Facing a Montreal Canadiens team that had less than 24 hours between games the Flames did what they needed to do in order to take advantage of the situation. When you’re gifted games like this you have to cash in on them. A couple goals from the 4th line – and my boy Josh Leivo – propelled Calgary to a MUCH-needed win.
It’s a Team Game – CF% - 63.91%, SCF% - 58.22%, HDCF% - 53.22%, xGF% - 63.24%. It really was a proper team effort all night. The tired Habs were naturally gassed as the game went on but the Flames did do their jobs to get them to that point. It was positive that they kept pushing and checking the whole game.
Corsi King – Derek Ryan (79.44 CF%) was indeed the best player on the ice, both by watching and by the spreadsheet. Noah Hanifin (73.48%) kept up his streak of tremendous games. Sutter has shifted the responsibilities of his pairings – Hanifin & Chris Tanev (74.04%) have become the new top pair. They logged 0ver 20 minutes each while Mark Giordano (65.38%) and Rasmus Andersson (64.34%) had their minutes knocked back to around the 17 minute mark.
Corsi Clown – Brett Ritchie (42.80%) is not a top 6 forward, but he’s got that give-a-crap attitude and physical presence to keep giving himself shots on this team. Juuso Valimaki (46.06%) is still learning – although him having to switch partners all the time is less than ideal for his development (Just don’t resort to Michael Stone – that doesn’t work)
Taken By Chance – The line that did struggle the most was Johnny Gaudreau’s (44.36 SCF% // 33.37 HDCF%). The HD ratio wasn’t too bad with only giving 2 chances up and creating 1 themselves, but ideally you want this line creating you more than 1 high danger chance per game. Derek Ryan however, had another perfect ratio game. That’s 2 straight without a chance against. The Doctor is in!
xGF% - Derek Ryan (93.13%) naturally led the way and goal scorer Josh Leivo (75.62%) was right behind him. 11 total Flames had an xG share over 60%. The only downside was once again the Gaudreau (45.22%) line who struggled to get on the positive side of things. More games and more time with a new coach will help.
Game Flow –
I expect on Saturday for Montreal to have some areas of pushback. That being said if Sutter can get more out of this squad consistently they won’t roll over and let them take the game. Yes Montreal will be coming, but Calgary’s ready to start pushing back (or they need to be if they want to compete this year)
Game Score – 4th line breakout game! Derek Ryan (3.84), Josh Leivo (2.83), and Sam Bennett (2.31) were tops as all of them had multi-point nights. We haven’t talked about him much, but Mikael Backlund (-0.02) had a rough game – which can happen when you have a new baby at home! Congratulations to Backlund & family on their new addition.
Shot Heatmap –
I am loving this trend of getting shots from the slot. Less shots from the point and more from areas where you have a higher % chance of tickling the twine. The Flames didn’t settle for bad looks and continually pushed the MTL D back into their own goaltender. Jake Allen did a really good job - Personally i’m wanting to face the slumping Carey Price on Saturday.
In the Crease – He wasn’t really tested but he did what he needed to do. No shame in getting beat off a deflection. He only faced 1.04 expected goals against so I’m sure he was right thrilled his teammates did a good job at keeping the chances to a minimum.
Today’s Specials – The bump back pass has ended. Finally. It’s like a new age of fresh air, greener trees, and significantly less predictability. No longer will the Flames send their single small warrior head on into a wall of defenders repeatedly whether experiencing success or failure. Now to try and capitalize on this breath of fresh air and up the PP production.
Player Spotlight – Dillon Dube – He may not have scored or kept a point streak going but the last 3 games have seen a significant improvement from him. When young players produce in waves you got to ride them. Dube has been very up and down this season – he’s had tremendous highs and valley sunken lows – let’s hope he can ride this high for a little while longer.
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Derek Ryan
2) Josh Leivo
3) Noah Hanifin
The Flames next game is Saturday at 5PM MST against the Montreal Canadiens.
(Stats compiled from Naturalstattrick.com // Game Score from Hockeystatcards.com)