Game 2: Oilers 5 Flames 3

May 21st, 2022 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

A great start, and an excellent chance to get up two games to nil against the Edmonton Oilers was tossed away due to a complete loss of team discipline, and some odd calls as the Edmonton Oilers came from behind to beat the Calgary Flames 5-3 on Friday night.

Through two periods the Flames had less than two minutes of powerplay time, while Edmonton had over ten minutes and that was the difference in turning a 2-0 Calgary lead into a 3-3 tie early in the third period.

A turnover on a Calgary powerplay in the third resulted in a Zach Hyman game winner shorthanded.

Playoff series have many twists and turns, and now it’s the Flames chance to make adjustments. They’ll have to stay out of the box, and find a way to combat McDavid with foot speed and not fishing sticks as they head to Edmonton to try and reacquire home ice in the series.

The Battle of Alberta is on.

Oh and 8:50 pm game starts suck.

The Lineup

Not much has changed with the lineup in the last two days.

We are still seeing Chris Tanev in game day skates, but today he wheeled around with #8 ranked Connor Mackey and not with his usual partner Oliver Kylington. That seems to suggest he’s out, but it could be trickery as well.

So its Elias Lindholm with Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk, Mikael Backlund with Andrew Mangiapane and Blake Coleman, Calle Jarnkrok with Dillon Dube and Tyler Toffoli, and then Milan Lucic and Trevor Lewis mixing and matching the odd shift, Lewis helping out on the PK. And if they go with 12 forwards assume Brett Ritchie.

On the blueline it’s the expected six if Tanev can go. So it’s Noah Hanifin with Rasmus Andersson, Oliver Kylington with Chris Tanev, and Nikita Zadorov with Gudbranson. Michael Stone filling here and there if they go with seven, and lining up with Oliver Kylington in Chris Tanev’s place if he doesn’t.

Jacob Markstrom gets the start in the nets.

Playoff Line Metrics (showing most common trios/pairs in order of minutes)

Gaudreau – Lindholm – Tkachuk 51.2%
Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman 64.0%
Lucic – Lewis – Ritchie 65.5%
Dube – Jarnkrok – Toffoli 63.0%
Mangiapane – Backlund – Tofoli 45.5%
Dube – Jarnkrok – Coleman 33.3%

Hanifin – Andersson 57.4%
Zadorov – Gudbranson 61.0%
Kylington – Tanev 53.2%
Kylington – Stone 84.0%
Zadorov – Stone 75.0%
Hanifin – Tanev 37.5%

Goals Saved + Avg
Markstrom +1.0

Playoffs Statistically (Five on Five)

Flames Splits …

CF% 61.4% (2nd)
SF% 59.5% (2th)
GF% 54.8% (4th)
xGF% 60.9% (2nd)

Play Driving Players … (xGF%)

Stone 70.6%
Ritchie 69.6%
Lewis 64.8%
Zadorov 64.4%
Gaudreau 63.8%

Bottom of the list (no one under 50%) … (xGF%)

Andersson 59.2%
Toffoli 58.0%
Lindholm 57.7%
Hanifin 56.4%
Tanev 54.3%


This series was always going to be about the split of five on five to special teams hockey.

The Flames system allows them to manage the other team very effectively when they have all five players on the ice, but when you’re facing a player like Connor McDavid the seams and pockets just aren’t the same when you have only two forwards.

In game on the Oilers had four chances, likely one more than Sutter would like to see, but manageable. The Flames neutralized their powerplay completely allowing exactly zero high danger chances. The teams played five on five for 68.8% of game one.

Game two different story.

Only 36 minutes or 60% of the game played with all ten skaters on the ice. Another five minutes were played at 4 on 4, and the Oilers had almost 11 minutes of powerplay time to Calgary’s five.

That’s just not going to work.

Missing Tanev

Missing Tanev?

Yeah, big time.

Not only is he the Flames best shut down defenseman, he’s also the dman whisperer for young defensemen, and without him Oliver Kylington is struggling.

The trickle down against the Oilers is pretty obvious. Without Tanev the second pairing is now the third and the top pairing is pretty much on it’s own to handle all the tough assignments and that isn’t going all that well.

Michael Stone isn’t a 6 he’s a 7, and he’s certainly not a 4. Oliver Kylington with Chris Tanev is a decent 4/5, but he’s more of a 7 without the helpful hand of his defensive partner.

The Oilers have their own injury issues too, I get it, but Calgary’s issue is certainly impactful as well.

