Beyond the Boxscore: Rollercoaster season continues for Flames in loss to Red Wings

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
2 months ago
The Calgary Flames gave everyone in the Saddledome a lesson on how to play both good and bad at the exact same time. Was most of the afternoon spent in possession of the puck at 5v5? Yes! Does that end up mattering when – as a group – colossal mistakes are made in defensive coverage? No. No, it does not. Detroit was more adept at getting dangerous chances, but it wasn’t like they constantly swarmed Calgary and wore them down to dust. These are games the Flames were fighting back to make it close back in November, a different story today as the rumours swirl and the trade deadline looms.
CF% – 55.82%, SCF% – 55.21%, HDCF% – 60.12%, xGF% – 65.78%
It’s a Team Game – In all honesty one would normally look at those ratios, then the score, before doubling back confused as to how it was 5-0. From those that watched it was clear when the Red Wings got a serious opportunity there was a lack of effort to defend. For the most part the Flames stuck to a decent gameplan that would net some goals, but the amount of high danger looks was quite minuscule. After the score appeared out of reach for a Flames team that tries to win games 3-2 the overall dangerous level of the game subsided. The last 20 minutes turned out to be a better cardio session for all involved than an actual game of hockey.
Corsi King – Mikael Backlund (66.20%) seeing only 7 shot attempts at 5v5 is one thing, being one of the primary reasons to point at a goal against (#4, backcheck efficiency) is out of his ballpark. He had every chance to push the defender towards the wall or even get his stick in to disrupt the puck carrier, instead he let the guy walk in down low and shuffle a pass directly between 4 Flames skaters. Andrei Kuzmenko (66.04%) continues to be able to get high danger looks even in a low danger game. I’m glad Calgary’s finally trying to expand from 12 defensive based forwards to having some with an ability to attack. It’s a 4-3 league (if not more) and the sooner Flames management gets to that realization the sooner they can start to build a true contender.
Corsi Clown – Martin Pospisil (45.24%) at least brings something else to the game when he isn’t helping out on the scoresheet – which isn’t top 6 production for what it’s worth. It’s fun to have him piss the other team off but if you are going to be getting those 12:19 in 5v5 minutes you have to be a more prolific threat to find the scoresheet. Nazem Kadri (48.25%) and Connor Zary (49.93%) are doing their darnedest to try and carry everyone but a third offensive contributor that could keep up to their scoring pace would greatly suit the Flames. Pospisil 110% has shown he belongs in the NHL, but I’m posing the question that maybe the second line isn’t where he belongs.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – Despite three 5v5 goals against the Flames didn’t surrender a bunch of dangerous looks. However, when they did let one through it was on the backs of some pretty bad defensive coverage in the middle of the ice. You’d think I was talking about maybe Yegor Sharangovich (52.67 SCF% // 46.74 HDCF%) but no, rather it was Backlund (61.49% // 44.25%) and Kadri (49.81% // 67.58%) that got scored on during plays more could have been done. This is where you can notice the loss of Elias Lindholm, but they need to get over that and move on from a chapter in a closed book. Easier said than done, clearly, but maybe I just expect unfair things from athletes getting paid millions. Defensively only on one man avoided the high danger looks (55.84% // 41.11%). His back-end speed is something the Calgary Flames are going to need going forward.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – Quality share only saw Backlund (45.41%), Mangiapane (42.81%), and Coleman (45.41%) below the 50% line. It was all low event for them, so the ratios need to be taken with a grain of salt. The leader in overall quality was Pachal (83.41%) but again, terrible mistake in the worst possible way at the worst possible time. It’s nice that the Flames can overall play well in terms of structure – but the time for rewarding intangibles ended and these defensive lapses in judgment can’t happen. On the double plus side the Lego line (because of all the changing pieces) barely saw any attempts against the, in 7 minutes of 5v5, and also were the only trio to not get scored on.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – Markstrom chased after two 5v5 goals on six 5v5 shots. After Wolf against the Sharks lots of noise out and about wondering if he could cut it – overreactions to a small sample size. This is a good way to show every goaltender has off nights. Markstrom is a Vezina competitor in my eyes based on his play – hell one could argue he’s the most valuable player to any team in the league right now – but the Red Wings found his number early and never let up until the deficit reached 4-0. Vladar was fine in relief, not outstanding or anything, just fine.
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Connor Zary
2) Oliver Kylington
3) Kevin Rooney
(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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