From the moment the puck hit the ice the Edmonton Oilers were all over the Calgary Flames in all three sections. The Flames defence pairings couldn’t stop a possessive zone entry in the second period, and it allowed McDavid and Draisaitl to walk right in and make plays happen in the crease. They weren’t able to dictate long stretches of play on back-to-back shifts until the third frame, but it wasn’t anywhere near enough. I will credit the Oilers players – they were winning the race to the puck almost every time – but I felt Calgary as a team weren’t anywhere up to their top level.
CF% – 48.38%, SCF% – 51.32%, HDCF% – 48.03%, xGF% – 48.32%
It’s a Team Game – The numbers from the third period swayed the numbers closer to even – through two it was Oilers running away with it. Calgary had some really dangerous chances to score in the third a few times too – the Oilers goaltender came up with the saves. The positive there for Calgary is they were able to find a bit of a pushback. They need to have that to start Game 4 if they want to be able to stick to their structure and not loosen up to try and find goals.
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Corsi King – Michael Stone (66.06 CF%) has been the Flames most consistent defenceman on a nightly basis since he got back. Always being on the positive side of the shot share it’s a reason he’ll most likely stay in the lineup. I’m going to be honest if Tanev has an injury serious enough for him to sit out – after playing last year with broken ribs – it’s got to be significant. I don’t think we’ll see a change in who plays on the blueline – maybe just more shuffles of who plays with who. Too many blunders are happening back there.
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Corsi Clown – Erik Gudbranson (30.48%) had a much more mobile partner in Oliver Kylington (38.65%) and the coverage chemistry was a bit off. The rush coverages where the Oiler’s found numbers were all that burned them. Amongst the whole team – all the goals were off rushes by McDavid or Draisaitl. The Oilers have 15 goals in the series – just 3 don’t feature McDavid or Draisaitl. People can talk smack all they want but right now they have the advantage on the scoreboard and in the series. If the Flames don’t get back into a heavy possession game to keep the puck off McDavid’s stick, he is going to continue to burn them – he only needs half a second and about 1 foot of ice.
Taken By Chance – Whatever anybody does do not go blaming the Mikael Backlund (81.03 SCF% // 100 HDCF%), Andrew Mangiapane (79.19% // 100%), and Blake Coleman (69.05% // 100%) who didn’t see a high danger chance go against them. They weren’t crazy heavy in advantage of possession time – but they out-defended and attacked their competition. Some nights you hope it turns into goals, didn’t take in Game 3. On the flip side Johnny Gaudreau (40.37% // 14.18%) and Matthew Tkachuk (46.81% // 25.79%) got done in for 6 high danger chances against each. McDavid (49.87% // 68.96%) was all over the Flames top players again – playing like the superstar he is.
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xGF% – Calle Jarnkrok (34.68 xGF%) has had some rougher games lately. He usually ends up on the better side of the quality share in a significant fashion but he’s struggled against the Oilers depth. It’s surprised me the most that facet of this match-up – Calgary had the extra deep lines before the start of the series but to this point the third line hasn’t been able to get much in offensive results. If they aren’t scoring at least being on the positive side of the puck is what you want to see and they were chasing it at times. Checking for the puck is good, chasing for the puck is not.
Game Flow –
Not very many of these this year where the line never dipped once into Calgary’s area. Those slight touches at the end aside, it wasn’t a good start for the Flames. One really bad stretch in the second period defending rush chances aside and Calgary still had the resemblance of a decent game – but they made some crucial mistakes in a game where they had the chance to take a lead. This team got through Dallas, but did it last minute. They still have yet to show they can put their foot down and run a team over early in a series.
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Game Score – you have to scroll down to the eighth overall most impactful game score to find the first Flame – Michael Stone (1.32 game // 1.03 average). That’s about all the positives for the Flames out of this one – 12 skaters and the starting goalie all finished with negative scores. That kind of thing may have only happened to Calgary a handful of times this season.
Shot Heatmap –
Mike Smith stopped some goals that should have been goals for the Flames tonight. You can really see Evander Kane’s hat trick being all from the same spot on the ice. The map tells it the way it is – the Oilers had more volume and danger. They also were able to get results from their danger – Calgary drew a blank in the high danger areas.
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In The Crease – Markstrom is finally back to good form and the defence just gives the Oilers top line nothing but walks up the golden alley to score. All three of Evander Kane’s goals came from somewhere within a stick blades length of the blue paint – and they all came off the rush. All of those goals lie on the responsibility of the team in front of him for allowing that to happen. Too many times the Oilers are spinning off the Flames checks and gaining the middle ice lane to drive the net – a nightmare for any goaltender. Markstrom: 1.80 expected goals against with 3 high danger goals and 1 medium danger goal against. Vladar: 0.29 expected goals against with none getting by him. There’s no controversy for what it’s worth – Markstrom starts again, always.
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Today’s Specials – Hyman’s goal won’t register as a power play one, but it may as well have. The PP had just expired and the zone entry was possible because the Flames only had 4 defenders to shore up the line. As much as you try you can’t plug up the holes down a man every single time – McDavid entered with dangerous speed and was able to find his teammates. Hyman got another one with no traffic by the Flames goaltender but without the proper manpower back in position he wasn’t contested enough.
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Player Spotlight – Elias Lindholm – I’ve got no commentary on his coverage of McDavid because I honestly wouldn’t want to be in that position right now. Nobody can say anything because of the level McDavid is currently playing at – you’d be naive to say it’s not something you’ve seen through any three-game stretch of the last 20 years. Anyways, Lindholm has to not only try and stop this man but also people are crying for more top line offence. If Lindholm cheats too low in the offensive zone he knows McDavid and his speed will burn him – so he has to play higher above the slot which is causing more possession changes from lost races for the puck. Ultimately this leads to less lengthy attack times for Calgary and more time with the puck on McDavid’s stick. Kind of a damned if you do/damned if you don’t situation. There’s a lot going on for him on a nightly basis right now – patience while he adjusts is necessary.
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Mikael Backlund
2) Michael Stone
3) Andrew Mangiapane
The Flames trail 2 games to 1 – Game 4 is Tuesday in Edmonton with a 7:30 p.m. MT start time.
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(Stats compiled from Naturalstattrick.com // Game Score from Hockeystatcards.com)

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