Without the disappointing, infuriating losses the hard fought, grinded out wins wouldn’t feel so sweet. This game definitely falls under the infuriating category for a multitude of reasons. The Jets out arguably their two biggest stars and the Flames just couldn’t muster enough to do much of anything. Flames came out slow (surprise!) but as the game went on completely grabbed control. They led in CF% (51.52), SCF% (53.13), and xGF% (53.77). The pushback in the third was especially positive, but dumb penalties, a bit of bad officiating, and an unfortunate bounce and we go into tomorrow with the series tied.
Corsi King - Johnny Gaudreau (70.59%) was absolutely flying out there, and he couldn’t buy a bounce. Every little thing that could have accidentally gone wrong in a clutch moment did, but he never quit and kept the pressure on until the final horn. More often than not when Gaudreau plays like this the Flames will find themselves with a W, unfortunately a weak powerplay cost them game 2.
Corsi Clown - Normally i’d ignore the abysmal numbers of the 4th line, but Zac Rinaldo for two games in a row has been nothing but a liability. This is the playoffs so i understand you want a physical presence, but that’s why we went out and got Lucic. Bennett, Tkachuk, and Forbort are also laying the body so instead of playing a guy that can’t compete at this speed on a nightly basis (I’m sorry Rhino, but it’s true) we insert someone into the lineup that could actually help. Depth scoring is needed in the playoffs and i have a hard time seeing us get enough long term from our current employment.
Taken by Chance - The man that got benched, Dillon Dube, leads this category. 7 chances for, only 2 against. A SCF% of 77.78. Oh also you read that right, the guy that was creating chances at the best ratio on the team got benched. Speaking of how well Dube was playing….
xGF% - …. He also led the team in getting quality chances. 78.21 xGF% and of the 3 5v5 high danger chances the Flames created he was on the ice for them. So this benching? Why? What did Geoff Ward see that was so bad when he was playing lights out, dominant hockey? That’s an answer we as fans should be entitled to know.
Game Flow -
The Flames got off to a slow start, hence the drop in the line towards the Jets side, but then held steady for most of the game. It’s honestly refreshing to see that when down by one the pushback becomes that much more intense, and that they do have the ability to dominate the game. The real question is why do they have to wait until it’s too late to do that, if you came out with that intensity from the start you could keep the opposition on their heels the whole game. Just thoughts.
Game Score - For a game that the Flames lost i haven’t really touched on the negatives from today. The Mark Giordano (-0.35) and TJ Brodie (-0.89) pairing have had a rough go in the first two games. If they can find their dominant form they had in the regular season while combining it with the solid play you’re getting from Noah Hanifin (1.37) and Rasmus Andersson (-0.06) and you could dominate early and for a long while. (Razz stat line: 56.52 CF%, 58.33 SCF%, 54.02 xGF% — negative game score comes from being on for an ev strength GA)
Shot Heatmap -
You see the white space between the Flames net and the green Heat bubble, that’s where you score goals. The Flames didn’t get there, AT ALL. Look where the Jets got their two goals from, and that’s quite literally the story of this game. If the Flames don’t get into Hellebyuck’s kitchen there’s not much else that’s gonna be cooked in Calgary this August.
In The Crease - Cam Talbot’s 5v5 numbers don’t look great, but that’s because he let the 2 high danger chances in. Again no weak goals and rock solid on the powerplay, can’t blame him for the Ehlers freak deflection. He’s really earned the crease as well as the right to play out the complete series with his steady play. He faced 1.16 expected goals against at 5v5 and let in 2. In the playoffs all you should ask from your goaltender is to make the easy saves, no weak goals, and that’s exactly what Talbs brought. I personally have confidence with him in net going into game 3.
Player Spotlight - Sean Monahan - a solid performance from Mony may not have gone noticed because he didn’t find the net. At 5v5 play Mony had a 68.75 CF%, only a 44.44 SCF%, but a 65.77 xGF%. The top line got out chanced 5 to 4, but the quality of the shots the Flames top line found were better than the oppositions. Fairly significantly I may add. So why was it so hard to notice him? I watch all these games and usually when guys have those types of numbers they are noticeable, and through two games i haven’t seen, with my eyes, Mony do anything of significance. I really don’t have the answer to this other than the fact that his line needs to do plenty of a lot more to get to the slot and generate some high danger chances.
BONUS: Powerplay Rant - What in the actual swear word was iced today? Seriously, I’ve seen peewee teams with better execution. Dumping the puck in, that stupid drop pass when there’s no pressure on the puck carrier. The only guy that can ever weave his way into a zone entry on the PP is Gaudreau and that’s because the breakout is set up so terribly it’s extremely easy to defend. Whoever is currently in charge of the Flames powerplay should sit in the stands and watch some other teams formations because something needs to be done right away or the Flames could spend September on their couches.
Flashalytic’s Three Stars
- Dillon Dube - Quality chance ratios mixed with a positive possession rate, the guy the head coach benched was having the best game of everyone.
- Noah Hanifin - It’s nice to give Noah credit because I ragged on him all regular season long. Well earned 2nd Star, and a solid outing.
- Elias Lindholm - I do appreciate goals in this column, and Lindholm backed up his goal with possession and quality chances.
This one stings, they let a dominant game slip away by not getting High danger chances. I don’t know if this hurts more or less than game 2 against COL from last year, but it hurts nonetheless.
P.S. MOVE YOUR FEET IN YOUR OWN ZONE. STANDING FLAT FOOTED BENEFITS NOBODY BUT THE OTHER TEAM.
(All stats/charts gathered from naturalstattrick.com // Game score from hockeystatcards.com // Any question ask on Twitter @Flash_33)