Game 4: Oilers 5 Flames 3 (Oilers lead series 3-1)

May 24th, 2022 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Lots of positives to take away from that one … but not the result.

The Flames played a great road game, overcame a painful Jacob Markstrom first minute turnover empty net goal, and then rebounded with their goaltender to turn a 3-0 deficit into a 3-3 third period tie before giving up a late third period goal and dropping a 5-3 contest to the Edmonton Oilers.

Darryl Sutter was pretty adamant in his post game comments that his team wasn’t going to lie down and we will see when the focus shifts back to Calgary for game five on Thursday night.

The game plan is set, as it pretty much was spot on tonight but they didn’t get the finish they needed to tie the series.

Lets see what they’re made of.

The Lineup

So Chris Tanev is seen at the morning skate handling the puck and skating with decent speed. Is he coming back? Additionally Juuso Valimaki was optioned back to the Heat yesterday, but wasn’t in the lineup last night for Stockton. Does that say they don’t need the extra body because Tanev is healthy enough to go in a pinch and potentially playing?

Likely not. But if that’s the case I’d guess Brett Ritchie comes out and Michael Stone stays in to provide some cover.

For now though we’ll assume the status quo …

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 49.5%
Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman 62.5%
Lucic – Lewis – Ritchie 69.0%
Dube – Jarnkrok – Toffoli 58.3%

Hanifin – Andersson 55.0%
Zadorov – Stone 68.8%
Kylington – Gudbranson 25.0%

Goals Saved + Avg
Markstrom +3.4

Playoffs Statistically (Five on Five)

Flames Splits …

CF% 61.0% (2nd)
SF% 58.0% (2nd)
GF% 50.0% (8th)
xGF% 59.5% (2nd)

Play Driving Players … (xGF%)

Stone 68.2%
Ritchie 65.5%
Zadorov 65.1%
Gaudreau 61.5%
Lewis 61.3%

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

Tanev 54.3%
Hanifin 55.5%
Toffoli 56.1%
Lindholm 57.0%
Andersson 57.1%

Markstrom Just Not Good Enough

I’m the last guy to jump on a goaltender, I think it’s pretty cliché.

But the stats in this series are the stats, and with an excellent chance to redeem himself he gives up a freebie just 21 seconds into the game.

No chance on the Edmonton powerplay goal, and the third one for Evander Kane was tipped by a Flames stick, but the bottom line is three goals on nine shots to start the game, with the Flames holding a pretty wide edge in five on five play.

As the game rolls on Markstrom was solid in the second, and huge in the third with a save on Draisaitl before Mike Smith evened the score when it came to goalie gaffs, but in the end Oliver Kylington doesn’t get his man on a rebound and the Flames lose.

Flames carry the play for the most part, but Markstrom the second best goaltender on the night.

Wasn’t good enough.

The Last 19:39 of the First Was Solid

Honestly the Flames got off to the start they wanted.

Well after the nightmare start they got off to the start they wanted.

The Flames settled things down and took it to Edmonton for most of the period with the only missteps being the Markstrom bobble and a terrible penalty by Tyler Toffoli that resulted in Zach Hyman’s fourth goal in four games.

The Flames had a 77% CF period, and 61% of expected goals and trailed 3-0.

Doesn’t have to be fair.

Hanifin Key on PP Goal

A lot of players with a lot of good touches to get the Flames on the board in the second period with an Elias Lindholm powerplay goal.

Lindholm’s shot was a rocket with a toe drag around a one leg down Darnel Nurse to hit the top corner blocker side.

But not to be overlooked were two great knock downs from Noah Hanifin to keep the play alive, his second of which came seconds before the Lindholm goal.

Just like that momentum had changed.

Backlund Was a Given

Don’t think there’s a forward playing better for the Calgary Flames in this series than Mikael Backlund.

Like most years he just reaches a completely different level in the playoffs making his contract more sensible as it ticks on through the years.

Tonight was going early skating laps around the offensive zone and creating opportunities.

In the second just after Lindholm’s powerplay strike he used his favourite backhand to forehand move to beat Mike Smith through the legs to make the game a one goal affair.

Oliver Kylington Net Front

Oliver Kylington just had to have Nugent Hopkins on the rebound in front of Jacob Markstrom.

Markstrom makes the save with Tyson Barrie coming down main street after Erik Gudbranson and Connor McDavid got tangled up and went down behind the net.

Rebound comes out and he just stands behind Nugent Hopkins and watches him put the puck in the net.

When the off season does come I’m guessing the second half the season for Kylington makes his contract negotiation much less ornery as we might have expected in January.

Bounce Back

Honestly was pleased to see the Flames shake off a three goal first period despite playing pretty well, to have a second period that made it a hockey game.

All season their consistency was one of the things that made the season one of the most enjoyable campaigns to watch in team history.

The thought of another two hours watching a team go through the motions was pretty unbearable, glad they made it interesting.

They get the game tying goal in the third and it looked like it would be a hell of story, and it was, compared to just fading and going away quietly.

Maybe this is 1991

The Flames were down 3-1 in 1991 before winning games five and six and forcing a game seven in Calgary.

Things didn’t go well in game seven, but I think that’s a script that most in Southern Alberta would be happy to follow if it meant a game seven in Calgary.

Have to win game five first though.

The Flames played their second best game of the series, and a solid road game for the most part in Edmonton.

They can at least draw on some positive and see where it goes.

Odds clearly favour the Oilers though.

Tanev Return

Man what a gutsy effort by Chris Tanev.

And an impactful one.

Clearly he has a messed up right shoulder, he has very little strength in the bottom hand of his stick, and it showed on the Zach Hyman goal.

But what a change to the Flames look on the blueline with his insertion.

Oliver Kylington didn’t have the best night, but he was certainly better, and so too were the top pairing and the third pairing with the Tanev sandwich in the middle.

Huge impact. Even at 70% he’s a huge add to the Flames blueline. He was number one on the team in expected goal splits, that’s amazing.

Managing McDavid

The Flames were way better against Connor McDavid tonight as they had better distance on the player and swarmed him whenever he got the puck.

He’s too good not to get his chances, but he was contained and with that the Flames had a much better night overall.

Hopefully they build on that and use it in game five.

Counting Stats

Shots: Flames 32 Oilers 26
Face Offs: Flames 57% / Oilers 43%
Powerplay: Flames 1-3 / Oilers 2-4

Fancy Stats

The Flames were pretty much dominant tonight in terms of shot attempts, but the game was much closer when it came to scoring chances. Five on five the Flames had 65% of the shot attempts with period splits of 77%/56% and 52% respectively. In terms of five on five expected goals, the Flames had 46%, and for high danger scoring chances the Flames had 50%, with a 9-9 split.

In all situations the Flames had 65% of the shot attempts, 46% of the expected goals, and 52% of the high danger splits.

Individually the Flames were led by Chris Tanev with 80% in terms of xGF%; just an incredible game for a player playing with one arm. Tyler Toffoli and Blake Coleman had high 50s numbers. Guys that struggled included Michael Stone with a brutal 18%, Dillon Dube, Trevor Lewis, and Milan Lucic all under 40%.

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