No more analyzing what they were doing – take everything we’ve seen thus far and burn the film. A new (old) man is in town and he’s going to change the entire attitude and identity of this hockey club. Well, that’s the hope anyways. Darryl Sutter has always been a strong coach so my intrigue and expectations have just shot through the roof – I’m extremely excited.
With that lets get into the results of Geoff Wards swan song.
It’s a Team Game – CF% - 52.41%, SCF% - 45.85%, HDCF% - 58.96%, xGF% - 47.99%. They had possession of the puck and tried to force it to high danger areas for chances. It resulted in less all-around chances but a huge increase in high danger opportunities – oh and 7 5v5 goals too. The SCF5 and xGF% were down as the D were still letting the opposition in and collapsing on the net. All in all it was a decent final performance for Ward’s squad – but make no mistake I’ll be discussing different tactics in 4 weeks.
Corsi King – Not just the king of the puck, but the king of the scoresheet – Dillon Dube (62.39 CF%) was in full charge tonight. I wrote that he may need to watch from the press box, and he still may need to work on his defensive game/positioning, but his offensive potential was on display in a big way. Like Justin Bourne said on the SN broadcast at least 2 of his goals most goalies would stop – but you can’t take em back once they go in. Congrats to Dube on his first career hat-trick. Other notable performances: Valimaki (61.20%), Lindholm (59.09%), and even Oliver Kylington (54.23).
Corsi Clown – I’m glad he got on the board, but Brett Ritchie (40.75%) was the only one this far down in the ratio. The next lowest was Mangiapane (47.39%) and Lucic (47.39%). I wouldn’t read too far into it. He didn’t get outscored by his opposition and was a nice physical presence. Although with the way Ruzicka and Phillips are playing in Stockton all these fringe guys better start fighting like hell to keep their jobs.
Taken By Chance – Derek Ryan (67.63 SCF% // 100.00 HDCF%) absolutely SPARKED this lineup in a way I didn’t think was possible. He’s a proven bottom 6 defensive center that you just love to have. Since we’re all getting nostalgic with the new hiring, I’m not shy to say Sutter can use Ryan in an effective Stephane Yelle role going forward. Rasmus Andersson (48.39 SCF% // 40.70 HDCF%) allowed a lot against in raw scoring chances against numbers – but he countered it with almost as many raw SCF/HDCF created himself.
xGF% - I’m pretty rough on him most of the time so the fact Joakim Nordstrom (69.05%) led the way is deserving of a mention. Josh Leivo (56.89%) once again showed he should never be out of this lineup and even scored his first goal to back it up. Gaudreau (53.49%) and Monahan (55.33%) also were able to create and generate plenty of quality chances with Leivo riding shotgun.
Game Flow –
As you can see the game really wasn’t the one sided tilt the score suggests it was. !) Yes it is easier to dictate play when you have a multi-goal lead 2) even then you’d hope to outmatch the Sens significantly. I’m not really worried about this. We’re getting 30 games of a different coach to end the season and everything we know at the moment can easily be altered a month from now.
Game Score – Breakout games? Well we start with Dillon Dube (3.51) then as follows – Derek Ryan (2.99), Matthew Tkachuk (2.77), Josh Leivo (1.87), and Joakim Nordstrom (1.57). Oliver Kylington (-0.43) finished last here amongst Flames players. I discussed earlier about his possession stat but he still allowed more chances of significance against than he was able to create.
Shot Heatmap –
Running the offence from the point will no longer be a thing. Also just look at all those goals from the middle of the ice. That’s what i expect to see even more of and more consistently with this team going forward. No more chip & Chase unless it’s a necessity, no more laying back on your heels and waiting for the play to set up. This team is going to have players that push the play themselves or they wont play at all.
In The Crease – Goalies love to play but even they like to have a break sometimes. David Rittich ended up playing for two weeks straight and still was able to put in decent performances at 5v5. 1.71 expected goals against – 1 HD goal and 1 MD goal against. It would be nice to have that MD goal back but Dave clearly had the run support from the squad early to not be mentally shook letting anything in.
Today’s Specials – they got out chanced on the powerplay again. Just terrible but have no fear we are very close to the end of the bump-back era. There’s no way this new coach is going to look at something that fails and says “trust the process” – he’s going to make changes to help his players succeed.
Player Spotlight – Andrew Mangiapane – There is no player on this roster I am more excited to see play under Darryl Sutter. Mange shows up with his lunch pail every game ready to work his butt off and make a difference. If there’s anyone that’s going to unlock the best Mangiapane possible its Sutter – and we as fans will get to sit back an enjoy the show.
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Dillon Dube
2) Josh Leivo
3) Derek Ryan
The Flames play their first game without Ward Saturday night at 8PM MST – going up against provincial rivals the Edmonton Oilers on Hockey Night in Canada. Buckle Up.
(Stats compiled from Naturalstattrick.com // Game Score from Hockeystatcards.com)