Game Takes: Flames 3 Hurricanes 2 (OT)

October 22nd, 2022 | Posted in Game Day | By: D'Arcy McGrath

That was fugly.

The Flames once again came out flat, spotted the opposition two quick goals, but managed to battle back to win the game in overtime when Tyler Toffoli converted a Rasmus Andersson pass to complete the come from behind 3-2 overtime victory.

But don’t walk this out as a classic game from the local guys. The Flames were clearly the second best team on the ice in this one, and were lucky to get the game to overtime, let alone win it.

Details are slipping, and they were saved a two game skid by poor execution by the Hurricanes and a solid game by Jacob Markstrom.

Get to work buys.

The Lineup

You don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone …

Noah Hanifin one of the players most criticized for the second round defeat to the Edmonton Oilers (and justifiably so as he had a rough series) isn’t just another replaceable plug in the Flames roster. The team really missed him on Thursday night with two pairings scrambled, scratched player dressed, and another elevated. He’s back tonight, and with that all the lines and pairings are back to what we’ve seen.

So the blueline has Hanifin with Rasmus Andersson, Mackenzie Weegar with Chris Tanev, and Nikita Zadorov with Michael Stone.

Up front it’s Elias Lindholm between Johnathan Huberdeau and Tyler Toffoli, Mikael Backlund with Blake Stone and Trevor Lewis, and finally Kevin Rooney between Milan Lucic and Brett Ritchie.

Jacob Markstrom gets the start.

Line Metrics 

Huberdeau – Lindholm – Toffoli 52.6%
Mangiapane – Kadri – Dube 65.7%
Coleman – Backlund – Lewis 57.6%
Lucic – Rooney – Ritchie 32.0%

Hanifin – Andersson 57.6%
Weegar – Tanev 56.0%
Zadorov – Stone 73.7%

Goals Saved + Avg
Markstrom -0.6
Vladar -0.3

Trend Tracker: early in the season it’s interesting as the numbers swing wildly with the smaller sample size. Later in the year the numbers barely move game to game if the lines and pairings remain set. The fourth line had numbers in the 70s through three wins, but are now a 32% line heading into tonight given their brutal game against Buffalo. …. The third line has gone the other way; rough start in the first two games, but leading the way in each of the last two games … The Weegar/Tanev pairing has been a complete yo you; poor, great, great, poor and with that middling numbers. …. Both goaltenders have middling numbers, just under average. Not making a difference in winning, but not losing them games either.

The Good

The Flames penalty kill

All kinds of aggressive, they simply attacked the puck in their own zone, overloaded the puck side, gave no time and space and created havoc for the Hurricanes.

Killing off that first minor late in the third felt like a huge moment in the game, so when Blake Coleman took that double minor with six and a half minutes left it didn’t look good.

Instead they didn’t give the Hurricanes a sniff. Literally nothing.

The Bad

The start.

The Flames once again come out flat as a pancake and get run over by the Hurricanes for most of the first period.

Honestly, had me wondering if the Flames are/were in trouble against younger teams with speed, given the debacle against Buffalo the other night.

So it was good to see them settle things down in the second period and return to their structure and flip the script on what looked like a repeat of the Buffalo game.

The Ugly

Honestly the whole game itself.

The Flames were sloppy as hell all night. The Flames turned over pucks, bobbled pucks, missed the open guy with easy passes, had some bad bounces … it was literally a mess.

I kept thinking just get a damn point and was glad when it went to overtime.

Hopefully a step back towards the game they want to play, but not a Picasso.

Markstrom Solid

The only goal against Jacob Markstrom I didn’t like tonight was the third one, which was called back on an offside.

Two first period goals against, so his tough starts continue, though I don’t think I’d fault him on either.

The big thing for me though was the rest of the game, when it hung in the balance.

Markstrom was as good as he’s been all season in helping kill penalties in the third period, when the Flames were down for six minutes.

Hopefully a turning point for the season after a shaky start.

Kadri Continues to Roll

Points in every game, and six points in five games on the season (though I thought he’d have an assist on the Brett Ritchie goal, which is currently slated as unassisted).

On a sever year deal, the first give games doesn’t make a contract, but what a start for the free agent signing.

Love the guy on the powerplay, his one touches in the bumper spot keeps plays going that look to be a scramble and a turnover.

Love the guy on the bench, with his energy and how he plays off his teammates.

And love that second line with the younguns, literally the Flames best to get the season started.

Great addition.

Toffoli Off to a Start

Game winner tonight, plus an assist.

Three goals and two assists for five points in five games to start the season.

I think many would call it a solid Toffoli season if he garnered 20 goals and say 50 points, and he’s well on his way with a huge start to the season.

Don’t see a 60 goal season from the guy, but it makes it a lot easier to hit estimates and targets if you start off on the right foot.

That top line is still not finding it five on five, but in terms of special teams, and in odd situations like three on three overtime, Toffoli is finding the mark.

Will be interesting to see where it goes.

Special Teams

Have to give this one to the Flames.

Statistically it’s clear … four powerplays each but the Flames with the only goal. So there’s that.

But the fact that Carolina had the last three powerplays in a row in the third period, forcing the Flames to kill six of the final nine minutes down a man to get the game to overtime was huge.

The Flames penalty kill has been huge.

Standings and Record

Now five games into the season, may as well start talking standings.

The Flames lead the Pacific Division with eight points in five games to edge out Vegas, who has eight as well, but in six games.

In terms of the conference they are a point back of the Dallas Stars with even games played.

Counting Stats

Shots: Flames 32 Canes 27
Face Offs: Flames 48% / Canes 52%
Powerplay: Flames 1-4 / Canes 1-4

Fancy Stats

Simply an ugly game for the Flames when it comes to underlying stats. They had the edge in shots on goal, but when you really dig into the stats it’s pretty clear how impressive Jacob Markstrom really was. Five on five the Flames had 35% of the shot attempts with period splits of 28%/58% and 25% respectively. In terms of five on five expected goals, the Flames had 18%, and for high danger scoring chances the Flames had 8%, with a 1-12 split. That’s not a type, 8% … the Flames were down 8-1 in high danger after the first period, and then 4-0 the rest of the way five on five.

In all situations the Flames had 44% of the shot attempts, 44% of the expected goals, and 53% of the high danger splits. The Flames clawed back to some degree with the stronger of the two powerplays.

Individually the Flames were led by Mackenzie Weegar, with an xGF% of 51% five on five on the night. Every other player was under water, but the next best group included; Chris Tanev, Trevor Lewis, Mikael Backlund and Blake Coleman. Noah Hanifin and Milan Lucic had especially tough nights with xGF% splits under 10%.

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