He’s a heartbreaker, his name is Mikael, and no it’s not Backlund. This one stings, deep inside my soul I still feel absolutely slighted by the man, the myth, the legend that is Mikael Granlund. The Flames played so well too, getting 55.86 CF% SVA in 53:29, 67.91 SCF%, 69.85 HDCF%, and 64.47% xGF%. The Flames dominated against a team that wasn’t the Red Wings or the Senators, and I was SO EXCITED. Then Ryan Ellis decides to play like an MVP and Mikael Granlund plays hero and destroys my soul. UGH.
Corsi King - Third game in a row the 3M2.0 line has led the team in just about everything. Matthew Tkachuk takes this games crown at 75.39 CF% (5v5 SVA). Big bounce back game after a truly poor performance from Derek Ryan (68.79%) and Dillon Dube (57.57%) who after Boston both scored under 20%.
Corsi Clown - Mark Jankowski (36.64%) was the only one below 40%. Top line guys struggled, but at this point the “top line” of 13-23-28 is easily not our first line right now. Only 2 defencemen finished under 50, Derek Forbort (48.75%) and Erik Gustafsson (48.76%).
Taken By Chance - Every single Flames player had a SCF% (SVA) over 50%. I never thought I’d see that from this team, but Nashville allowed a LOT of chances in the game. The leader? Milan Lucic (82.25%) paced the whole team while Noah Hanifin (80.74%) ran the back end. Hanifin - Andersson looks stronger than i could’ve ever imagined after watching Hanifin - Hamonic crash into oblivion almost nightly.
xGF% - Womp womp womp. Johnny Gaudreau (41.33%), Sean Monahan (42.81%), and Elias Lindholm (43.48%) didn’t get the quality chances i expected of them. They got about 3.35 HDCF vs. 2.7 against, but just a bit underwhelming. Give some of Nashville’s guys credit, they targeted this line and it worked, but this probably wasn’t the line to focus on.
Game Flow -
The site kept crashing as I was trying to get the 5v5 SVA chart, so I resorted to using the regular 5v5 chart. Basically if we had the SVA chart it would show you the Flames controlled the play even more than this one shows you. I know what you’re gonna say: “the only stats that matter are goals and wins”. Yeah those are what ultimately win, and get you to playoffs, but if you ignore all the tools at your disposal for blind ignorance you’ll get nowhere but consistent failure. This was a blip, and I want the Flames to play this style of hockey (minus the collapse) more often.
Game Score - You would think Mikael Backlund (4.84) with his huge game would be tops, but he came in 2nd to Rasmus Andersson (4.84) who played miraculously defensively last night. Rittich (-1.15) was the worst of everyone in this stat, Sean Monahan (-0.77) followed him. Other notable scores belonged to Tkachuk (3.09), Mangiapane (3.06) and Noah Hanifin (3.01)
Shot Heatmap -
Limited chances? Check. Limited quality of chances? Check. Got a bunch of quality chances yourselves? Check. Cruise to victory? Syntax Error.
In The Crease - A lot of twitter heat coming down on David Rittich last night. I wish I could say I was exempt, but post-game I was fairly pissed off. Then I do the sensible thing and look at his entire performance over the night, where he but forth a solid outing. He faced 2.06 expected goals against (I’m sorry if Carlo Coliacovo doesn’t understand what that means) at 5v5 and only allowed 2 goals. Rittich stopped all 16 light-duty shots against, allowing just 1 HD and 1 MD goal.
When you expand this to include all situations (OT and 6v5 play) the last 2 goals Rittich allowed were HD chances against. Those aren’t ever all on him, it’s your defence’s job to limit those chances and allow as few of them as possible. So while i know this loss especially stings, It’s not worth starting a goalie controversy over.
Player Spotlight - Rasmus Andersson - I have been neglecting our defensive stud for a while and I just wanted to highlight another strong performance from him. His advanced stat line from last night: 63.77 CF%, 75.30 xGF%, 79.79 SCF%, 92.14 HDCF%. (Hanifin had 100 HDCF%). 6 more years of this, with him also showing more progression as time goes on, at UNDER 5 million a year. His ability to work off Hanifin’s game has also raised his back up to acceptable top 4 D standards. With Giordano back (and playing with Brodie) and a reinforced 3rd pair, the Flames do look quite a bit better. When (and IF) Hamonic comes back this top 4 configuration should not be touched, assuming the current play doesn’t falter too much.
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars -
- Mikael Backlund
- Matthew Tkachuk
- Andrew Mangiapane
I feel no guilt awarding these three the top spots for the 3rd game in a row, what a road trip they’re having. HM: Noah Hanifin.
(All stats compiled from NaturalStatTrick.com // Game Score from HockeyStatCards.com // For all Q’s and inquiries see @Flash_33 on Twitter)