Now that was a fun game. In all my life the Battle of Alberta has never meant more than the match we just saw. Sure there were no fights or open ice annihilations, but this game kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. I particularly enjoyed it more as a Flames fan, and I’m damn sure there’s a bitter taste in a whole bunch of Edmontonians mouths this morning. With that being said, let’s see how the numbers got laid out.
Corsi King - Now nobody in the league can successfully match up against Connor McDavid’s speed, but Mark Giordano (68.42%) and TJ Brodie (65.85%) had real good possession numbers despite getting that shutdown matchup. All put together 15/18 skaters finished above 50% in CF stats, which should happen because the Oilers bottom 6 (bottom 8 actually) are atrocious in every way.
Corsi Clown - While one D pair were on top, one was at the bottom. Noah Hanifin & Travis Hamonic (both 38.89%) were who Tippett tried to get McDavid out against, and it worked with him gathering enough speed to set a jet to space and burn right by both of them after an untimely pinch in the neutral zone by Hanifin. A little more awareness of who you should pinch on and who you shouldn’t would be nice for this pair. The only forward who the Oilers had the puck more than in this game? Zac Rinaldo (43.48%)
Taken By Chance - With 12 chances, TJ Brodie had the most chances out of any Flame at 5v5 while Mark Giordano had the best % at 78.57%. Tops amongst our forwards was Andrew Mangiapane at 66.67%. He may have been egregiously offside, but that backhand non goal was realllly slick to watch. Mange is really coming into his own this year. Tremendous 6th round pick value.
xGF% - We’ve touched on ⅔ Flames D-pairings already, but now it’s time for Rasmus Andersson and Oliver Kylington to bring the BOOM. both guys had over 80% (that’s ridiculous) in xGF% tonight. Hardly any quality chances against them, while helping create plenty of offense themselves. My theory on why is because McDavid tried to go out against the HH pair and Ward would counter it with Gio-Brods. This left Razz & Kyl to play against the rest of the Oilers minor league roster, and with great success too.
Game Flow -
The Flames were the dominant team for most of the night, but again they also trailed or were tied the entire middle of the game. They didn’t have the chance to fall into “protect the lead” mode this game, which shows me there’s absolutely potential for this team inside that dressing room. Hopefully the Flames can keep the 5 game streak going with more play like this, and against better, more rounded teams than the Oilers.
Game Score - Mark Giordano (2.08) and Elias Viktor Zebulon Lindholm (1.86) were tops, but another player I’ve been wanting to step up did last night in a big game. Johnny Gaudrea was 3rd in Game Score at 1.85 and i love it. We need more of Johnny controlling possession, dangling through the neutral zone and making opponents look just plain lost. Hamonic (-1.05) had the worst game score amongst Flames, and is not exactly having a good contract year for himself. I wrote about his resurgence last season, but he’s not found that this year. Maybe we’ll put the bubble cage back on him for maximum Hammer power.
Shot Heatmap -
The Flames have been very adept at getting in right on goalies for chances lately cycling the puck low and avoiding the majority of low % shots from far out In saying that both Johnny and Lindy’s goals came from far out, on some not so stellar play from Koskinen. The D did a great job if limiting slot chances against, forcing the only McDavid goal to come off an absolutely nuclear rush.
Player Spotlight - Matthew Tkachuk - You didn’t think I’d make it all the way through this without talking about Chucky and Zack Kassian did you? Matthew Tkachuk knows he pisses people off, and doesn’t care if he gets ragdolled or called a turtle by anyone. He’s got 7 million reasons a year to blow off all the comments about him. Did he turtle? Yes of course. Did he get what he wanted? Absolutely, he got his team the powerplay, on a double minor at that. Should Oilers fans also be happy Kassian kicked the crap out of Tkachuk? Of course, he does deserve it. Matt plays like a pest and expects (and wants) that kind of retaliation all the time. Bottom line here is Chucky stepped up, and did something to help his team get the win, while leapfrogging 3 divisional rivals into first place at the same time. Bravo.
Flash’s 3 Stars - Analytic Stars, not necessarily those who scored, but those who played strong the entire game.
- Mark Giordano - 1 A, 68.42 CF%, 63.48 xGF%, 78.57 SCF%
- Johnny Gaudreau - 1 G, 1 A, 57.58 CF%, 75.72 xGF%, 52.94 SCF%
- Rasmus Andersson - 62.96 CF%, 83.08 xGF%, 55.56 SCF%
HM: TJ Brodie, Oliver Kylington, Zack Kassian.
Lots of good Flames performances last night, can NOT wait for the next BOA.
(All stats compiled from NaturalStatTrick.com, GameScore from HockeyStatCards.com)