A game where Calgary’s special teams came to shine. One where their top talent was the top talent on the ice. They get a performance from Markström reminiscent of how he was playing to start the season. All of these things together and Calgary walks away with an impressive performance against the juggernaut Florida Panthers.
CF% – 53.71%, SCF% – 57.88%, HDCF% – 56.04%, xGF% – 45.81%
It’s a Team Game – Calgary gets the majority of the chances in this game, and a significant 10-8 advantage in high-danger opportunities. They easily played their best hockey in the first half of the second period. Great timing to push back after entering the second frame with a 2-0 lead. It allowed them to keep the game close, even finding a response almost right after Sam Bennett cut the lead to 1.
Corsi King – Erik Gudbranson (63.69%) did not let Florida get anything significant tonight. He was extremely well positioned on the PK in this one while spending plenty of time in the Panthers zone at 5v5. Andrew Mangiapane (63.57%) and his new line should remain intact, a strong outing from that trio.
Corsi Clown – The Panthers are a very strong team with fantastic depth. They outmatched the Flames bottom line fairly easily in terms of possessing the puck and being in the Flames defensive zone, but hardly generated anything of significance against them. So while Brett Ritchie (30.92 CF%), Brad Richardson (37.38%), and Trevor Lewis (42.86%) may have had bad ratios, they did get it done where it mattered today (limiting high danger chances). You don’t expect your fourth line to get you goals, though you do expect them to not get scored on. Flames had theirs do the latter.
Taken By Chance – Erik Gudbranson (63.61 SCF% // 80.54 HDCF%) was naturally the one player needed to take down Florida. The man seriously had himself a really good game, Nikita Zadorov (59.90% // 72.07%) as well. In terms of who had the least chances against them overall for Calgary it was Gudbranson. Sean Monahan (55.65% // 51.13%) was able to find success, Noah Hanifin (70.40% // 50.12%) and Rasmus Andersson (70.40% // 50.12%) as well.
xGF% – I’ve waited to talk about them until we got here: Top line appreciation time. Johnny Gaudreau (61.09 xGF%), Matthew Tkachuk (57.74%), and Elias Lindholm (55.22%) can go up against any team in the league right now and find success. Darryl Sutter had tremendous praise for Elias Lindholm recently, and right off the hop Lindholm was in the attacking zone pestering defenceman for turnovers. He’s a Selke front-runner this season, and it’s rightfully deserved.
Game Flow –
You can see Calgary came to play coming out in the 2nd period. The sudden turn in tide came at the Bennett goal, but Calgary was able to go toe-to-toe with the titans after it in terms of xG creation. Solid showing by Calgary in a much needed win.
Game Score – Johnny Gaudreau (4.15 game // 1.57 average) gets the big score over 4 with Matthew Tkachuk (2.99 // 1.48) being the guy right behind him. Jacob Markström (2.20 // 0.26) and Sean Monahan (2.14 // 0.38) are the other guys over 2. Really good stuff from Calgary with over 70% of the team finishing with positive scores.
Shot Heatmap –
Andrew Mangiapane gets a shoutout here because he made several awesome plays in driving the puck to the net in this game. One such attempt got him an assist as Blake Coleman went shelf on a sharp angle rebound (below). He just bleeds chances around the net, if Coleman can gain a bit more chemistry with him he could start cashing in more frequently.
In The Crease – Mentioned earlier, Markström had himself a very strong game. 2.28 expected goals against in just shy of 49 mins at 5v5. Only goal to beat him was a high danger opportunity and it was old friend of the Flames Sam Bennett because… well of course it was him. Markström was especially aggressive on the Penalty Kill, specifically on the 4-on-3 they faced. He was cutting across to get to potential one-timers with speed, but most of them went off a defenceman’s shinpads. If Markström has got himself back in tune after a mystery ailment Calgary could benefit tremendously.
Today’s Specials – Power play was something star Johnny Gaudreau mentioned in his post-game interview with Ryan Leslie of Sportsnet that the Flames had worked on in their extensive stretch of practicing. It looked like It with a lot more movement of the players themselves. As the players get less stationary the more opportunities arrive in terms of ever-changing passing/shooting lanes. Allows for more offence to find the extremely skilled playmakers, playmakers like Johnny Gaudreau.
Player Spotlight – Johnny Gaudreau – You see the tweet above this? The math actually translates to 100.7 points in 82 games, but I felt I wanted to be nice and I rounded upwards (yes I know that’s not the proper way to do it but 101 looked better than 100). That little argument is moot though because either way you bake that cake it still has 100 points involved. 4 Assists tonight for Gaudreau – and he keeps on rollin’. A pleasure to get to watch his creativity every single night.
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Johnny Gaudreau
2) Matthew Tkachuk
3) Jacob Markstrom
The Flames next game is the Battle of Alberta, which has always delivered in terms of entertainment in recent years. Saturday from Edmonton – broadcast on Hockey Night in Canada and always covered by FlamesNation.
(Stats compiled from Naturalstattrick.com // Game Score from Hockeystatcards.com)
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