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Analytical Analysis - G31 - The Luck of the Irish

Flames got pretty well beat down across the board, especially their top 6 forwards, but Freddie Andersen had their backs.

NHL: Calgary Flames at Toronto Maple Leafs John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The furthest thing from a dominant game, but a win nonetheless. The Flames really got outplayed in every aspect of the game except goaltending – which was the clear difference with this one. Derek Ryan’s goal was beautiful, but Tanev/Tkachuk/Giordano’s goals could have been stopped by a goaltender on his game. You have to take advantage when given those opportunities and the Flames certainly did just that.

It’s a Team Game – CF% - 39.71%, SCF% - 27.46%, HDCF% - 31.38%, xGF% - 36.16%. Talk about getting beat down. The Flames hardly had the puck, and when they did they never got any scoring chances, but of the few they did get - they scored. I mean this team has been getting bad bounces all year and has been on the wrong side of lucky goals for the most part so it’s kind of deserved to see them get fortunate, but make no mistake they did not get the win from a solid all-around team game.

Did they Deserve It -

No - No they did not.

Corsi King – Once again the master of the Sutter system – Derek Ryan (64.29%) – was on top of the corsi-board. Linemates Sam Bennett (54.98%) and Josh Leivo (52.28%) were up there with him. Noah Hanifin (52.23%) and Chris Tanev (51.69%) not only logged the most 5v5 ice time but did so on the positive side of the possession ratio.

Corsi Clown – Nikita Nesterov (11.91%) spent the whole game defending in his own zone with Juuso Valimaki (24.12%). The line of Johnny Gaudreau (20.85%), Sean Monahan (19.73%) and Brett Ritchie (29.09%) also spent more than 3/4 of their ice time in their own zone. Getting a winger who will actually carry the puck in with Gaudreau instead of dumping it in should be a priority, but as long as they get fluke wins, I imagine nothing will change.

Taken By Chance – Dillon Dube (SCF% - 0% // HDCF% - 0%) didn’t create a quantified scoring chance the whole game. Tkachuk’s 5v5 goal was from such a low % angle it didn’t even qualify. Imagine that – being on the ice for a goal and it didn’t even quantify as an all-situations scoring chance. Dube was singled out because he let 7.17 chances against him and created none, by far the worst ratio on the team. Mind you nobody but Derek Ryan (54.93 SCF% // 71.20 HDCF%) finished on the positive side of both scoring chance ratios. It is worth noting that while they allowed lots of outside scoring chances Backlund-Mangiapane-Lucic did a very good job limiting High Danger chances against while they were deployed.

xGF% - As such the ratio for quality chances all around was good to the 3M 3.0 line. Lucic (65.94%), Mangiapane (59.67%) and Backlund (48.19%) were above water along with Ryan’s line. Derek Ryan (79.59%) owned the Leafs in all situations with help from Leivo (66.29%) and Bennett (64.53%). Now they didn’t face heavy competition, but regardless they were the real lone bright spot for Calgary all game.

Game Flow –

Calgary scored early while everyone was still finding their footing. It aided them because once Toronto got set defensively their wasn’t much created from Calgary’s side. If you weren’t gonna beat them with stellar goaltending this was another way to do it. Toronto is still very much a team all should fear in a playoff matchup despite losing 6 of their last 7 games.

Game Score – It’s just a fact by this point of the review that we know Derek Ryan (1.98) was the best player Calgary had last night. Goals matter a ton in game score so second was Matthew Tkachuk (1.66) followed by Milan Lucic (1.62) and his 5v5 assist. If you find the scoresheet even in a bad outing you can still go down as having a decently productive night – Tkachuk may have been able to do more but he spent 5 minutes in the penalty box for avenging Johnny Gaudreau (while simultaneously pissing off a bunch of Maple Leafs fans in the process). Worst player by game score in this game: Brett Ritchie (-1.84)

Shot Heatmap –

The Flames hardly go anything in and around Freddie Andersen. They boxed out extremely well and got lucky those two pint shots went in. Tanev’s specifically was no rocket it was more of a change-up that Freddie just whiffed on. Flames are going to need to play with a significant amount of increased ergency if they want to take the second game as well.

In the Crease – Expected goals against of 2.05 with 3 actual goals against. 1 goal classified as high danger – 2 classified as medium danger. Markstrom was really shaky early but was able to recover in the latter half of the game and made a huge desperation save on the league’s leading goal scorer in Auston Matthews. In reality all Marky had to do was be better than the other guy who allowed two low danger 5v5 goals against – really the Flames were lucky to play against a goaltender that played so bad.

Today’s Specials – First unit Hanifin is the right decision. For years Hanifin has been great at creating a high xGF/60 at 5v5. It’s only natural that his great offensive vision is a deadly weapon on the PP. As he gets more familiar with the structure, I expect Hanifin to really run the point on that umbrella in a way that can open up more lanes – he’ll also be hesitant to let low % slappers from the point and will be more likely to find passing lanes to the side points for higher % looks.

Also hey I say they’re low % slapshots but even a low % still has a shot to go in – right Gio?

Player Spotlight – Brett Ritchie – Johnny Gaudreau made some comments about not preferring to dump and chase but he’ll do it because the teams getting wins. I specifically watched Johnny feed a wide-open Brett Ritchie in the neutral zone where Brett had the opportunity to carry the puck over the blue line with space. He did not ever do that, and he dumped it in immediately upon getting the puck. That’s great 4th line stuff but when you’ve got the opportunity to play with offence creators like 13 you need to work with him and not against him. Flames have never really given Gaudreau an opportunity with skilled linemates and prefer to load up other lines instead – it’s frustrating. Mangiapane or Dube could compliment 13 really well (regardless of the C). The saying is “Take what the defence gives you” and if they are going to let you carry the puck in – DO IT.

Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –

1) Derek Ryan

2) Milan Lucic

3) Andrew Mangiapane

The Flames will continue again on HNIC Saturday with a back to back against the Maple Leafs. It all starts at 5pm MST.

(Stats compiled from Naturalstattrick.com // Game Score from Hockeystatcards.com)