With the amount of powerplays the Flames were gifted there’s no way this game should have even went into overtime. The Flames played 41:16 at 5v5 and pushed play aggressively in the 1st and 3rd periods but couldn’t get enough by the opposing tendy to walk away with a regulation win. The last game before Sutter comes wasn’t too bad, as always there’s lots to build on.
It’s a Team Game – CF% - 57.77%, SCF% - 58%, HDCF% - 64.13%, xGF% - 56.58%. Across the board the team outplayed the young Sickos and didn’t get the results they deserve. They have a clear lack of skill in the finishing department. There’s lots of suggestions floating around as to what the Flames need to do to improve – the real analysis can re-start when the first Sutter game gets underway on Thursday.
Corsi King – Sam Bennett (73.92%) didn’t have to play against competition that overpowers him, and he thrives. He’s going to get told what his role is going forward and if you want to change that role, you’re going to have to elevate your play on a nightly basis and show you can handle more responsibility. The whole team largely kept possession of the puck with Derek Ryan (62.63%), Dillon Dube (61.83%), and Andrew Mangiapane (61.81%) all finishing with over 60% CF% ratios.
Corsi Clown – Only 2 players finished below 50% - one of which only played 2:13 (Zac Rinaldo – 46.08%). Last place was Elias Lindholm (44.54) who draws the hardest matchups on the entire team. Him not having the puck in a positive ratio’s going to happen sometime – the key is when that happens is looking at how much quality he can limit despite not having it.
Taken By Chance – Sam Bennett (87.94 SCF% // 100.00 HDCF%) really had himself a game – he must want to stay in the lineup. Derek Ryan (67.18% // 100.00%) really has dominated opposing bottom 6 lineups since coming back from his finger injury. Noah Hanifin (64.64% // 100.00%) is on absolute fire of late playing his best offensive hockey since the season started. Familiarity with partner Chris Tanev (64.64% // 100.00%) is growing every day.
The Lucic – Backlund – Mangiapane line had the puck a lot but all finished in a negative ratio for scoring chances. Basically, they had the puck on their sticks – couldn’t create anything significant – turned it over – and saw the puck come back the other way letting a decent chance go against them. Lucic has been fairly subpar in the last month as he regresses to his true skill level.
xGF% - Johnny Gaudreau (87.47%) continues to create quality scoring chances with his deployment. The Flames really need to get a consistent RW with a high finishing ability to capitalize on all that he creates. Say what you want about Leivo, Ritchie, Bennett, etc. but not one of them would be classified as having a top 6 finishing ability. Sean Monahan (81.49%) and Sam Bennett (81.45%) also had strong games.
Game Flow –
If the Sicko Senators didn’t take those penalties at the end of the 2nd period it looked like they were on track to run away with this thing. The refs basically saved the Flames from getting shelled and allowed Calgary to re-gain their form. It’s unfortunate the strong third didn’t yield another goal but eh, can’t win em all.
Game Score – Only one performance classified as breakout – Nikita Nesterov (1.82). He was behind 3 other Flames for 4th overall, those players were Matthew Tkachuk (2.44), Noah Hanifin (2.42), and Johnny Gaudreau (1.99). Rasmus Andersson (-1.47) has found himself really slumping again. Maybe that top pairing being split up or giving Razz some lesser competition to regain his confidence is something that could help.
Shot Heatmap –
I am loving the increased priority on getting chances from the slot and not the outside blueline. Mark Giordano could tone down all those low % attempts he fires off but all around it is getting better. Might be to-little-too-late but hey maybe we can watch some entertaining puck down the back stretch of the season.
In The Crease – It’s not often that Markstrom lets in a low danger chance but here we are. He’s been slightly off since coming back from injury, I have hope that with 3 days of rest and practice he continues to trend back to his start of season form. 1.21 expected goals against at 5v5 with 2 goals against. Can be better, but the team still needs to help him out every night.
Today’s Specials – Powerplays tend to roll between hot and cold every single season – and holy crap are they on the cold side right now. Most of those PP’s were absolute gifts from the referee’s and Calgary hardly did anything with it. It doesn’t sound like the new coaching staff is going to focus on the PP right away so the best hope we have right now is the PP just naturally rolling back to the hot side.
Player Spotlight – Darryl Sutter – Not a player but I want to share my thoughts on his practice. The up-tempo and short skating was perfect. Sutter saw what the team can be in the first period of the game against the Oilers, but also saw them burn out and not sustain that level of play. The solution: Conditioning. That means shorter practices where the guys are moving full pace from the time the skates hit the ice. Get ready, move your feet, never stop, never give up on a race, never give up on a hit, go-go-go. It’s exciting to see if he can get the squad conditioned to play that style of hockey every single night.
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Sam Bennett
2) Derek Ryan
3) Noah Hanifin
The Flames continue their season Thursday March 11th at 7PM MST against the Montreal Canadians.
(Stats compiled from Naturalstattrick.com // Game Score from Hockeystatcards.com)