Game 7: Flames 3 Stars 2 (OT) (Flames win series 4-3)

May 15th, 2022 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Now that was an experience.

And honestly it played out pretty close to as expected.

We knew a few things going into game seven …

  1. It wasn’t going to be easy
  2. They’d have to have a huge shot volume on Jake Oettinger to get it done
  3. The Flames would never choose a path of less resistance

So the relief pretty much matched the noise level when Johnny Gaudreau went short side high from a bit of a sketchy angle to end the game and the series in overtime, putting the Flames through with a 3-2 overtime victory.

The Flames move on to play the Edmonton Oilers in the second round of the playoffs, a series that starts on Wednesday night at the Saddledome.

That’s the first time these teams have met in 32 years dating back to the 1991 playoff series that had the Flames bow out in seven games.

This could be something else.

The Lineup

No such as thing as knowing the lineup these days.

Chris Tanev is dinged up so he may or may not be in the lineup. My gut tells me he plays but with Michael Stone also dressed just in case. The Flame’s Nikita Zadorov had a hearing for his open ice hit on Glendening, but did not get suspended.

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. Michael Stone filling here and there.

Jacob Markstrom gets the start in the nets.

Series Line Metrics (showing most common trios/pairs)

Gaudreau – Lindholm – Tkachuk 45.1%
Mangiapane – Backlund – Tofoli 50.0%
Dube – Jarnkrok – Coleman 33.3%
Lucic – Lewis – Ritchie 55.6%
Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman 68.2%

Hanifin – Andersson 55.9%
Zadorov – Gudbranson 64.0%
Kylington – Tanev 53.2%
Hanifin – Tanev 37.5%
Kylington – Stone 80%
Zadorov – Stone 55.6

Goals Saved + Avg
Markstrom +4.1

This Series Statistically (Five on Five through two games)

Flames Splits …

CF% 58.8% (2nd)
SF% 55.9% (3rd)
GF% 53.4% (6th)
xGF% 57.4% (3rd)

Play Driving Players … (xGF%)

Stone 64.8%
Backlund 63.8%
Coleman 62.3%
Mangiapane 62.3%
Zadorov 61.2%

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

Zadorov 61.4%
Gudbranson 60.8%
Gaudreau 60.3%
Coleman 59.6%
Backlund 59.3%

Tyler Toffoli Off the Snide

Tyler Toffoli finished the series second in shots on goal with 23, and finally got one through Jake Oettinger.

Getting a goal scorer out of a rut is a huge thing for a team heading to the second round, but within the game it was also hugely important.

The Flames, giving up the first goal early in the second and then churning chances but not solving Oettinger just had that feeling of maybe not being their night.

Instead Toffoli tips in a point shot and just like that the guy was beatable.

Second in shots, second in shot attempts, second in scoring chances and fifth in high danger chances … it was only a matter of time. Glad he got it done.

Now fill the net against Edmonton.

Matthew Tkachuk Best Game of Series

Matthew Tkachuk silenced some critics tonight.

He scored a huge game tying goal in the second period, and then picked up an assist on the game winner in overtime to bring his series total up to six points in seven games … not bad for a player being called out by many a fan.

Game seven was certainly his best twirl of the series, as he handled the puck much more like he did in the regular season suggesting he either calmed his nerves down, or perhaps had another day off to heal his mitts after that game three scrap that seemed to set him back.

Either way, have to like heading into an Edmonton series with Tkachuk looking more like himself.

Johnny Gets it Done

Honest … hands up … how many of you were thinking “no!” when Gaudreau chose to shoot from the sketchy angle on the unbeatable goaltender in overtime?

I know I did.

And then you’re jumping up and down and hugging strangers.

The Flames kept the shot volume up through the whole series, and Gaudreau was at the top of the pile in almost every single stat including the important ones with eight points in the seven games.

Clearly the “can’t play in the big games” epitaph is dead.

I thought he had won it earlier in overtime when the Flames had the powerplay and the puck squirted out to him in the high slot, so it was fitting to see him ice it with the short side over the shoulder winner.

What a player.

Shots on Goal

When you get 67 shots on goal you expect to see some individuals with some high counts.

Noah Hanifin had nine shots himself. Erik Gudbranson had eight. Blake Coleman and Johnny Gaudreau each has seven.

Every single player had at least one shot, and all but three players had more than one.

What a workload for the young goaltender.

Markstrom so Solid

I wouldn’t call it relaxing to have a goaltender like Jacob Markstrom in net when the Stars ventured into the Flames zone every nine minutes or so … but it’s close.

He’s just so positionally sound that you don’t expect him to get beat by unscreened, non slot crossing chances.

But with the other guy standing on his head all game, you needed that, as average goaltending from the Flames would have had them out in five games with what Oettinger was doing at the other end.

Next up it’s the Oilers, and Mike Smith is playing well, but I’m guessing there’s not a player, coach, or fan in this city that isn’t glad they get to see someone different.

Oettinger Numbers

The following numbers are astounding.

The Flames had 564 shot attempts in the seven games series. The Penguins had 525 with 35 more minutes of overtime hockey.

Calgary had 283 shots on goal, 252 scoring chances, and 104 high danger chances.

They were in last place for shooting percentage with just 5.3%, meaning of course that Oettinger finished the series with a .947 save percentage.

He almost stole the series.

Flames Bounce Back in the Dot

Was interesting to see the Flames win 55% of the faceoffs tonight with how they’ve been bested through the series, and out and out dummied in game six.

Face offs can be over thought in terms of impact on the game, but it certainly stands to reason that a team pouring it on will have more pouring to do if they can win faceoffs after icing calls, or goalie freezes and keep their collective foot on the opposing throats.

Losing those draws kills a lot of momentum.

So really good sign to see them find their footing in game seven.

The key victors were the cousins as Elias Lindholm won 70% of his draws, and Calle Jarnkrok 67% as well.

Counting Stats

Shots: Flames 67 Stars 28
Face Offs: Flames 55% / Stars 45%
Powerplay: Flames 0-3 / Stars 0-1

Fancy Stats

The underlying stats in this game do not add up to an overtime game. They read like a decisive 5-2 game seven victory with the home side showing up and putting the boots to their visitors. Instead it’s 75 minutes of nail biting hockey, but a win nonetheless. Five on five the Flames had 67.5% of the shot attempts (and 114 overall five on five) with period splits of 70%/83%/61% and 50% respectively. In terms of five on five expected goals, the Flames had 63%, and for high danger scoring chances the Flames had 70%, with a 19-8 split. A blow out disguised as a nail biter.

In all situations the Flames had 69% of the shot attempts (129!), 67% of the expected goals, and 72% of the high danger splits, with a total of 21 on the night.

Individually the Flames were led by Michael Stone with an amazing 93% in terms of xGF%. His defense partner Oliver Kylington had 87%. Six Flames were in the 70s including; Dillon Dube, Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm, Nikita Zadorov, Matthew Tkachuk and Trevor Lewis. Only four players finished on the wrong side of the balance; Noah Hanifin, Rasmus Andersson, Andrew Mangiapane and Mikael Backlund.

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