Game Takes: Flames 6 Canucks 5 (OT)

May 17th, 2021 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Well if a game isn’t going to mean anything it may as well be entertaining.

The Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames managed 11 goals on Sunday night in a meaningless game including four in the third period for the west coast hosts as they eliminated a four goal deficit and forced overtime, only to lose on a fluke goal in the extra frame.

The win gives the Flames two straight over Vancouver to finish off the regular season, the two clubs have two more afternoon dates this week (Tuesday and Wednesday) to complete the goal of getting out of the way of the ongoing playoffs and putting their seasons to bed.

For reverse standings, the Flames moved into in win percentage with Chicago at .491, so if the Flames split their remaining two games they will move into the 12th worst record and have the 12th best odds (Seattle in, Arizona forfeited).

The Line Up

Darryl Sutter pretty much triggered a city when he went with largely the same roster against Vancouver the other day, with nothing to play for. He did promise changes going forward, and tonight we see that with some youth coming into the lineup in the form of Conner Mackey and Juuso Valimaki, as well as a first NHL appearance for Adam Ruzicka.

-The Cage

Bit of a surprise to see Jacob Markstrom again, with nothing to play for and the fact that he’s started 16 straight games. But then the Flames aren’t really looking at a legitimate goalie in the players they have around the team. If Dustin Wolf was in town it would certainly warrant an interesting look, but with Parsons hurt all year and Zagadullin not what I’d call NHL pedigree, I guess it’s up to your starter.

Jacob Markstrom
Goals Saved above average -7.5

Louis Domingue
Yet to play

The Blueline

Two defenders out, and two defenders in. Nikita Nesterov takes a seat for Conner Mackey, while Oliver Kylington comes out for Juuso Valimaki. That makes the pairs Mark Giordano and Chris Tanev, Mackey with Rasmus Andersson, and Valimaki with Michael Stone. Looking forward to seeing the progress Mackey has made since his starts earlier in the season.

Giordano – Tanev
64% xGF in 274 minutes

Mackey – Andersson
62% xGF in 12 minutes

Valimaki – Stone
53% xGF in 129 minutes

Up Front

Some new blood up front as Adam Ruzicka gets into his first NHL action as a call up. Game doesn’t mean much to many, but it certainly does to the rookie. Dominik Simon is brought back off the dust heap, as he’s been in no man’s land for the better part of two months. The top line is the same with Elias Lindholm centering for Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk. The second line of Mikael Backlund between the Worlds wingers in Dillon Dube and Andrew Mangiapane. The third line of vets in Derek Ryan between Milan Lucic and Josh Leivo. Which leaves the fourth line of Ruzicka between Simon and Brett Ritchie.

Gaudreau – Lindholm – Tkachuk
61% xGF in 133 minutes

Lucic – Ryan – Leivo
71% xGF in 14 minutes

Dube – Backlund – Mangiapane
67% xGF in 7 minutes

Simon – Ruzicka – Ritchie
New Combination

~ Data from NaturalStatTrick, and Moneypuck

Eventful First Period for Ruzicka

No points, but he’s on the ice for the period’s only goal, a turnover strike from Josh Leivo, so just like that Adam Ruzicka is +1.

Later in the period he tries to take the lane away from Tyler Graovac, but gets his feet into the feet of the Vancouver player and takes a penalty in the process.

The Flames kill it off and no damage done.

Pretty quiet second period as well, though he does set up Ritchie for what looked to be a pretty decent chance.

Overall not the most impactful game, but then not surprising given his linemates and ice time.

Valimaki Nerves

It’s been that kind of season for Juuso Valimaki, but perhaps more so under Darryl Sutter.

He just looks jittery, uptight, nervous as all getup.

Tonight the same thing … pucks bouncing over his stick, mishandling pucks, and just not looking like the same player we saw in the tail ends of the Colorado – Flames playoff series in 2019.

Was good to see the game get out of hand and with that Valimaki getting some powerplay time and settling in. He needs that. His instincts are very unique on the Calgary blueline as the other defensemen don’t “sneak” up at all. He does it constantly.

It’s been a rough ride for the young player this season. Have to think he’ll be fine if he just loses the nerves.

Hopefully a normal off season rectifies that.

Mangiapane Robbed of a 20 Goal Season

He may find a way to score four more in the final two games, but if he doesn’t it’s a shame.

Sixteen goals in 56 games is certainly a 20 goal season, jilted by the pandemic and the chaos of the world as we know it.

He’s on pace for 24 over an 82 game schedule, something I think we’ll see season in and season out for the plucky winger.

What a sixth round pick.

Boeser’s High Stick

Just never understand the body gestures players use on obvious penalty calls.

Brock Boeser tracks Mikael Backlund into the Vancouver zone … hits him once with his stick in the upper chest, and then again in the face and then hand gestures to Backlund on the ice as to “why are you down wuss?”

Refs aren’t going to be fooled by a hand gesture, you only make yourself look like an idiot.

Mackey Eventful Second

Talk about finding a way on the scoresheet.

He crumples a Canuck, takes a penalty, is challenged by Jonah Gadjovich for a scrap, which is a spirited one.

Then comes out after the penalty and gets his second career point in dishing the puck to Andrew Mangiapane for his second goal of the period.

Not a bad resume for 20 minutes of action.

Have to think this player is very much in the mix for the Flames out of camp this fall.

Team Stats:

Shots – Flames 28 Canucks 25
Face Offs – Flames 39%
Powerplay – Flames 1/4 Canucks 0/1

Player Stats:

Points – Four different Calgary Flames with two point nights including Andrew Mangiapane with two goals, Josh Leivo and Elias Lindholm with a goal and a helper each, and Mikael Backlund with two assists.
Plus/Minus – Five different players with +2 games including; Mangiapane, Dillon Dube, Josh Leivo, Juuso Valimaki and Rasmus Andersson.
Shots – Mark Giordano had seven shots on goal to pace his club.

Fancy Stats

The Flames had the lion’s share of the play five on five which is supported by the numbers as they had 61% of the shot attempts with period splits of 74%/58% and 50%. Five on five high danger chances were 7-3 for the Flames (70%), and it will come as no surprise that the Flames had the xGF% spit as well at 56%.

In all situations (the Flames had almost twice the powerplay time) Calgary had 58% of the shot attempts, 68% of the high danger chances (15-7) and 59% of the expected goal split.

Individually the Flames were led by Derek Ryan with a 78% night centering the third line. Andrew Mangiapane and Dillon Dube were also in the 70s, while Mikael Backlund, Juuso Valimaki, Josh Leivo and Milan Lucic were all above 65%. Only one player, Elias Lindholm was under water at 46%, his linemates were over the break even line, but not too far away.

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