Calgary continues to play quality hockey games against top competition as they played a tough contest against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tampa really came out for the second period and gave Calgary fits eventually getting the tying goal. Calgary found a quick 2-goal cushion on great plays by Matthew Tkachuk and Trevor Lewis in the final minute of the second which allowed them to play a no-nonsense third period with some goal insurance on the board. No I did not say the eventual goal scorers I said the two guys that made the aggressive play to cause the goal. A 4-1 win against a big opponent in the middle of maybe their toughest week of the year – sounds pretty darn good.
CF% – 51.56%, SCF% – 49.32%, HDCF% – 47.11%, xGF% – 47.05%
It’s a Team Game – Very even amongst the two teams in terms of all chances taken, danger classification of chances and quality of each individual chance. Most of the time when reading post-game stat lines you can see the picture the game painted (who was playing better during which period) but in this contest it’s a very tricky read. Calgary’s last minute of the second period had as much danger and quality as everything the Lightning had got that whole period. An interesting game that showed no doubt both of these teams can play dominant hockey for stretches of play.
Corsi King – Matthew Tkachuk (71.19 CF%) got the name drop in the lead because he was the one who drove the net in the first place on Johnny Gaudreau’s (61.81%) second goal. He comes from behind the net to drive the crease – doing so created havoc which allowed JG13 to scoop the puck up and bank it in again. Someone just takes that angle without a net scrum first and the goaler has his posts covered – great play by Tkachuk to initiate the chaos. Erik Gudbranson (62.60%) has been on a possession tear of late.
Corsi Clown – Tampa had to take advantage of someone and that someone seems to be Sean Monahan (38.18 CF%) a lot these days. Heck even Stamkos is trying to beat him up – hey Stammer he’s only ever fought Ryan Nugent-Hopkins he isn’t about to throw hands with you when the score is 4-1 late in third, regardless or not if you agreed with the hit earlier. Poor Sean just keeps getting it from everywhere.
Taken By Chance – The place where even if a player was outshot on the ice they usually end up limiting how many high-danger chances go against them. Noah Hanifin (41.10 SCF% // 49.30 HDCF%) saw 5 high danger chances against which could go unnoticed because he was also in on 5 high danger chances for. Five is quite a bit to give up, but Tampa does have some pretty potent superstars. Elias Lindholm (58.84% // 66.19%), Matthew Tkachuk (70.74% // 66.19%) and Andrew Mangiapane (60.99% // 59.82%) all were able to create more danger than they surrendered.
xGF% – Tyler Toffoli (24.35 xGF%), Blake Coleman (27.91%), and Adam Ružička (28.09%) were personally victimized by the Tampa team in the second period. Spent a lot of shifts getting hemmed in their own zone – but they never gave up a goal. Nice bounce back in quality share for Chris Tanev (60.98%) and Oliver Kylington (60.90%) – the latter of which looked more comfortable tonight after a string of games where his skates seemed to move faster than his hands at times.
Game Flow –
Just look at how much those Calgary chances were quantified as at the end of the 2nd period. Trevor Lewis deserves massive credit for digging that puck out of the board battle with 15 seconds and firing it on net. He missed but it went all the way up the boards to Gudbranson who was able to shoot it at Backlund’s stick for the deflection. Lewis doesn’t win that board battle that puck does NOT go in. Credit to Blake Coleman on that as well as he was pressured heavily – and physically too – to be separated from the puck and did not let that happen. They don’t get the primary points but those two and their work ethic late led to the third tally.
Game Score – Johnny Hattrick (3.70 game // 1.76 average) led the way with Matthew Tkachuk (2.28 // 1.66) just behind him. Johnny’s individual expected goal share was more than double any other Flames player – also was highest amongst both teams. Translated from calculator cowboy: Johnny was flying. Jacob Markstrom (2.17 // 0.33) was the only other Flame above 2.00 but we’ll gush over his performance in the goalie section.
Shot Heatmap –
If you wonder which team Calgary plays most like this year look at how both those teams create their offence. Low to high and the point shoots if there’s no net path from down low – but down-low attacking every chance you get. On the rush shots don’t come from distance unless you’re trailing – evidenced by Tampa’s heatmap as they trailed more often. Calgary is playing a very similar style to the defending champions – I’m getting way too excited for playoffs. don’t hurt me now Flames, please.
In The Crease – 2.63 expected goals against with just one high-danger chance getting by him. Had the forwards not missed their neutral zone assignments then Colton would have been covered by a D-man on that chance. There were some ridiculous saves made by Markstrom throughout the entire night as he put on a show. Calgary can justifiably play with all that swagger they do every night because they know if they do mess up the great wall of Sweden is back there to help them out.
Today’s Specials – A power play goal against any top team is a massive bonus – especially when that goal is the first one of the game. Back that up with a penalty kill that was able to keep Tampa from even gaining the attacking zone for over 2 minutes on a double minor and you are going to be one tough out. I just hope nothing gets too stagnant going into the playoffs on the PP – it can be a huge help in getting out of the first round if it’s firing.
Player Spotlight – Johnny Gaudreau – Johnny Bankshot Backcheck Hat-trick Gaudreau heard his name chanted from the rooftops of the Saddledome after a massive performance against the 2-time defending Stanley Cup Champs. He’s on pace for over 110 points and doesn’t look like he’s going to stop anytime soon. Tonight, linemate Matthew Tkachuk was massive in helping him find his goals and other nights it’s Elias Lindholm – one of the major differences for Johnny this year is he’s never alone out there as everyone is always going their hardest.
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Johnny Gaudreau
2) Jacob Markstrom
3) Matthew Tkachuk
The Flames will host Detroit on Saturday at 5 p.m. MT.
(Stats compiled from Naturalstattrick.com // Game Score from Hockeystatcards.com)
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