Not the most complete game from a team standpoint, but that don’t quit attitude was back and the Flames didn’t late a late tying goal deter them. It was a good response from the team on all fronts as the mixed up lines continued to excel, and yes I’m going to refer to that line as “The Bubble Boys” from here on out. It’s cool leave me alone.
It’s a Team Game – CF% - 50.32%, SCF% - 55.62%, HDCF% - 62.75%, xGF% - 53.8%. Not perfect by any means. The third period saw the Flames collapse a bit. The last 6v5 goal was a lower danger shot that sneaked through oodles of traffic and deflated the fanbase a bit. Lots of sentiments of “Of course this would happen”. Thankfully Johnny Gaudreau and the 4 forward OT powerplay struck fast and struck hard.
Corsi King – Dillon Dube (60.80 CF%) led the way with the fellow Bubble Boys Sam Bennett (59.27%) and Milan Lucic (56.60%). The new pair of Rasmus Andersson (60.07%) and Connor Mackey (58.77%) also were in the “holy crap they had the puck a lot” crowd. There wasn’t a normal amount of time in this game played at 5v5 so the TOI numbers are down, but a decent showing all around.
Corsi Clown – The 4th line struggled? The sky is blue as well. Valimaki (38.76%) seemed to have trouble with Mark Giordano (41.77%). It’s weird to see Matthew Tkachuk (41.75%) down there because I thought for the most of the game he was pushing play and being a bit more tenacious than we’d seen him in recent games.
Taken By Chance – Elias Lindholm (67.27 SCF% // 100 HDCF%) created 3.12 High Danger Chances and surrendered none against. The most High Danger chances against – not in terms of a ratio but in terms of straight up chances allowed without looking at offensive contribution – were Juuso Valimaki (42.19 SCF% // 54.82 HDCF%) with 4.47 allowed & Sean Monahan (52.99 SCF% // 59.83 HDCF%) with 3.75 allowed. The good thing to take out of that is both men did in fact create more high danger chances with their 5 man units than they allowed which is exactly what the coach wants. It wont get you a win every night but it is a strategy that can work.
xGF% - Rasmus Andersson (68.82%) had a statement game. He was taken off the powerplay, taken off the “top unit” and basically sent a message that he was – in all essences – demoted. He responded with an absolute monster game as the best Flame to wear the uniform last night. Razz and Gio had just found some chemistry prior to the shakeup and it’s becoming increasingly noticeable that to play successfully with the Captain you have to conform to his style of play or suffer. Make no mistake though, Rasmus Andersson responded in a big way.
Game Flow –
After a penalty filled first the Flames actually weren’t sinking despite being down 2-1. They were pushing the pace at even strength and really looked like they could turn it around barring the Canucks goaltenders crapped the bed like they have all year. As our luck would have it, that trend continued. The Flames snared the lead in a second period that was largely them. The third saw the Canucks push back hard early, but it seemed Calgary had stemmed the tide only to see the bad guys tie it up and steal a point.
Game Score – Razz (3.15) led the way in yet another category as the only Flame to register a “breakout performance” notification. Elias Lindholm (2.02) kept his strong play going as his season game score average rose to 1.12. In fact just one Flame is averaging a higher game score per night than Ol’ Relias and that’s Johnny Hockey Gaudreau with a 1.15.
Shot Heatmap –
There’s still a complete lack of offence created nightly from the right side of the ice for the Flames. If a team gameplanned properly to shutdown the left of the ice it would put Calgary in a pickle as they really don’t shoot from there that often. Regardless they created some traffic in front of Demko and were able to exploit him. Expect to see Holtby on Wednesday.
In The Crease – Quick guess how many 5v5 goals Jacob Markstrom allowed last night. None. The first two goals came as a result of Brad Meyer sending the Flames to the box for sneezing (most of them were real penalties to be honest) and the third at 6v5 (well really it was 5v5 but with Van’s goalie pulled it wasn’t classified that way and i’m not about to go out of my way to criticize the teams current MVP). Once again the Great Wall of Sweden shut his doors after facing an expected goals against of 1.81. Honestly if I get really bored one day I might peruse the league and record all 5v5 shutouts for goaltenders because that’s the quality play you need to track.
Today’s Specials – I was very excited to see young Juuso Valimaki QB’ing the top PP unit. The Flames actually have three defenceman that would be really good powerplay options: Valimaki, Andersson, and Noah Hanifin. All three can skate smooth and see the ice for better breakout passes than normal. Valimaki isn’t scared to jump into the rush if need be, and when the opposition is expecting the patented weird bump back to Johnny Gaudreau he could surprise them and gain entrance to the zone a whole lot easier. It’s better than getting stuffed four times and then firing it in hard 8 feet high.
Player Spotlight – Dominik Simon – For the first time in awhile (I mean he was in the press box) we got a proper glimpse at what Simon could bring to the lineup as he helped 13-23 have a positive impact in all facets of the game. CF% - 52.265, SCF% - 60.11%, HDCF% - 66.49%, xGF% - 67.54%. Very good all-around. I know they tried Robinson on the 4th line last night but I’d love a Simon – Ryan – Leivo grouping when healthy. Ryan can take Nordstrom’s spot on the PK and contribute positively at 5v5. It might happen if the team slumps, but if they stay above water expect Nordstrom to stay planted in.
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Rasmus Andersson
2) Elias Lindholm
3) The Bubble Boys
The Flames end their 4-game series against the Canucks on Wednesday Feb. 17th. Current record on this stand is 2-1-0.
(Stats compiled from Naturalstattrick.com // Game Score from Hockeystatcards.com)