The Toronto Maple Leafs had a plan and they stuck to it; their goaltender never faltered either helping guide Calgary to a big, large goose egg. The Flames didn’t split from their plan either, but it was hard to find holes when the opposition doesn’t give you any. The Leafs are great defensively – and they really showed that in this one.
It’s a Team Game – CF% - 43.49%, SCF% - 39.14%, HDCF% - 34.03%, xGF% - 40.28%. Across the board they were outplayed. Specifically, the Flames were unable to get to the center of the ice for quality scoring chances. They hardly had the puck because the Leafs forced them to dump it in instead of trying to push through their D wall in the neutral zone.
Corsi King – Derek Ryan (72.12%) continues to own other teams bottom 6 forwards. Josh Leivo (62.16%) and Sam Bennett (61.45%) flanking him to success for them as well. Leivo ended up getting his ice time cut and Bennett got his elevated. I wouldn’t read into it though, since Sutter took over everyone’s ice time has fluctuated.
Corsi Clown – The other player that got stuck to the bench Dillon Dube (25.97%) was also the worst in possession. Brett Ritchie (38.35%) also had a bad possession game next to 13/23. Mind you only the three mentioned in Corsi King had positive ratio’s.
Taken By Chance – Noah Hanifin (50.37 SCF% // 51.70 HDCF%) has really taken off with Sutter in charge. His freedom to use his speed and awareness to jump into the rush has really helped his game. His partner Chris Tanev (50.37 SCF% // 61.38 HDCF%) has helped unlock it with his steady play and calming poise. Good news is Gaudreau-Monahan-Ritchie didn’t allow a HD chance against! Positive vibez.
xGF% - The usual suspects in Ryan (64.13%), Bennett (62.16%), Hanifin (57.35%) & Tanev (58.88%). The other positive is Gaudreau (54.03%) was effective in both limiting chances and creating them – it didn’t result in goals but he’s finding ways to succeed given the tools at his disposal.
Game Flow –
Not really much pushback from Calgary. Toronto shut things down really well and they executed a great defensive game.
Game Score – David Rittich (0.78) led the way for the Flames. Tanev (0.66) and Hanifin (0.47) followed in his goal saving footsteps. With no goals for them all the game score came from strong defensive game. Valimaki (-1.86), Nesterov (-1.20), & Andersson (-1.14) were the three Flames that performed the worst. Not a good recipe for success if half your D get pinned in their own zone the whole time.
Shot Heatmap –
Not enough volume from the High danger area. The Leafs just straight up out played them on both sides of the puck. It sucks to admit but Toronto is/was significantly better than Calgary.
In The Crease – The goals that beat Rittich may not have been the nicest ones, but he didn’t falter too much. 1.56 expected goals against with 2 goals (one MD & one HD chance) getting by him. With no run support hard to blame the goalie for the loss. I missed Freddie Andersen letting in those muffin goals.
Today’s Specials – 12 players got PP time with 11 having over a minute of time. Tkachuk played the most at 3:24. Nothing is set in stone right now, but it seems the 4 Sutter is turning too the most are Tkachuk, Gaudreau, Monahan, & Hanifin. I’d be willing to move Monahan off that unit in favour of Mangiapane and having Lindholm take the faceoffs – just my own thoughts.
Player Spotlight – Milan Lucic – The big guy is struggling lately, but with the 4th line playing so well you can’t really split them up. Lucic is vastly outperforming his on-ice impacts offensively but is still valuable most nights defensively. When the going gets tough I wouldn’t turn to Looch for offence, but there’s finally some stability in the lines. Mangiapane and Backlund really need to carry the offence for that line and Lucic could turn into a complimentary piece, but they need to be the play drivers.
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Noah Hanifin
2) Derek Ryan
3) David Rittich
The Flames continue their season Monday against the Ottawa Senators
(Stats compiled from Naturalstattrick.com // Game Score from Hockeystatcards.com)