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Beyond the Boxscore Weekly: The Flames need someone to be a difference maker

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
5 months ago
Another week down and the Calgary Flames spent the most of it piling up regulation losses. The guys they are paying to be their difference makers can’t seem to register any consistent goals despite spending most of their time in the offensive zone. Oh, and the fanbase has stirred itself into a tilly because this is starting to look like a rerun of the previous season instead of something new like they were promised/expected. At least their starting goaltender has been a bright spot – not eliminating all the weak goals from his game, but doing more than enough in every start to keep Calgary in it until late.
5v5 SVACF%SCF%HDCF%xGF%
G4 @ BUF61.19%59.48%66.47%64.09%
G5 @ CBJ48.05%52.32%68.24%56.59%
G6 @ DET53.43%51.04%68.56%62.34%
G7 vs. NYR63.68%60.24%75.10%70.67%
Summary56.59%55.77%69.59%63.42%
What are we wanting out of the Flames other than more goals – because lets be real, they are still limiting chances at one of the best levels in the National Hockey League. They can certainly be stronger on their rush defence, but as a whole they don’t let teams shoot from the middle of the ice and do a great job at smothering anyone that tries to cut inside.
The real area of contention is the high danger chances, because although Calgary is getting better at getting shots near the net they aren’t as dangerous as one would think.
The Flames are good at getting shots off from beside the net but still aren’t penetrating or choosing to shoot from the medium/high slot. Goalies can square up a whole lot easier when they can lean on their short side post and the Flames just aren’t shooting enough from the middle. Nor is there any sort of successful passing game through the royal road.
The problems right now can directly be summed up by looking at the giant blue sea in the middle of the chart – so while they may be dominating ratios it’s more from strong defensive play than it is pushing the pace on offence. Sean Monahan used to sacrifice everything he had to make sure he was in that spot, now the Flames can’t get anyone to skate the puck there and take a shot.
They need to be way more dangerous with their “dangerous” chances – and not be scared to shoot from the middle of the ice when given the opportunity.

This week’s risers

  • Andrew Mangiapane – CF%: 64.49%, SCF%: 64.44%, HDCF%: 68.42%, xGF%: 73.75%
It does not matter who his linemates are or what deployment he is getting Andrew Mangiapane has been the most dangerous Flame on the year so far. The bar for that is unbelievably low but he has set himself ahead of the pack. He’s still got that 30-goal potential and if left to play with Backlund and Coleman (or Huberdeau and Lindholm) he should be able to produce enough himself. It would help if his linemates would shoot or take better opportunities too.
  • Chris Tanev – CF%: 62.38%, SCF%: 67.50%, HDCF%: 85%, xGF%: 73.05%
Is it weird to say it feels like Tanev has contributed more to the offence of this team at 5v5 then the rest of the other defenceman? Most of his prime metrics are fuelled by his ability to play top notch defence against anybody in the league, but keeping possession alive at the blueline or picking up the puck along the boards after a dump in are areas where Tanev shows excelling at the little things matter. Andersson being out so long hurts a lot less when the guy getting more minutes as a result is on of the best pure defensive defenceman in NHL history.

This week’s fallers

  • Rasmus Andersson – CF%: 41.56%, SCF%: 40%, HDCF%: 53.33%, xGF%: 44.40%
During the games he played he was less than a top level contributor but now his dumb butt is sitting in the press box suspended after a late shot to Patrick Laine. He hurts his team more off the ice then on it though and the team can only hope when he returns he comes back with a vengeance. Not going to lie – he owes them at least that much.

HockeyViz.com charts

These charts aren’t this week only they are the year to date. For those that keep coming back you’ll be able to see them change significantly as more and more games occur.

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