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Beyond the Boxscore: Goaltender battle goes the way of the New York Rangers, Flames get shut out

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Photo credit:Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
2 months ago
It was a spectacular display of athleticism in both creases as Jacob Markstrom and Igor Shesterkin put on a show. Markstrom was the star early making highlight reel save, one after another, as the Rangers kept pressing hard. Calgary would find their own way to generate some chances after the second period started, but Shesterkin had the answer for everything that didn’t ring off the post. Although they may not have got the win, they shouldn’t hang their hats on that performance. It was a bad start, but they still did push back valiantly, sometimes you just get stonewalled.
CF% – 43.93%, SCF% – 46.65%, HDCF% – 43.71%, xGF% – 44.39%
It’s a Team Game – The Rangers were a physical team that attempted to throw the Flames around all night, kudos to them for not backing down at any point. It led to some entertaining playoff atmosphere hockey with every grade A chance pushing you to the edge of your seat. The difference really came down to one gritty goal for the Rangers, a simple bounce the Flames way and we would have been treated to overtime.
Corsi King – Connor Zary (66.82%) was a force on every single shift for the Flames. When he was on the ice the Flames found ways to turn the puck north and get quality scoring chances. He displayed some great passing and patience as well – he’s came back from the break playing some top-notch puck. Kevin Rooney (54.62%) also continues to stabilize a fourth line that had been a problem all year. Even without Pelletier for pretty much the entire game he still found a way to win the shot attempt battle.
Corsi Clown – The Flames had two lines really struggle against the Rangers. Backlund (34.98%) wasn’t fed defensive zone starts like he normally was – Huska kept trying to get Zary on the ice. The Rangers’ big physical defence didn’t give the wingers a lot of space to operate along the boards, this effected Mangiapane (32.86%) early as he struggled to get in for good looks. This was also the first time the Sharangovich (32.94%) failed to get over 10 shot attempts. Huberdeau (44.18%) did, but he did Pelletier fill-in duty.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – Two players really stood out despite the slow start – Connor Zary (61.82 SCF% // 64.74 HDCF%) was the energy bringer up front and Brayden Pachal (76.14% // 100%) was a nice force on the back end. He was the only player not to see any 5v5 high danger chances against while being on the ice for over 5. On the flip side Noah Hanifin (42.62% // 30.39%) couldn’t stop the Rangers at all seeing 9 high danger chances against. Every forward group except the Sharangovich (45.66% // 35.54%) one was able to find over three 5v5 high danger chances.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – Mackenzie Weegar (63.76%) was second on the defence corps to Brayden Pachal (76.22%). Of course, Connor Zary (64.99%) and all his dangerous looks had a large portion of the quality share. These players were able to effectively stand up to the physicality the Rangers brought to every shift. Others couldn’t quite find enough space to make anything dangerous come to fruition.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – This was one of those games where its cruel one of the goaltenders has to lose. Both netminders were the best guys on the ice by a mile. 2.68 expected goals against for Markstrom with just the one 5v5 goal coming from his doorstep. He made about 3 of what would currently rank as his best 5 saves for the entire season in the first period alone. Jaw dropping stuff in one of the biggest stages in the world – Madison Square Garden. Very unfortunate someone couldn’t score to give him the victory.
Player Spotlight – Martin Pospisil – The more he plays the more he gets comfortable in the league. That leads to more of him being a grade a thorn in the other teams side. Him going toe-to-toe just abusing the Rangers whenever he got the chance was some of the most entertaining things, I’ve watched anybody do this season. Tenacious puck battling – it’s awesome they were to get him at just 1 million for the next two seasons. This guy at worst can slot on your fourth line on any given day, his speed affords him the ability to also play up in the lineup. It’ll be interesting to see how he’s going to grow. 
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
 1) Jacob Markstrom
2) Connor Zary
3) Brayden Pachal
 (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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