Hopefully they’ll see something like the Oilers situation where they can dress a 65% Tanev in games three and four. I think him being in the lineup will bring Kylington up a few notches as well.

Top of the Umbrella

The Flames use an umbrella set powerplay with one defenseman and four forwards.

Their powerplay has been pretty effective all season in that formation with one of Noah Hanifin or Rasmus Andersson getting it done at the top of the umbrella.

The way to beat this formation is to pressure the top of the umbrella and force turnovers. If you try that pressure and the point person is wily, you get a four on three down low and can score often.

If you succeed and turn the puck over it’s a short handed chance.

The Oilers, and Zach Hyman did exactly that on the game winner.

Should the Flames change tactics? I don’t think so. But they need to be aware and use it to their advantage. The player on the point has to dump it if their in trouble.

McDavid is Scary

Complete cheat code on the ice for the Oilers. It’s truly insane to watch.

Hockey has become a highly skilled sport, but one so deep with talent that you rarely see one player stand out so much. Every team seems to have a handful of guys that can beat players on one one, but nothing like McDavid when he just shreds a defense core.

To stop him you need to take a penalty. Do that and he’ll get you a man up.

Teams were very effective against McDavid in the last two seasons when they didn’t just line up on the blueline and hope to stick check him coming in; something the Flames did way too often last night.

You need a high forward (F3) anticipating and revving up at the same time he does, so you can provide adequate back pressure to the player when he tries to go through the line.

Great Start

The Flames had an amazing start and looked to be well on their way to taking a 2-0 series lead when they scored two quick first period goals (with Michael Stone and Brett Ritchie of all players getting it done).

But then a mid period five on five strike by Duncan Keith changed the complexion of the game and sent it into a back and forth special teams battle.

In the first period the Flames had four of the five even strength high danger chances, and were playing exactly the way they wanted to play.

Some sketchy discipline and a big role from the officials made it hard to stay with that plan.

Three Disallowed Goals

Interesting night for disallowed goals; both ways.

The Oilers had a first period goal called back on a quick whistle, and then a second period goal challenged and then over turned when the officials deemed McDavid went through Jacob Markstrom on a rush.

The Flames had a back breaker of their own not counted on a quick whistle in the third, when Calgary scored right back after giving up the game winner short handed.

Wonder if they’re going to add a review for goals that were whistled in the future. When you think about it, it’s just as much a mistake as missing an off side, or missing a goalie interference call on the fly.

Would Love to Know

What exactly happened in the second period with the Tyler Toffoli, Darnel Nurse, Matthew Tkachuk incident.

Did Toffoli say something to the Oiler bench after scoring? Or did Nurse just put his stick into Toffoli’s neck unprompted? And what did Matthew Tkachuk do to get sent off for unsportsmanlike conduct himself?

If the refs saw all of it, and it was prompted by Toffoli, and then sent of the two worst guys I’m good. But if it’s a Nurse being a douche and Tkachuk responding you’d think it would be better control of the series to take the guy who steps it up and Nurse certainly did that with the stick.

Who does that? Moron.

Counting Stats

Shots: Flames 40 Oilers 40
Face Offs: Flames 67% / Oilers 33%
Powerplay: Flames 1-5 / Oilers 1-6

Fancy Stats

As I said above, the game was very well played by the Flames when the officials were happy to just skate around and let them play. It’s every other situation that hurt them as the Oilers scored up a man, down a man, and with both teams down a man. Five on five the Flames had 60% of the shot attempts with period splits of 56%/60% and 65% respectively. In terms of five on five expected goals, the Flames had 58%, and for high danger scoring chances the Flames had 67%, with a 8-4 split. Keeping McDavid and the Oilers to only four high danger chances five on five is exactly the type of hockey you want to roll out in a playoff game.

In all situations the Flames had 52% of the shot attempts, 44.6% of the expected goals, and 41% of the high danger splits. In non five on five hockey the Oilers had an 8-3 edge in high danger chances.

Individually the Flames were led by Nikita Zadorov with 72% in terms of xGF%. Brett Ritchie was also in the 70s as he continues to defy skill odds and put up great underlying numbers. Six players were in the 60s including; Andrew Mangiapane, Matthew Tkachuk, Elias Lindholm, Erik Gudbranson, Dillon Dube and Johnny Gaudreau. Half the team was under water, and three players were under 40%; Rasmus Andersson, Noah Hanifin and Trevor Lewis.

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