Well, that was a pretty fun hockey game to watch. The Flames put their big guns in for a night and they didn’t disappoint. It’s unfortunate they lost, but some younger members of this club played well tonight. Albeit against the Seattle (Half) Kraken. Not quite everyone was on every aspect of their game, but that’s why they play the warmup games – so when it matters everyone’s ready to rumble.
CF% – 49.97%, SCF% – 65.21%, HDCF% – 57.44%, xGF% – 50.92%
It’s a Team Game – The team was pushed back pretty good from a Kraken squad that is still new to each other. Calgary was able to secure the majority of the high danger opportunities, but when the Kraken did get their chances, they were more lethal. Odd make up for a stat line, it really tells me that the structure was mostly there, and with more time the small defensive holes are going to close… for the most part anyways. More on that later.
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Corsi King – Christopher Tanev (67.73%) I see you’re back in good form. Your young cohort Oliver Kylington (64.69%) was also on the heavy side here tonight. Complemented by two very talented wingers in Andrew Mangiapane (61.77%) and Johnny Gaudreau (60.75%). It’s nice to see some strong performances.
Corsi Clown – Still some kinks to work out. After a really strong first period the top line struggled to limit opportunities against them. The puck really came back towards their own net more than they got it into the Kraken end. Blake Coleman (35.03%), Matthew Tkachuk (38.35%), and Elias Lindholm (40.42%) were all just playing in their first pre-season game as well, and for the first time together in a game, ever. I’m not really concerned about these three in the long run.
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Taken By Chance – Who was on the ice for no scoring chances against at all tonight? Johnny Gaudreau. Who also didn’t generate a high danger chance tonight? Johnny Gaudreau. Johnny had the puck lots, but the Kraken did a good job of keeping him to the outside. Not every team in the league are projected to have a decent defence like the Kraken – that bodes well in Johnny’s favour.
Worth noting that those with the most High Danger chances tonight were Chris Tanev and Juuso Valimaki with three each. Rasmus Andersson (44.44 SCF%) was pretty even at 4 chances for and 5 against, but on a Darryl Sutter team you want to iron that down as low as you can. He never got burned by a goal though, Darth Vladar made that happen for him.
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xGF% – At the top with a ridiculously good performance Oliver Kylington (82.33%). I’m going to give him a whole paragraph later on, right now I want to discuss someone else making a strong lineup push – Glenn Gawdin (78.06%). He’s playing defensive hockey and he’s playing it very well. Very strong performance tonight, as well as being quite noticeable in Vancouver. Tonight, he played with potential linemates Milan Lucic (78.06%) and Trevor Lewis (77.78%). Darryl gave him an opportunity – he’s noticeably trying to seize it.
Andersson (16.14%) and Nikita Zadorov (24.20%) struggled again in this one. Next time I’d really hope to expect some movement in a positive direction. Then again sometimes it takes time to mesh. It’s the pre-season, make your mistakes now while there’s no points on the line.
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Game Flow –
Seattle pushed forward earlier in the game. Follows with what I witnessed – slow out of the gate. The second slowly saw them grind their way back into it, with some players really shaking off the rust here, before finally taking control in the early third, and maintaining that pressure enough for Backlund to tie it late.
Shot Heatmap –
This heatmap I like a lot better than what I was seeing last year. In 2020-21 there was a high volume of shots that came from the island of the left point – kind of like Seattle’s map. This was because Giordano loved to shoot the puck.  This version of the defence was trying to get the puck closer to the net, for better scoring chances. I don’t know if it’s intentional or not yet because it was one game, but I’d love that trend to continue.
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In The Crease – Dan Vladar got a full look tonight in the Flames crease. The only even strength goals he allowed tonight were both directly in the slot. Maybe you want the Gio backhander back a little bit, but otherwise you were solid. Kept his team in it and didn’t allow any bad goals – To me this was a good outing for him. He showed he can keep the team in a game and gave them a chance to win. 0.97 expected goals against at 5v5, 2 goals against. As the team around him tightens up defensively his job will get easier too.
Today’s Specials – The top power play unit was out there a few times and they were able to get some chances. They sustained pressure and got off chances, even broke into the zone to set up, something they struggled with at times last year. It was good to see them play positively. Juuso Valimaki could be a little cleaner with his passing on the PP. Tried to force it on a couple of occasions and the Kraken were able to break up the play and clear the zone.
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Player Spotlight – Oliver Kylington – He was the Flames best player tonight. No ifs, ands or buts. We’ve always known that Kylington could skate, but tonight he combined that with strong defensive play. He let one chance through while he was out there tonight, one. Unfortunately, it burned him. That didn’t rattle him at all, and he went out in the last minute of overtime and took the whole game over. Overtime stats are not captured in these 5v5 statistics, so on top of his already fantastic game he dominated overtime. Hit the post, just missed the net in tight, all night kept fighting for a spot on the team. He impressed tonight, he impressed big time.
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Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Oliver Kylington
2) Mikael Backlund
3) Chris Tanev
The Flames next pre-season action is Fri., Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. MT against the Vancouver Canucks. It’ll be covered right here at FlamesNation.
(Stats compiled from Naturalstattrick.com)