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Analytical Analysis - G44 - When You Play With House Money, The House Wins

The Flames had put themselves in a position where they couldn’t afford to be unlucky - and then they were unlucky

NHL: APR 16 Flames at Canadiens Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There was no room left to be unlucky before the puck dropped in this one, but oh boy was that the case for Calgary. Post after post and 3 highlight level saves from Jake Allen later and the playoff pushes odds dropped 10% instead of going up by 8%. It’s going to be a struggle to keep the fight alive if they drop one more, but the light at the end of the tunnel is closing fast.

It’s a Team Game – CF% - 52.57%, SCF% - 58.07%, HDCF% - 60.94%, xGF% - 69.57%. I mean this game was controlled by them; they just couldn’t tickle the twine to save their lives. This was the 4th straight game where the Flames have run over their competition from an analytics standpoint, but even the most prepared teams can be derailed by a hot goalie.

Corsi King – Derek Ryan (66.90%) led the way followed by linemate Brett Ritchie (62.70%). Johnny Gaudreau (60.65%) + Matthew Tkachuk (60.63%) played as strong possession game here too. It’s a bit confusing that Lindholm + Leivo weren’t right up there with their linemates, but sometimes guys get caught in shift changes.

Corsi Clown – Andrew Mangiapane (40.95%) didn’t see the puck very much, neither did the pairing of Tanev (42.94%) and Giordano (45.63%). If Giordano starts dragging down Tanev’s numbers…. Oh boy.

Taken By Chance – Mangiapane and Dube weren’t able to generate a high danger chance while they were out there (at 5v5). Valimaki (56.03 SCF% // 27.09 HDCF%) and Stone (51.36 SCF% // 35.54 HDCF%) were on the positive side of chance ratios overall, but when they did get discombobulated, they allowed a dangerous chance. A blip in their recent play, but that’s not unheard of from Michael Stone.

On the positive side of things Giordano (57.59 SCF% // 86.91 HDCF%) may not have had the puck the majority of the time, but when he did the Flames were attacking. The top line won their matchup quite heavily too, and since 13-28-19 were united this teams looked like an entirely different animal.

xGF% - Speaking of Johnny Hockey (79.94%), he’s flying. Whether you’re in the keep him camp or the trade him camp everything we’re seeing from him lately is a positive. While they weren’t super dominating it’s worth noting that Hanifin (49.20%) and Andersson (64.42%) were on the swim side of the matchup together. Having 2/3 D pairs going gives the Flames a chance to win every game, and with the recent shift they’ve been absolutely in every single game.

Game Flow –

Only complaint i have is the fact they couldn’t score. They got their chances, they had them a plentiful amount too, but couldn’t get it done. Full on sadness as a win would have moved them back to 23% chance of playoffs - now they’re back at 4%.

Game Score – Gaudreau (2.11) Lindholm (1.95) and Tkachuk (1.77) led the way for Calgary, followed up by Giordano (1.46) and Andersson (1.14) – who are playing much better apart then they did at any point this season together. Lucic (-0.41), Nordstrom (-0.30), Backlund (-0.27) were your three Flames at the bottom.

Shot Heatmap –

That’s some really solid defence to be frank. Beautiful to see. The left point quit firing at will and tried to get the puck in close for more chances, and that worked really well too. More of this regardless what happens going forward please.

In The Crease – He was only beat on 2 High Danger chances, but damn they really needed that one extra save. It was a terrible defensive relapse from the defenceman on the ice and it just stung. Flames played so well defensively Markstrom only faced 17 shots at 5v5, saving 15 – it was an expected goals against of 1.13 goals.

Today’s Specials – All the chances, none of the goals. The Penalty Killing has been spectacular itself, and the powerplay is moving the puck better than it has in 2 years, but came up dry when they needed it most. Keep doing what they’re doing and it should work, nice quick puck movement and the pucks will go in.

Player Spotlight – Josh Leivo – Now I get he’s never going to finish off shots like Phil Kessel this man is going to have an opportunity to showcase what he has with Bennett out of town. He plays the least, but that’s still 10 mins a night. He’s a very good 3rd line right wing and I only hope next season he goes to a team and a coach that will appreciate the little things he does shift by shift to help his team get results.

Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –

1) Johnny Gaudreau

2) Mark Giordano

3) Matthew Tkachuk

The Flames celebrate Lucic’s 1000th game in a pre-game ceremony Monday night against the Senators.

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