No team is going to win 82 games in a season and Calgary is no different. The Flames that burn hot and bright early didn’t arrive for this game on a a snowy Thursday night in March – hardly anything to worry long-term about. The Habs aren’t the pushover team they were earlier in the year (and they beat Calgary then too) and are playing with more passion than many would give them credit for. Combine a night where Calgary didn’t have its grade A level until the last half of the third with a few questionable goals against and the result is a missed point in the standings.
CF% – 53.09%, SCF% – 52.67%, HDCF% – 55.72%, xGF% – 53.63%
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It’s a Team Game – The first period saw the Habs take the majority of all the chances and get out of it with a 1-1 tie thanks to some shoddy defensive coverage by Calgary. As the game went on Calgary did get better – eventually the dominant Flames showed up for the last 5 minutes and were able to tie the game. I do have questions about the quality of the ice as the puck seemed to be bouncing all over the place the whole game. Players couldn’t corral it and had trouble receiving passes. It was the first time the Dome had been full capacity in quite some time the body heat could have messed with the ice – just a conspiracy theory from yours truly. Both teams played in equal conditions though and the Habs were able to get Calgary to play down to a lower level than they normally play.
Corsi King – Trevor Lewis (86.02 CF%) was the most noticeable Flame in the first 10 minutes of the game. Someone put some adrenaline in his pre-game meal because he was rolling off the hop. The usual suspects on forward finished with great chance ratios too with Matthew Tkachuk (66.77%) topping his line and Blake Coleman (66.54%) leading his. Really only one line got significantly outmatched tonight in terms of chances against.
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Corsi Clown – Milan Lucic (23.58%), Sean Monahan (29.17%), and Tyler Toffoli (32.02%) ended up getting buried in their own zone for 70+% of their time on the ice. Toffoli had some really dangerous moments, but most of them came on that top PP unit. Lucic has been struggling in this role for a few weeks now and it wouldn’t be a bad thing to send him back to the fourth line for a few games – he’s massively effective there. Dillon Dubé had some lessons to learn – we’ve seen that – but Dubé at a mid-tier effort still brings more potential offence and speed to the table than Ritchie does at his best effort. Ritchie can be an effective plug-in guy, but it’s more than time for Dubé to come back and try using his speed to set up Toffoli.
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Taken By Chance – 4 high danger chances against them while being involved in none themselves – Milan Lucic (20.14 SCF% // 0 HDCF%) and Sean Monahan (23.61% // 0%). On the flip side the Flames fourth line also got 4 high danger chances while seeing none against – the big difference there is the Flames fourth line couldn’t score. Trevor Lewis may have played his best game in a Flaming C and his linemates couldn’t finish off what he was creating. Rasmus Andersson (51.92% // 73.28%) in terms of total ice time is the Flames de facto number one defenceman. Smart at keeping plays alive down-low it’s good to see him collect the counting totals (assists) too.
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xGF% – The post-PK numbers effect is fully noticed here as Flames PK guys see a bit lower percentage by virtue of being on the ice when the penalty expires. The count switches immediately to 5v5 counting stats and if a player is hemmed in it can ding their numbers a bit. Players like Mikael Backlund (48.41 xGF%) and Elias Lindholm (47.80%) played significantly better than their quality share would indicate – need to keep an awareness of such things at all times when considering numbers like this.
Game Flow –
Can you pinpoint the moment Calgary woke up? That would be roughly 5 minutes into the third period. Montreal may be playing better hockey lately but for a team of Calgary’s calibre this was a bit disappointing. Again they aren’t going to win every game, and after 11 straight home wins they were due for a loss from somebody, but it would just feel better if the loss was to a team that has a shot at the playoffs this season.
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Game Score – Andrew Mangiapane led the Flames with 2.31. Most of the team was positive, though four Flames – Sean Monahan (-2.34), Milan Lucic (-1.89), Oliver Kylington (-1.65) and Jacob Markstrom (-1.47) were significantly in the red.
Shot Heatmap –
After the first period the Flames heatmap was quote barren so seeing that they got heavy in the Hamburglar’s kitchen in the last two periods is a welcome sign. Under Ducharme and Julien the Canadiens did play more structured defence but St. Louis is 6-4 in his first 10 so I’m not going to criticize him too much. What a great story for Andrew Hammond too – finding himself back in the NHL after multiple seasons in the AHL. Here at BTB we love a feel good story – go Hammond go (just not against the Flames anymore, ‘kay thanks).
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In The Crease – I’m just going to say it – Markstrom is going to want a couple of those goals back, specifically the regulation Chiarot goal. He didn’t have room to really challenge the shot, but anytime you get that much of the puck and it still finds its way across the line it stings. He is not about to get any rest either with the schedule the Flames have coming up so here’s hoping for a strong rebound performance against Colorado on Saturday. 2.22 expected goals against (it’s usually below 2! That’s another example of how much Calgary gave up to the Habs) with one high danger and two medium danger goals against. 5v5 SV% – 0.875%
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Today’s Specials – Nikita Zadorov got some PP2 time against Minnesota, but I felt at that time it was to preserve a lead. In this one Zadorov got some PP2 time, but I felt tonight it was to send Oliver Kylington a bit of a message. He was losing the puck on rushes, skating himself out of position and not being the steady presence we’d seen him be with Tanev the majority of the year. The kid had an off night, and the coach is usually good about wiping the slate clean for next game, but that’s what I noticed as per the whole Big Z on the power play.
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Player Spotlight – Andrew Mangiapane – I said before the year Mangiapane was gonna get 30 goals and here we are just one away. He’s been a crease driving, bouncing puck finding, chance generating machine ever since he first stepped into the NHL. His backhand goal tonight was something very few players could ever pull off and it seemed effortless to him. I know his agent was slinging some short-term contract nonsense on the radio recently, but this guy needs to be locked up for as many years as the Flames can get him to sign for. Remember how Nail Yakupov used to play like he was being chased around by bees – Mangiapane plays like those bees always in pursuit of the puck with a fierce relentlessness. Hence why we call him the Beekeeper.
All three Twitter links to goals tonight are from plays directly made by Mangiapane – man was directly involved in 3 goals tonight and those goals don’t happen without him.
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Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –  
1) Andrew Mangiapane
2) Blake Coleman
3) Trevor Lewis
The Flames next game is against the Colorado Avalanche Saturday night at 8 p.m. on Hockey Night in Canada. Buckle up, baby.
(Stats compiled from Naturalstattrick.com // Game Score from Hockeystatcards.com)

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