Game Takes: Ducks 3 Flames 2

November 7th, 2018 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Compared to a lot of nightmare games in Anaheim over the years, this setback felt more like a win.

No the Flames didn’t get the two points and continue their streak, but for the sixth straight game they badly outplayed their opponent, this time coming up just short of yet another third period comeback.

Truthfully they did complete the comeback, scoring late in the first to cut the lead in half and then tying the game in the third shorthanded when Mark Jankowski scored his first of the season. However, thirty seconds later the Ducks went back in front again and despite out shooting the Ducks 16-3 in the third period and 34-15 from the Duck’s second goal on the Flames just couldn’t pull it out.

Line Up Changes

Due to the injury to Dillon Dube on Saturday night, Bill Peters was forced to make a change up front and I’m guessing Austin Czarnik was more than happy to return to the lineup under any circumstances. Additionally, with the Dube roster spot open (he was placed on the IR), the Flames recalled Anthony Peluso from Stockton, and inserted him with Garnet Hathaway coming out.

The big change on the night though is the change to the 3M Line with the right wing “M” Micheal Frolik moving down a line to play with Sam Bennett and Derek Ryan, with James Neal moving up to take his place with Matthew Tkachuk and Mikael Backlund.

My fear is Neal will hurt the shutdown-ness of that line, though I like his jam in conjunction with Tkachuk. My fears were somewhat over the top as it turned out as the line didn’t get in a whole lot of trouble defensively, Neal leading the way with a 69% possession number.

Lucic and the Dube Connection

I was somewhat surprised to see Milan Lucic not suspended for his stalking and take down of Mathieu Joseph last night. It’s interesting that the Joseph hit on Kris Russell was eerily similar to the Duncan Keith hit on Dillon Dube on Saturday night, a hit that had Dube missing tonight’s game.

Keith was kicked out, as the refs saw the play so there really isn’t a comparison in response. However I have to wonder if there would have been a stalking, take down, punch to the head and straddle of Keith should he have remained in the game given the fact the Flames don’t have a player like Lucic.

No enforcer you’re thinking, and to a point you’d be right, but what I truly mean is a former star player that doesn’t have the speed or hands to play in today’s game looking to add something to his lineup in the face of having very little to offer.

The only thing that surprised me more than the $10k fine was the reaction to most Oiler media defending the action.

That was worst of the bunch, but there were many.

I’m not sure what “in the equipment” means, but I don’t think the Flames have a plan to get “in the equipment” of Kane and Toews next time they meet the Blackhawks.

Surviving Mike Smith

Sounds like a Hollywood script title right? In fact it’s the current state of the Calgary Flames whenever Mike Smith starts. I was a defender early in the season but he’s been too sketchy for too long. Coming in to tonight’s game Smith has had three quality starts in 10, with five considered poor, and two neutral. Three in ten isn’t starting goaltender material.

Tonight a long unscreened goal followed by a long wrister unscreened that kicked out a huge rebound and just like that it was 2-0 Anaheim. He settled down for the rest of the period, and into the second but you just can’t have starts like that for a team to dig out of every night.

Back Pressure

A good deal of the improvement of the team’s defensive game has come from the forwards buying into the backcheck and back pressure in the last five games.

Almost seemed like they’ve taken it to another level with a few practice days with their back pressure tonight as the Ducks were forced to move the puck quickly on the attack and were often pick-pocketed from behind from a Calgary forward.

Continue to do that and you win a lot more games than you lose in this league.

Face Offs

The Ducks ere always a tough team to matchup against for Calgary or really any team in the face off dot. With Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler it was always a battle, two years ago they had Antoine Vermette as their third line center to really keep the domination rolling.

The tables have turned in that matchup as the Flames have two elite face off guys and two internal options that have developed into pretty good drawsmen themselves, all combining to take 58% of the face offs on the night.

Through 15 games the Flames were ranked 6th in face off win percentage at 51.7% trailing 0.6% back of Carolina and 0.9% back of the Dallas Stars.

Fancy StatsĀ 

As you’d imagine the Flames had a pretty good night when it came to underlying numbers. Five on five the Flames had 59% of the shot attempts on period splits of 52%/63% and 68% with a total count of 58-36 by night’s end. The Flames also had the lions share of the scoring chances (63%) and the high danger chances (63%) with their recent streak of not giving up much continuing; the Flames only gave up seven on the night.

In all situations the Flames had 60% of the shot attempts, 61% of the scoring chances and 65% of the high danger chances (17-9).

Individually only three players failed to best the 50% mark on the night with Anthony Peluso at 37.5%, TJ Brodie at 47% and Mark Giordano at 50%, the top pairing having an odd bad night in comparison to recent games. At the top of the list Rasmus Andersson led the way with 77%, joined by Noah Hanifin in the 70s at 70% flat. James Neal, Jusso Valimaki, Sam Bennett and Mark Jankowski were all in the high 60s.

In terms of high danger splits, Noah Hanifin (7-2), Sean Monahan (5-0) and Elias Lindholm (5-0) led the way at +5.

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