Meaningless Game Takes: Canucks 4 Flames 2

May 18th, 2021 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Meaningless game number three gets a decent finish with the Flames pouring it on in the third period in an attempt to erase a 3-0 lead.

Late goals by Andrew Mangiapane and Matthew Tkachuk make it close, before the Canucks put it away with an empty net goal off a Milan Lucic turn over.

One more to go!

Who Played

Some odd moves from the Flame’s Darryl Sutter for game number 55.

Juuso Valimaki, who I thought had a solid game on Sunday night, comes out for Nikita Nesterov. And up front Josh Leivo who scored twice on Sunday is out for Joakim Nordstrom.

No appearance from any other farmhands, but at least Conner Mackey and Adam Ruzicka stayed in the game.

We finally see a change in goal with Louis Domingue getting his first start in Flame’s silks, Jacob Markstrom with the night off.

Tkachuk Effect on Gaudreau

It’s been an interesting experiment.

There was no secret that Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan were getting a little predictable, and with that their five on five production pretty much flatlined. This season we have learned that Monahan was hurt, and needs hip surgery, but the problem dates back to the tail end of the 2018-19 season and wasn’t just a single off year.

Meanwhile Matthew Tkachuk had a season where every little trick play; either between his legs or a chip to a player that didn’t skate to empty ice has been a disaster.

So what happens when you put them together?

Those odd little chips are tough to predict, and Johnny Gaudreau seems more in tune and is picking up on what Tkachuk is going to do. As a result Matthew Tkachuk is more effective again, and Gaudreau more dangerous as he’s harder to defend against with Tkachuk not following any set plays.

Clearly Elias Lindholm is no slouch, and doing is usual relatively silent but effective support best.

The late goal gives Gaudreau 19 points in 15 games with one more on the docket.

As I’ve said before, if Gaudreau has reasonable extension demands that line might be one the should look at bringing back.

Ruzicka First Point

Not a very noticeable game again to be honest.

The big guy plays a perimeter game for the most part, and doesn’t really dig in and take his game to the high traffic areas.

But he did pick up a third period assist for his first NHL point when Andrew Mangiapane scored his 17th of the season.

Speaking of Mangiapane

Nice to see another goal from the five on five scoring machine.

That’s 17 as I said, leaving that remote possibility that he might find a hat trick tomorrow afternoon to get to 20.

What a player, and what another great season.

Clearly a staple for the team’s top six going forward.

Rough Night for Nesterov and Andersson

The switch up on the blueline backfired to an extent, at least as much as any one can create a backfire in a game that doesn’t matter.

On Sunday night all three pairs had some decent chemistry, with Valimaki having one of his better games of the season.

But the change put Nesterov with Andersson, and they both finished -3 on the night.

Guessing we will see that changed up again.

Domingue is What it Is

Not going to jump on a goalie that hasn’t played an NHL game in 14 months, and has only played three AHL games on the season.

I’m sure he’d like to have two of the goals back, but honestly all three were good shots.

The Flames out shot the Canucks badly and likely would have won the game going away if you swapped goaltenders, but no point in hanging this one on the goalie chef.

Fancy Stats

The Flames led the way five on five with 54% of the shot attempts on period splits of 41%/59% and 62%, as they pretty much took over. The high danger chances were similar falling to Calgary by a 10-6 margin (63%), while expected goal splits were 64% for the Flames.

In all situations (both teams were 0/3 on the powerplay), Calgary had 59% of the shot attempts, 71% of the high danger chances and an expected goal split of 65%.

Individually, the Flames were led by Chris Tanev and Joakim Nordstrom who had 75 and 71% respectively. Mikael Backlund, Mark Giordano and Andrew Mangiapane were all in the 60s. Five players finished under 40%; Adam Ruzicka, Michael Stone, Brett Ritchie, Conner Mackey and Dominik Simon.




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