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Jacob Markstrom
2) Martin Pospisil
3) Nick DeSimone
(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)

The Barn Burner Nation Vacation to Arizona presented by Alberta Blue Cross is HAPPENING from Jan 11-13th, 2024! Join the action for just $1,299/person! Your ticket includes round trip flights from Calgary x Arizona, hotels, transport and hockey game tickets! Get your tickets to the ultimate sports vacation before they sell out!

Check out these posts...