Game Takes: Islanders 4 Flames 3 (OT)

November 7th, 2022 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Back to back games losing in overtime due to questionable overtime penalty calls?

Yikes … that’s a stretch.

Speaking of a stretch, that’s five straight losses for the Flames, with the last two in overtime as the team finds a way to lose a game they completely dominated through 40 minutes.

The glass half full gang will point to a two goal game by the top line, and a return to dominating opponents, but in the end that’s a great chance to end a negative streak thwarted by a questionable third period.

The controversy comes form a missed call in the last minute of the third period when Jacob Markstrom was taken down, followed by a penalty call against Rasmus Andersson in the extra frame.

Hopefully the overall game means the Flames have found their structure again.

We will see tomorrow night in New Jersey.

The Lineup

Chaos!

Well some chaos on blueline anyway.

Up front no change from the return to the season starting lines with Elias Lindholm between Jonathan Huberdeau and Tyler Toffoli, Nazem Kadri between Dillon Dube and Andrew Mangiapane, Mikael Backlund between Blake Coleman, Trevor Lewis, and finally Kevin Rooney with Milan Lucic and Brett Ritchie.

On the blueline not a lot of continuity with two of the three pairings halted due to injury.

The one pairing that holds has Noah Hanifin and Rasmus Andersson (could argue they shouldn’t still be together), an emerging pairing with Nikita Zadorov with Mackenzie Weegar, and then finally the depth pairing of Connor Mackey and Nick DeSimone.

In goal Jacob Markstrom.

Line MetricsĀ 

xGF%
Huberdeau – Lindholm – Toffoli 51.0%
Mangiapane – Kadri – Dube 47.3%
Coleman – Backlund – Lewis 55.3%
Lucic – Rooney – Ritchie 40.4%

Hanifin – Andersson 45.2%
Zadorov – Weegar 55.6%
Mackey – DeSimone NA

Goals Saved + Avg
Markstrom +4.4
Vladar -3.6

Trend Tracker:

A lot of focus on Jonathan Huberdeau’s struggles; and for good measure, but there’s been a huge downward trend for other impact players including the the entire Nazem Kadri line, and the Flames top defense pairing. With the depleted blueline the Flames need the top pairing and Kadri to be a huge impact defensively and not add to the woes. … At +4.4 goals saved above average, Jacob Markstrom is now up to 11th spot on the season, making goaltending the furthest thing from the a problem for the struggling Flames.

Quite the Start

The Flames haven’t had many periods … heck … they haven’t had many minutes in the last three games where they managed to take it to their opponents. A lack of energy, a lack of cohesion and at times a complete lack of work ethic. The one exception perhaps, the second period against the Seattle Kraken.

That is until tonight’s first period in Queens.

The Flames rolled their four lines and took it to the Islanders for the entire period, out shooting their hosts 18-2 and not giving up a shot against until the game was 12 minutes old; their first shot ironically went it.

New Building No Fans?

Odd to see such a sparse crowd for the game in Queens.

Weather was great (would be a heck of an excuse not to go to the game in Calgary tonight), team is decent … and usually even poor teams get a new building bounce that generally takes them through their first season.

Not the case tonight.

Looking at their stats for attendance on the season, and it doesn’t look to be a huge problem, they’re 95.6% and pretty much in the middle of the NHL rankings.

Very late back to their seats? Hot bar inside the rink so no one returns?

Backlund with a Deuce

How does this guy get benched in the third period of the Devil’s game?

Backlund takes a feed from Jonathan Huberdau in the first period and another from Nikita Zadorov in the the second to ring up a two goal game to pace the Flames.

A notorious slow starter through his career, Backlund now has four goals in 11 games to start the season.

Zadorov Continues to Impact Games

Honestly you can’t help but notice Nikita Zadorov each and every game this season.

Much more involved in the offence, tonight with another great assist. Much more involved in his own zone as can be seen by his great reach working his corner. And sometimes noticeable in turning the puck over and creating chaos against.

He’s the x factor for me on the blueline. He’s not a third pairing guy on some teams. If he improves and pushes the issue up the roster the Flames have five top four defensemen.

DeSimone Debut

His underlyings were miserable but mostly due to a lack of offence when he was on the ice.

Overall I thought he was pretty poised in how he managed the puck in his own zone, at least until his turnover in the third period that resulted in the Islanders tying goal.

He and Connor Mackey had a solid night though, big boost for the depleted team.

Flames Defense Deployment

I was with many in assuming that the Flames would lean heavily in the top two pairings, limiting their third rookie pairing to a handful of minutes.

But low and behold the Mackey/DeSimone pairing play 10 minutes keeping the Flames top two groups under the 25 minute mark; something that was probably needed.

With Chris Tanev on the trip it looks like they’re in decent hands until the veteran returns.

Special Teams

Through 11 games the Flames have had 57:40 of powerplay time, that’s good for 27th overall in the NHL. In terms of penalty kill time the Flames have had 76:47 of time shorthanded good for 7th overall in most minutes shorthanded.

Tonight the totals built further with two Islander powerplays and zero chances for the Flames.

The big issue was the call in overtime with the missed call late in the third period on Casey Cizikas sticking out his leg and taking down Jacob Markstrom.

Maybe the Dennis Wideman effect is still in play.

Tonight the Islanders win the game on a powerplay goal, so edge to the Islanders.

Standings and Record

Five game losing streak, and points in two straight … so much the confusion in today’s NHL with loser points.

The Flames still hold a playoff spot by points percentage, as they sit 8th in the conference after tonight.

In terms of points they are in 8th spot as well, just back of the Oilers.

Counting Stats

Shots: Flames 46 Islanders 32
Face Offs: Flames 43% / Islanders 54%
Powerplay: Flames 0-0 / Islanders 1-2

Fancy Stats

Was that the Flames best game of the season through 40 minutes? I would think so. The Islanders came on in the third period and managed to tie the game and force overtime. A questionable call in overtime after a missed call late in the third is the difference, but overall the Flames own the splits. Five on five the Flames had 55% of the shot attempts with period splits of 67%/60% and 39% respectively. In terms of five on five expected goals, the Flames had 62%, and for high danger scoring chances the Flames had 61%, with a 14-9 split.

In all situations the Flames had 54% of the shot attempts, 59% of the expected goals, and 63% of the high danger splits. And that’s without a second of powerplay time.

Individually the Flames were led by Connor Mackey! with an xGF% of 85% five on five on the night. Elias Lindholm had a huge night as well with 73%. Jonathan Huberdeau, Nazem Kadri, Mackenzie Weegar, Tyler Toffoli, Dillon Dube, Andrew Mangiapane, Noah Hanifin, Kevin Rooney, Rasmus Andersson, Milan Lucic and Brett Ritchie were all in the 60s. Nick DeSimone was at the bottom of the list at 10% but with a miniscule xGF driving his numbers down. DeSimone had the team’s third best xGA on the night.



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