Game 3: Oilers 4 Flames 1 (Oilers lead series 2-1)

May 23rd, 2022 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Not much you can take from a game like that.

The Flames had done a good job of winning the five on five portion of the first two games of the series, but struggled when it came to the Oilers powerplay or when the two teams were playing four on four.

Last night the Oilers befuddled the Flames at their own game, scoring four straight five on five goals in the second period, after having a huge territorial advantage in the first period as well, on the way to a convincing 4-1 victory on Sunday night.

The series now sits with Edmonton in the driver seat, up 2-1 and looking to take a stranglehold on Tuesday night in Edmonton.

For the Flames the story continues to be the loss of Chris Tanev, and how his absence has completely downgraded the team’s defense core rendering the five surviving members a shadow of their former selves.

I doubt Tanev is coming back, so they’ll have to look for answers internally.

Gut check time.

The Lineup

I think it’s time to just assume Chris Tanev is out, and stop writing up two different looks for the roster. It is what it is.

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 with Trevor Lewis and Brett Ritchie.

On the blueline it’s Noah Hanifin with Rasmus Andersson, Oliver Kylington with Michael Stone, and Nikita Zadorov with Gudbranson.

Jacob Markstrom gets the start in the nets.

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

Gaudreau – Lindholm – Tkachuk 51.1%
Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman 62.1%
Lucic – Lewis – Ritchie 69.4%
Dube – Jarnkrok – Toffoli 62.5%

Hanifin – Andersson 55.9%
Zadorov – Gudbranson 64.6%
Kylington – Stone 74.3%

Goals Saved + Avg
Markstrom +4.3

Playoffs Statistically (Five on Five)

Flames Splits …

CF% 61.3% (1st)
SF% 59.2% (1st)
GF% 54.9% (4th)
xGF% 60.6% (2nd)

Play Driving Players … (xGF%)

Stone 69.5%
Ritchie 68.0%
Mangiapane 65.0%
Zadorov 64.8%
Colema 64.7%

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

Hanifin 55.6%
Andersson 57.0%
Tanev 57.1%
Lindholm 57.1%
Toffoli 59.1%

Not Flames Hockey

Through two games of the series, as a Calgary fan you could hold on to the fact that the Flames were doing just fine five on five. It was the five on four or four on four that was creating issues for the team, and keeping the series from being 2-0 Calgary heading into game three.

That all went out the window in game three, as the Flames came out flat footed, completely lost their system and played horrible five on five; especially in the game’s first half.

The Flames did a reasonable job of weathering the storm when it came to high danger chances as the first period had only five Oiler chances to Calgary’s three, despite the shots being 12-6 for Edmonton five on five.

Second Period

Where the game completely got away was the first ten or so minutes in the second period.

The Oilers scored early in the period, and from there Calgary just seemed to press up the ice creating turnovers and odd man rushes that featured a total of four Oiler goals and huge nights for Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Evander Kane.

From there the Flames settled down, but the damage was done, and the game essentially over.

Switched Pairings

With the Chris Tanev hole in the lineup becoming the story, Darryl Sutter switched things up in the bottom two pairings; playing Nikita Zadorov with Michael Stone, and Erik Gudbranson with Oliver Kylington.

I honestly think that was part of the problem in the second with the odd man breaks, as the communication seemed to break down on the back end.

The Gudbranson / Kylington pair had a dreadful nights, spending too much time in their own zone, and often bailed out by Jacob Markstrom.

Kylington had another of his lose an edge falls in his own zone that almost resulted in a first period Edmonton goal.

Just Like the Dallas Series

The silver lining in this one is the familiarity to the Dallas series.

The Flames went to Dallas tied 1-1 and could have been up 2-0, and then got pretty much blown out in game three before winning games four and five pretty convincingly.

So they’ve been down this road recently.

Will getting their doors blown off be a wake up call back to the team’s system or do the Oilers just have the personnel to render those systems ineffective?

I guess we will find out Tuesday night.

Is this going to be a long series, or are the Flames heading for the ropes?

Special Teams

All the damage in this one was done five on five, with the Oilers torching the Flames in the first 12 minutes of the second with four even strength goals, including a natural hat trick from Evander Kane.

The Oilers went 0/5 on the powerplay, the Flames 0/4.

The Oilers only generated three high danger chances in nine minutes of powerplay time, the Flames generated four high danger chances in eight minutes on the powerplay.

Mike Smith Getting it Done

Personally I don’t think Jacob Markstrom had much of a chance on three of the four Oiler goals last night, with the first one to Zach Hyman being the one he may have wanted back.

At the other end though, Mike Smith continues to defy the odds and play a huge role in this series. Really other than the six minutes to start the series he’s been great through the playoffs as he’s posted the 2nd highest goals saved above average in the playoffs at 6.0, trailing only Jake Oettinger.

Through three games it seems like the Oilers have the depth and the goaltending, and not Calgary as was expected.

Counting Stats

Shots: Flames 33 Oilers 41
Face Offs: Flames 55% / Oilers 45%
Powerplay: Flames 0-4 / Oilers 0-5

Fancy Stats

When the dust settled on this one, the Flames had crawled back into things having a much better second half of the game. That’s score effects to a “T” though as the game was already over. The Oilers were home and cool. Five on five the Flames had 51% of the shot attempts with period splits of 39%/44% and 78% respectively. In terms of five on five expected goals, the Flames had 49%, and for high danger scoring chances the Flames had 48%, with a 10-11 split.

In all situations the Flames had 52% of the shot attempts, 51% of the expected goals, and 48% of the high danger splits.

Individually the Flames were led by Michael Backlund, who continues to have a strong playoffs, with 69% in terms of xGF%. Three other players were in the 60s including; Michael Stone, Andrew Mangiapane, and  Nikita Zadorov. Half the team was under water, but at the very bottom was Erik Gudbranson and Oliver Kylington who averaged 22% between them. 22%!!!!

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