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Beyond the Boxscore: The Flames blow yet another lead, lose 5th game in a row

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Photo credit:Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
22 days ago
The Flames found themselves on the wrong side of yet another third period collapse as they lost their fifth straight game. What stings for fans in a new unique way was the solid play of the team through the first 40 minutes. They broke down and let the Islanders back into it before losing the game on a penalty kill in overtime. Yes the officiating was undoubtedly questionable in this game – Calgary’s got some other problems to sort out that extend beyond the refs.
CF% – 59.15%, SCF% – 56.71%, HDCF% – 65.34%, xGF% – 65.92%
It’s a Team Game – The Islanders had next to no chances in the first two periods, everything in complete control by Calgary. They end up starting the third period on a penalty kill, but let the Islanders start piling chances on after it ends. It snowballed into two goals against and a tie score. Both teams were able to slug it out and get a point in overtime – but the Flames let another game that was all theirs slip away.
Corsi King – Trevor Lewis (72.53 CF%) some would argue is a bad fit for the Flames third line, but he’s done quite a consistent performance their so far this year. Backlund (66.78%) and Coleman (67.53%) are hard to beat when they’re on – all Lewis has to do as the third is provide a good forecheck and have solid defensive instincts. With how much Calgary controlled the game in terms of overall time it makes sense that pretty much the whole roster was above or right close to 50%.
Corsi Clown – Welcome to the NHL Nick DeSimone (28.77%), its not as easy as you think. It was his first ever game in the NHL it’s not fair to critique a game where someone would have presumably had more nerves than they’ve had in their life to date. The only other trio below 50% were the Flames fourth forward line of Lucic (49.18%), Rooney (48.75%), and Ritchie (45.92%).
Under Pressure –
Calgary spiked above that second pressure line 6 times getting two goals in those high pressure points of the game. The Islanders got above that line once and got two goals. This calls for an audible sigh.
Taken By Chance – Only 2 Flames had a negative high danger chance ratio – Nikita Zadorov (45.60 SCF% // 43.75 HDCF%) who was barely below and Nick DeSimone who had a net of zero for and zero against. Connor Mackey (70.22% // 100%) and Elias Lindholm (57.73% // 100%) went without seeing a 5v5 high danger look against them. Rasmus Andersson (62.44% // 63.33%) was involved in 11 high danger opportunities leading the team in that category.
xG Breakdown –
That one extra goal Calgary expected, just so happens the Islanders found it. Weegar was letting that puck go frequently.
xGF% – Outside of DeSimone (12.29 xGF%) the only player below 50% was Nikita Zadorov (47.81%). It cannot be understated how much Calgary deserved to win this game – but you have to play a full 60 minutes. Last year the team’s top players knew that and got It done, this year the top players are struggling to close out games. The third period on Monday saw the Flames look more like the pre-Sutter team that sat back and let play come towards them rather than the play drivers they are. If they can replicate the first period effort for every period they’ll get back to where they need to be in the standings.
Game Flow –
Maps that drift that far in one direction usually end in wins for the team that pushed it that far. Not right now with Calgary.
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
Calgary had an uphill battle from the start going against Ilya Sorokin – if you don’t know who he is check the vezina ballots at the end of the year, his name will be near the top. They did everything they could and then some and still couldn’t find that one extra goal.
In The Crease – Not a crazy performance but a solid one. 2.10 expected goals against with two high danger goals and one medium danger goal going in. Hard to clean up rebounds on the Lee goal – the defenders have to box out on those. It also is very difficult for the goaltender to stop shots after a pass goes directly through 4 bodies in the slot right on the tape of the shooter. Calgary may have controlled play but there were still glaring holes in their defensive coverage at times.
Today’s Specials – We can talk about the absolute nonsense that Calgary went without a power play in this game. Having players tripped on clear rushes or their goalie taken out while playing the puck went uncalled, only for them to whistle Andersson down in the overtime. What he did was a penalty in most games – indeed – but when you haven’t called anything why are you all of a sudden doing it in the most crucial time of the game? Calgary didn’t lose because of the officiating, but it certainly wasn’t at a professional level.
Player Spotlight – Tyler Toffoli – A contributor to what was a stronger performance by his entire line. Toffoli actively contributed to keeping possession and play on the boards extend, something that trio of players have struggled to do. With a quiet 9 points in 11 games, he’s found ways to be involved in the scoring too. Lindholm’s goal came at 5v5 too breaking the lines streak of not scoring a goal at that strength. Toffoli is playing better than some are giving credit – you’ve got to remember he’s never been a 60 point guy.
The Goals –
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Mikael Backlund
2) Elias Lindholm
3) MacKenzie Weegar
The Flames next game is Tuesday night from New Jersey at 5 p.m. MT.
(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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