Beyond the Boxscore: The Calgary Flames absolutely cook Canucks in first game of pre-season

Photo credit:Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
9 months ago
Welcome back one and all to Beyond the Boxscore: Season 3 –  a place to find out which Flames players had statistically great nights combined with some insight into what was working or not by myself (Shane Stevenson – @Flash_33 on X (formerly known as Twitter) // @flashbtb on Bluesky). We’ll have charts, video breakdowns, colour commentary, and plenty of in-depth analysis.
Well that was one way to shake rust off the sticks. Ten goals in the first preseason game against a Canucks team that featured maybe 5-7 guys that have a shot at making the day one roster. Nonetheless there was plenty of skill flashed by the home team giving the fans in attendance an abundance to cheer for. Who would have ever thought at any point in the season the Saddledome would rain down with chants of “We want 10!” – let alone the first one? Again, it’s only the pre-season.
CF% – 58.36%, SCF% – 55.63%, HDCF% – 51.39%, xGF% – 53.66%
It’s a Team Game – The Flames had a new sense of direction in the offensive zone – making a more concentrated effort to get shots from in close to the net. Long gone are the days of just throwing everything from distance, quality of chances matter too. The Canucks squad actually pushed back in the second period, but with the goaltenders not stopping anything for Vancouver motivation soon evaporated. I don’t care if there’s jobs on the line, when it’s 8-0 in the third period everyone on the other side just wants to go home.
Corsi King – Elias Lindholm (74.16 CF%) and Nazem Kadri (69.45%) led the way for the Flames. Hard pressed for the other team to do anything when you’re rolling against centres possessing the puck enough to put these numbers up. It’s the first pre-season game so the weight of what this carries is marginal, but it’s still fun to get back into these. Tanev (68.15%) led the defence corps.
Corsi Clown – A refresher more most folks – I really don’t get down on anyone unless they were less then 47% across the board. The lowest Flame in this category was Rasmus Andersson (46.34%) and Connor Zary (47.77%) – neither of which I would say had bad performances. I don’t like spending too much time in this box because it’s focused on the negative, I much prefer to report positive information. I leave it in because sometimes reality needs faced, and it doesn’t always go positively. (cough, last year, cough).
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – Things get lost in a blowout, but that’s why I like to reflect. There may have been 8 goals scored 5v5, but 6 guys ended up not recording a 5v5 high danger chance. Jordan Oesterle had the worst ratio seeing 4 high danger chances against while being involved in none. No folks, the floating bouncer of a goal to open the game is not considered high danger. We don’t care how the goals go in – we’ll accept them any way they come – studying chance rates is more a study of consistency. Noah Hanifin (52.85 SCF% // 72.50 HDCF%) – who we have no idea how long we’ll see in a Flaming C jersey – led the way 5:2 ratio.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – The top end of the quality share saw Elias Lindholm (80.49 xGF%) – which should be expected. Behind him in second was someone I had ranked in the top 10 on my Flames prospect rankings in Ilya Solovyov (71.40%). With the current lack of Flames depth on D Solovyov is a player showcasing his talents for a possible call-up this year. He’s a sturdy defence first guy who likes to clog up the middle of the ice. A seventh round overage pick he’s an underrated tool the Flames may have to turn to should injuries/trades arise this year. Him making the team as the seventh defenceman out of camp is far-fetched, but again I see call-up potential in the man.
Game Flow –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – No goals also means no weak goals. That’s really all I care about in my analysis of goaltending. Did the team in front of you do a good job limiting the chance? If not, then it’s hardly on the goaltender. Calgary seems like they are going to play a bit more loose this year – I’m wondering if that could mentally help the goaltenders too. Under the old regime the goaltenders would have to play damn near perfect every single night – a single goal was the difference because the Flames didn’t produce much of an offensive attack. If they play loose and end up scoring more it can be less draining on the Flames goaltenders if they happen to give up an early/soft one. I’m no psychiatrist though, so I’m just spit balling.
Today’s Specials – I much preferred the look and design of the Flames power play – was not going to take much to improve what it used to be. Maybe this year with actual time focused on practising this element – with a former power play wizard coaching them (hello Marc Savard) no less – we will actually see constant production. This team has too many offensive weapons to not produce at a top 16 power play rate in this league. Adding two new guys with hefty shots in Sharangovich and Coronato will certainly help as well.
Player Spotlight – Matt Coronato – One of the comments after development camp in July about this guy was that he never quits on the puck. Flash forward to the Ben Jones goal and look at all the work Coronato does to set the play up. He never stops on the boards until he wins possession of the puck and then immediately puts it in a dangerous area for his teammate to take advantage of. Combine that with his quick thinking and heavy, accurate shot and Matt Coronato should be able to make a decent immediate impact in the NHL.
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
 1) Matt Coronato
2) Jonathan Huberdeau
3) Noah Hanifin
(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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