Beyond the Boxscore: Jacob Markstrom drags Calgary Flames to victory

Photo credit:Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
1 year ago
It was a tough back-to-back situation for the Calgary Flames who tended to get pushed back by a Wild team hungry for the playoffs. Long distance with a late night of travel this late into the season is a taxing thing and the number one guy up to the challenge was Jacob Markstrom. The controversial overtime goal aside Markstrom was the entire reason they got to the extra frame and deserved his first shutout of the season in a big way. At times the team looked fairly out of gas and couldn’t find ways to gain speed through the neutral zone. Same thing that happened last time against a top end defensive squad like the Minnesota Wild.
CF% – 48.65%, SCF% – 38.86%, HDCF% – 32.2%, xGF% – 36.79%
It’s a Team Game – The best period in terms of push for the Flames was the second period. Push is the wrong word to describe it – they just played stronger defence than the other two periods. It wasn’t particularly close in terms of shot attempts and quality of chance generation, both heavily favoured towards Minnesota. Not wanting to give the team too much grief as it was an unfavourable game to play. I personally think the Flames did what they could but just didn’t have enough left in the tank to get a goal.
Corsi King – Nazem Kadri (70.84%) led the way as his new line combo has been working out well. Other than Nick Ritchie (68.01%) taking a bunch of offensive zone penalties they’ve collectively done well. Lindholm (53.69%) looks good next to the speedy, young Pelletier (53.69%) too. The Flames most consistent line is muddling through a rough patch so having the other two top lines rolling is keeping hope alive in Calgary. The defence had a tough match-up getting stuck in their own zone a few times – not always their fault sometimes the wingers need to make better plays exiting their blueline. Chris Tanev (52.87%) led the way for the Flames backend.
Corsi Clown – Mikael Backlund (31.74%) and the Flames strongest line is riding through a three-game rough patch. It’s a lot of pressure to have to be the better line 82 times a year – and almost impossible to have happen. Getting wins despite the lull is a good sign for the team in their pursuit of a higher position in the standings. Milan Lucic (34.70%) and his line also spent some time getting pinned in their own end. It’s been a common occurrence since the all-star break.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – Nobody was involved in more than 2 high danger chances for and all but 3 of the rosters saw at least 3 high danger chances against. In summary the Wild had advantages on Calgary all over the ice all night long. Kadri (88.52 SCF% // 69.50 HDCF%) and Ritchie (72% // 69.50%) were the only ones to end up on the positive side of the metrics. Zadorov (32.07% // 18.56%) and Stecher (13.60% // 18.56%) got pinned back in the most amongst the D-pairs getting out chanced in the high danger market 4 to 1.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – Worth mentioning is that Hanifin (52.83%) and Tanev (52.37%) ended up on the positive side of the quality share. The Flames got shelled so any defence pairing that can get that earns the tip of the cap. The rest of it plays out like you’d expect. The Backlund (14.99%) line was the only one that really got buried in terms of quality. They just did not solve the Wild at all – an oddity for sure.
Game Flow –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – When that crazy called offside goal was overturned, I was excited for Markstrom. He deserved the shutout in his record and most certainly deserved the win more than any player on the entire ice. We’ve been asking for Markstrom to steal some games for the Flames this season – count that as one. Sutter said they needed Markstrom to go on a run – it sounds like he’s heard him and is answering the call. If the Flames are going to have any hope this year, it’s going to rest largely on his shoulders. Let’s hope he is up to the challenge.
Player Spotlight – MacKenzie Weegar – I just want to highlight that on most nights he’s the best defenceman in Red. That’s impressive playing on the same D corps as Chris Tanev, but it holds true. The Flames have got tremendous defensive play from Weegar and lately he’s shown to be able to play successfully with more than just Tanev – having a successful stint with Andersson. The points may not be at a level people would expect with his contract, but he’s putting the defence first which is helping the team a lot more than is usually visible.
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –  
1) Jacob Markstrom
2) Nazem Kadri
3) Chris Tanev
(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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