Game 6: Stars 4 Flames 2 (series tied 3-3)

May 14th, 2022 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

A tale of two hockey games.

A first period where the Flames came out roaring, took over the first period and looked every bit the team that was hell bent on ending things in game six and moving on to round two.

Then the Hyde of teams showed up the rest of the way, as the Flames got stuck in their own zone, turned over many a puck, and pretty much gifted the game to the Dallas Stars forcing game seven.

The 4-2 Stars victory was their best game in the series to date, and perhaps the credit should go to what they changed and accomplished versus what the Flames didn’t or wouldn’t do.

Game seven goes Sunday night in Calgary.

Is this the ’89 first round that took the Flames to new heights? Or the Ducks game seven from 2006 that had us all scratching our heads?

I guess we’ll find out.

The Lineup

A complete reset? Or more slight of hand?

This morning Darryl Sutter walked out a return to the look from games 1-3 and not the nine leaned on forward, a pair of stragglers and seven defensemen as we saw in games four and five.

I doubt it.

So I’m going to guess the following …

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.

On the blueline it’s the expected six, with Erik Gudbranson coming back in after taking a pass on the final regular season game in Winnipeg. So it’s Noah Hanifin with Rasmus Andersson, Oliver Kylington with Chris Tanev, and Nikita Zadorov with Gudbranson.

Jacob Markstrom gets the start in the nets.

Series Line Metrics (showing most common trios/pairs)

Gaudreau – Lindholm – Tkachuk 50.0%
Mangiapane – Backlund – Tofoli 50.0%
Dube – Jarnkrok – Coleman 33.3%
Lucic – Lewis – Ritchie 55.6%

Hanifin – Andersson 59.1%
Kylington – Tanev 57.8%
Zadorov – Gudbranson 61.5%

Goals Saved + Avg
Markstrom +4.3

This Series Statistically (Five on Five through two games)

Flames Splits …

CF% 60.6% (1st)
SF% 58.6% (1st)
GF% 62.5% (3rd)
xGF% 58.4% (3rd)

Play Driving Players … (xGF%)

Backlund 65.0%
Mangiapane 64.0%
Coleman 63.9%
Toffoli 62.6%
Kylington 62.6%

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

Gudbranson 56.3%
Lucic 57.5%
Lindholm 56.7%
Tanev 58.0%
Dube 58.4%

Good Start, Sag in 2nd

When you write up a road game in the playoffs, the start would look pretty  much like what the Flames brought forward last night.

They jumped on the Stars pretty early, after a shift or two of managing the crowd, and put 18 shots on net, including nine high danger chances in the period. That 9 times out of 10 is a 1-0 or 2-0 lead and you potentially never look back.

Not this time. Jake Oettinger was very good, as we’ve come to expect, and in some cases lucky with a post, and a save from his defenseman, but either way it’s a they couldn’t find the net, and found themselves down a goal through 20 minutes.

The second period is where things went very very wrong.

Either the Flames got off their game, or the Stars got firmly on theirs as Dallas flipped the tables and clearly out played the Flames, forging a 2-0 lead before the Flames roared back to tie it. A late goal by Dallas again sent them to the rooms up a goal.

Felt like that middle period lost them the game.

Tough Night for Kylington

Really unlucky night for Oliver Kylington.

He breaks his stick on a dump in / change in the first period creating a turnover that ends up in the net as he leaves the ice in the first period.

Then when Chris Tanev got crunched by the Stars bench in the second, he bobbles the turned over puck, creating a breakaway for the Stars and a 2-0 lead.

Neither were mistakes as much as bad bounces, but he was right in the middle of both of them.

Coleman the Catalyst

It’s amazing how much Blake Coleman means to middle six lines.

It appears to me … that if he’s with Mikael Backlund the trio dominates (with Andrew Mangiapane) as a second line giving the Flames a formidable one two punch at the top of their roster.

If he’s with Calle Jarnkrok, he creates a snake bit, play driving trio that can be trusted in any scenario.

Without him though the Backlund line loses offence and just checks, and as we saw last night the third line gets completely filled in with Tyler Toffoli taking his place.

The guy is likely overpaid when it comes to offence, but man is he important when it comes to playing the team’s system and winning hockey games.

Does have have a brother in Texas?

Markstrom’s Night

Honestly great.

He just got out goalied by the kid in game six.

He would clearly want to have the first one back, it just went under his pad (through his legs) with no screen.

But he made a lot of saves, and some that were unimaginable like the third period semi-scorpion save he made to keep the game a one goal affair.

On the night he had a .923 save percentage, its just that other guy had a .947.

Stripes Stay Out of It

You can tell the referee union got the message on the coincidental minors issue, as that pretty much went away after the midway point of game four.

Tonight only five minors called, and with that five powerplays, with all five coming up empty.

The five on five game the Flames wanted, only they didn’t play it.

Face Offs Killing Them

The Flames are a puck possession and cycle team.

When they win a face off in the offensive zone they can get right to work.

When they lose them all it comes out, they need to reset and bring it back in. All season the Flames have been a very average face off team with very respectable 51.1% good for 11th overall.

The only problem is they’re playing the 2nd overall face off team in the Dallas Stars, who won 54.8% of their draws in the regular season.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Flames are the team that bent when it came to percentages in the playoff series with Dallas. The Stars are still humming along at 54% (Calgary clearly 46%) through the series, but last night it was much worse … 64% for the Stars overall, and up to 77% near the end of the second period.

That’s a lot of times starting without the puck.

Counting Stats

Shots: Flames 38 Stars 40
Face Offs: Flames 32% / Stars 68%
Powerplay: Flames 0-2 / Stars 0-3

Fancy Stats

As I said previously the Flames had an amazing first period, its just after that where things honestly fell apart. The Flames played two of their worst periods in the series to finish the game, resulting in a very deserved loss in my opinion. Five on five the Flames had 52.4% of the shot attempts with period splits of 63%/34% and 62% respectively. In terms of five on five expected goals, the Flames had 54%, and for high danger scoring chances the Flames had 55%, with a 12-10 split. When you look at all those numbers though, they were under water on all of them after their dominant first period.

In all situations the Flames had 50% of the shot attempts, 42% of the expected goals, and 50% of the high danger splits.

Individually the Flames were led by Milan Lucic with 81% in terms of xGF% with very limited minutes. His usual linemate, Trevor Lewis also had a great night with 74% with a few more minutes on the ice. Nikita Zadorov, Erik Gudbranson and Blake Coleman were all in the 60s. Michael Stone, Calle Jarnkrok and Dillon Dube were all under or near 40%.

All content is property of and cannot be used without expressed, written consent from this site.