A huge game against the Canadiens who are the main team Calgary’s in pursuit of for a playoff spot that Calgary was able to win. Taking 4 straight points from a Habs team trying to re-find their identity was a great starting point to try and turn things around. It was another classic hard-nosed Sutter game and we’ll break it down here.
It’s a Team Game – CF% - 62.55%, SCF% - 66.28%, HDCF% - 69.77%, xGF% - 66.46%. Some say Calgary’s game has got boring – and if they were actively cheering for the opposition, they would be right. As for Flames fans the team is playing with speed and intensity for the first time all year. It’s amazing to watch and they’re controlling the play consistently.
Corsi King – Juuso Valimaki (77.39%) thrived with Oliver Kylington (73.98%) in their first game together under Sutter. Derek Ryan (70.01%) had another stellar game as his relentless tear continues. The whole team actually dominated possession with only 1 player finishing with a ratio below 50%
Corsi Clown – Milan Lucic (43.84%) was the only Flame on the wrong side of the corsi ratio. All I have to say is the “better” Montreal team that was supposed to show up with proper rest – sure didn’t make too much of a dent.
Taken By Chance – Dillon Dube (81.91 SCF% // 87.78 HDCF%) was king of the scoring chance hill tonight. The kids got speed and is thriving under this new game Calgary’s dictating. Derek Ryan (76.13 SCF% // 100.00 HDCF%) has yet to allow a high danger chance against him since returning from injury. He’s even had shifts against top competition during that stretch, so it just makes it more impressive. The line of Gaudreau-Ritchie-Monahan were on the ice and created some all-situations chances for (4) but none of the high-danger classification. (Johnny was on for 1 HDCF)
xGF% - The fourth line had another great game with all three players finishing with over 80% xGF%. Valimaki (76.40%) and Kylington (73.70%) were very good in their limited minutes. We talked about how Lucic was the only one on the negative side of the corsi ratio and I’m just going to highlight that his xGF% was 54.55% - meaning he may not have had the puck as much as others, but he created quality scoring chances when he was on the ice.
Game Flow –
Montreal was able to push back in the third but Calgary’s relentless ability to hound the puck kept them away from getting any real quality chances. Calgary starting games on time is a revelation that was missing for the first 28 games of the year.
Game Score – Sean Monahan (2.33) may not have created too many chances, but he cashed in on what he created. Oliver Kylington (1.77) was classified with a breakout game. Johnny Gaudreau (0.21) had the lowest game score of all Flames skaters.
Shot Heatmap –
Look at how far away those chances were from Montreal - very nice to see. Calgary was able to get right in Price’s crease and have some quality scoring chances. Again heavy traffic from the left point and a clear lack of chances from the right point. Andersson/Tanev really never shoot the puck at 5v5.
In the Crease – No 5v5 goals against! He only had to save 18 shots and only 3 were high danger quality. 1.08 expected goals against. Markstrom was solid and it was nice to give him an easier game where he didn’t have to play out of his mind.
Today’s Specials – An improved powerplay makes for an improved team all together. Sutter really leans on his top unit and doesn’t switch out the forwards – Gio probably could get less PP time with the emergence of Hanifin lately. Seriously, we need to give Hanifin and extended chance on the big unit.
Player Spotlight – Mikael Backlund – Nobody other than Derek Ryan is seriously standing out above the crowd, so I figured I’d highlight someone whose just been constantly good. Darryl Sutter has been very pointed in the fact that successful teams need to be strong down the middle. Mikael Backlund is going to need to be a true pillar going forward in order for Calgary to succeed.
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Derek Ryan
2) Juuso Valimaki
3) Oliver Kylington
The Flames continued their season in a game against the Oilers March 15th.
(Stats compiled from Naturalstattrick.com // Game Score from Hockeystatcards.com