Beyond the boxscore – G7: Brick wall in the Steel City

Photo credit:Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
2 years ago
They won’t all come pretty – and this one certainly falls under that category. Anytime the spotlight is on your goaltender for performing out of his mind the underlying problem is – you played bad defensively. Don’t get me wrong I’m just as fired up as the next fan for the 5 game win streak – one in which they never trailed – but the game against Pittsburgh is one the Penguins are going to want back. I’m sure the Flames time to get goalie’d will come, but for right now let’s ride this wave back to Calgary.
CF% – 50.83%, SCF% – 51.03%, HDCF% – 47.55%, xGF% – 45.27%
It’s a Team Game – The Corsi (or as Oilers coach Dave Tippett calls it “corski and fenski” – thanks Dave) as well as all-situation scoring chance rates were just slightly in favour of the Flames, but the high danger and overall quality ratios (xGF%) were in favour of the Penguins. The game started as all Calgary, but the Penguins are a team that work exceptionally hard and pushed back steadily throughout the contest. The Coleman goal early in the third really deflated the sails of a Penguins team that probably should have led the game after two.
Corsi King – Matthew Tkachuk (64.82 CF%) leads the way here. Linemates Johnny Gaudreau (52.97%) and Elias Lindholm (52.62%) also directed more pucks towards the Penguins net. Gaudreau and Tkachuk specifically jump out as two players who looked dangerous every single shift tonight. The top D pair in CF% was Juuso Välimäki (55.57%) and Erik Gudbranson (54.28%).
Corsi Clown – Tyler Pitlick (39.06 CF%) was the only player sub 40% – to be quite frank I hardly noticed him out there tonight. Trevor Lewis (43.10%) just continues to silently do what he does on his line – it seems when he gets opportunities in the offensive zone the puck is magnetized to the opposing goalies logo, but he’s not here to be a goal scorer. Oliver Kylington (43.85%) was tasked last minute with a new defence partner. While some of his numbers were low he still had a good high danger ratio, but that’s for the next section.
Taken By Chance – Let’s start with who gave up the most high danger chances tonight – Chris Tanev (46.24 SCF% // 51.28 HDCF%), Rasmus Andersson (47.19% // 51.28%), and Tyler Pitlick (53.04% // 44.18%) all surrendered 5 against them. Albeit Razz and Tanev helped create 4 themselves, with Pitlick at 3. When you add in the score & venue adjustment to the numbers it tracks out Tanerazz (thanks for that one, Pike) as being a positive ratio pairing.
Note: For those readers that don’t know – score and venue adjustment (SVA for short) take out the bias amongst record keepers from various arenas. It’s been found certain arenas track some stats… generously. Such as shot totals, hits, shot locations etc. What SVA does for us is allows us to recognize these arena biases and bring every game closer to an even playing field – that is why I use the SVA numbers myself when looking at % ratios.
A couple Flames felt dangerous and finished with high % ratios. Milan Lucic (42.27 SCF% // 72.22 HDCF%) who some may start to call Rocket Loochard for his goal scoring streak, and Matthew Tkachuk (55.94% // 71.80%) who just hasn’t really seen a game where his play has dipped yet this year, are the two with the top high danger numbers.
xGF% – We’ve talked about him in seemingly every section so he just gets mentioned as the leader here and then we’ll talk about some others – Matthew Tkachuk (64.20 xGF%). Brett Ritchie (59.95%) and Juuso Välimäki (50.26%) were among the only 4 over 50% here – the fourth being Johnny Gaudreau (51.38%). Again there are some effects coming out of penalty kills for the Flames – which I’m sure they’ll take over actually allowing a goal on the PK – but it’s a trend that’s lasted over the entire road trip. It will be interesting to see if that trend continues at the Saddledome.
Game Flow –
That nice early 5-minute start was quickly met with the work boots from a depleted Penguins roster. It was all Penguins before the penalty trouble – which plays into Calgary’s favour having one of the best PK’s in the league out of the gate. Really not too much positive to say here other than they got timely goals – the Penguins got jack squat.
Game Score – Jacob Markstrom (3.75 game // 0.95 season average) come get your crown – we’ll have more on you below. Johnny Gaudreau (2.82 // 1.70) having an average game score over 1 is fantastic, you sir at 1.70 are playing lights out. It might be blasphemous to tell you Andrew Mangiapane (-0.20 // 0.45) was the player that under-performed his average the most – but I’m just the messenger… okay I get critical too. He still had more regular scoring chances and pucks directed at the net, but when the Pens did get to the net with him on they got to some good scoring areas – I doubt it happens in succession.
Shot Heatmap –
This is the worst looking heatmap for shot pressure the Flames have had to date. all the goals at 5v5 are nice, but most of them the causation/blame lays directly at DeSmith’s feet. As for defensively the Flames gave up more from the slot than usual – but nothing too heavy from right in tight – that tells me the rebound clearing was very good for Calgary and the Penguins couldn’t get those in-close second chances.
In The Crease – Take a bow, Markström. 2.90 expected goals against (5v5) 1.00 SV% and zero actual goals against – for the second time this year. He’s completely earned both shutouts this year as without him in those two games I’m not sure the Flames win them – they certainly don’t win this one without him. Keep it rolling Marky, we’re loving it in the C of Red.
Today’s Specials – Welcome back to the lineup Michael Stone – now please go kill off an extended 5-on-3. Thanks buddy. Sidebar: a member of the media asked Sutter about his deployment of his PK forward units (sorry to whoever that was – I’ll buy you a coffee someday – editor’s note, it was Brendan Parker from Flames TV) and I loved his answer. He puts Backlund – Lindholm out to start because he’s confident he has the face-off covered. Coleman – Lewis follows to keep the defensive pressure on while not having to worry about face-off responsibilities. Finally, Mangiapane and Dubé to end it off to have some speed out there. This really speaks to the PK ending effect on Mangiapane and Dubé’s numbers – if they’re going to be out there for the majority of the PKs ending its going to thwack the numbers down a fair bit.
Player Spotlight – Blake Coleman – That was a clutch goal to really get the Flames off their heels. It took the last remaining serious fight out of the Penguins for a little bit while simultaneously breathing new life into a few Flames. Finding ways to finish off games that are close is going to be huge for this team as the season progresses – especially if they want a playoff spot. The new guy they call Pickles got the dagger blow tonight.
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Jacob Markstrom
2) Matthew Tkachuk
3) Johnny Gaudreau
Acknowledgement: Congratulations Mikael Backlund on your 400th career point!
The Flames next match-up is against the Philadelphia Flyers back in Calgary on Sat., Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. MT – all covered here at FlameNnation.
(Stats compiled from Naturalstattrick.com // Game Score from Hockeystatcards.com)

Check out these posts...