Playoffs baby! The Calgary Flames came out in game 4 and got business done to the tune of a team 48.42 CF%, 48.94 SCF%, and an xGF% at a whopping 64.54%. The early lead allowed the team to be able to adjust their playing style to limit the Jets to almost no quality chances, while simultaneously swarming the crease and making Hellebyuck’s life Hellebad. Add that all up and it gives them a playoff birth in the round of 16 against the Stars or the defending champion Blues.
Corsi King - For three games the 3M found some love here, but Sam Bennett (70.37 CF%) came to play on Thursday and took the crown. The last second buzzer beater is the kind of goal the just deflates the other team, and one of our resident lumberjacks was stoked to bring it. I don’t believe Sam Bennett will ever become a 60 point regular season player in the NHL, but what he’s developed into has become quite valuable.
Corsi Clown - Johnny Gaudreau (25.00 CF%), for the 2nd game in a row, finished under 30%. Now we discussed how when the Flames play with a lead possession becomes less important in coach Ward’s system, but for a player as skilled as Johnny Gaudreau to get owned in possession like this is a bit concerning. We watched the Flames dominate the Jets in game 4 and this basically says that 5v5 Johnny hardly had the puck on his stick, imagine how much more dominant the game would have looked if he could even get to 45%? A dominant Johnny would go a long way for trying to get to the round of 8.
Taken By Chance - Bennett (83.33 SCF%) was dominant but we already gave him some love, let’s move on to Dillon Dube (71.43%). Whatever happened during the break to him was spectacular. He’s gone from looking a bit lost defensively, posting sub 40% numbers in 2 out of every 5 games, to all of a sudden being this force that creates quality chances that the Jets couldn’t contain. It started in training camp, and this might be the star coming out party for the former captain of the Canadian Junior Squad.
xGF% - Benny (89.43%) led again in what might have been his best game all year, right behind him were linemates Dube (83.36%) and Milan Lucic (85.80%). Didn’t Lucic just look like he was having fun out there? He showed the ultimate sign of class in his fight with Bealieu, choosing to fight the D man and then not hitting him after he fell down. I was very vocally against the Lucic trade last August, one year later I’m contemplating a Lucic Jersey. You won over my heart with your play big man, and I thank you for that.
Game Flow -
This might have been the most complete game the Flames played in this series. Even with the lead the 3rd line kept doing what they want (like the 3M line most nights) and the Jets, without the depth to contain them, couldn’t respond.
Game Score - The top 14 of the 38 spots belong to the Calgary Flames. A few positive notables: Bennett (4.00), Sean Monahan (2.73), Rasmus Andersson (2.29), and Mark Giordano (1.16). A few negative notables: Elias Lindholm (-0.01), and Johnny Gaudreau (-0.08). As mentioned earlier, If Johnny can get it going playing in Ward’s system there’s no telling how high this team can fly.
Shot Heatmap -
Have any of you ever had your mom/grandmother/parent yell at you to get out of the kitchen while your cooking? That’s what Hellebyuck wanted to do all night. But the Flames decided they wanted to get some milk and went and got the milk. If you don’t understand ask Brad Treliving, he’ll know.
In The Crease - Cam Talbot respect time. The Jets didn’t create that much quality against the Flames until the 3rd period, they went 2 periods before getting a high danger chance (good defence by the Flames there), and Talbs never faltered. He faced 1.36 expected Goals against at 5v5, stopped 2 high danger chances and 11 medium danger chances. Through 4 games he never let a low danger chance in and kept the momentum for his team flowing. Next up: a duel with Binnington or Bishop.
Today’s Specials - The first 2 games of this series the Flames powerplay was so bad it forced me to create this column, and it was gonna be to rant about what needs changed. All they’ve done since is score 3 goals in game 3, and have a well oiled unit get some chances in game 2. I have no criticism for either the PP or the PK here, just compliments. (If ever they need roasted for bad play i won’t hesitate)
Player Spotlight - Mark Jankowski - I still can’t believe there are those fans out there that would rather have an ineffective Rinaldo play. Janko put up a 57.14 CF%, 70.00 SCF%, & a 70.13 xGF% in 7:55 TOI at 5v5. Even Rinaldo would look at those and see Janko’s output was helping the team more. I do think this is the last we’ll see the former 1st round pick in a Flames uniform, his QO is too expensive (1.6M+) with the flat cap for the TOI usage he gets, so i hope performances like this keep up throughout the playoffs.
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars -
- Sam Bennett - No question, he may not have gotten the game winner, but he eliminated the Jets.
- Dillon Dube - our future star, ready to bloom
- Milan Lucic - *Insert GIF of Looch’s NHL94 Goal celly in the comments/replies if you love him*
(All stats and charts acquired from NaturalStatTrick.com // GameScore from Hockeystatcards.com // for all questions and inquiries see @Flash_33 on twitter)