Game Takes: Lightning 4 Flames 1

November 17th, 2022 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

For the most part a solid road effort for the Flames.

They drove the play for the most part, but got leaned on when it came to high danger chances in a 4-1 loss to the always dangerous Tampa Bay Lightning.

Jacob Markstrom kept them in it through the first period, couldn’t be faulted for the Tampa second period goal, but hurt them in the third with a freebe.

The Flames move on to play Matthew Tkachuk and the Florida Panthers on Saturday afternoon.

The Lineup

Only one change from the Monday night win over the LA Kings, and that’s Dennis Gilbert in for Mark DeSimone.

The move likely has less to do with DeSimone and more to do with Gilbert being a left shot, allowing Sutter to move Mackenzie Weegar over to his natural right side.

So on the blueline it’s the never changing top pairing of Noah Hanifin with Elias Lindholm, a reunited second pair of Nikita Zadorov with Mackenzie Weegar, and then Gilbert with Tanev.

Up front no change; he’s still running his two top eight forwards on all four forward lines. Elias Lindholm with Adam Ruzicka and Tyler Toffoli, Nazem Kadri with Milan Lucic and Andrew Mangiapane, Mikael Backlund with Jonathan Huberdeau and Trevor Lewis, and finally Dillond Dube with Blake Coleman and Brett Ritchie.

In goal Jacob Markstrom.

Line Metrics 

Ruzicka – Lindholm – Toffoli 68.4%
Lucic – Kadri – Mangiapane 60.8%
Huberdeau – Backlund – Lewis 62.9%
Coleman – Dube – Ritchie 77.3%

Hanifin – Andersson 50.9%
Zadorov – Weegar 60.6%
Gilbert – Tanev NA

Goals Saved + Avg
Markstrom +2.0
Vladar -2.3

Trend Tracker:

Interesting to see Sutter doing what he can to get Nikita Zadorov back with Mackenzie Weeger; that pairing was outstanding with Chris Tanev hurt and with Tanev trying to carry Dennis Gilbert it may give the Flames the best three pairs they can manage in Oliver Kylington’s absence. … Jacob Markstrom had his numbers slip a bit in the LA game, going from 2.8 above average in goals saved to 2.0. He’s been better, but still needs to be better. … All four forward line in very limited ice time are well above water.

If I Had My Way …

I’d just do away with offside challenges wiping out goals.

Put it back in the hands of the officials.

Nine times out of ten it doesn’t really change the play, and it takes away from some offence.

Tonight, under the existing rules the right call was made, don’t get me wrong, but I hate the delays and the goals being taken away.

Huberdeau Passes

Every great feed isn’t finished.

But I’d wager Jonathan Huberdeau’s finish rate on passes he’s put in great spots for blue chip chances is somewhere around 10% this season.

His pass to Mikael Backlund in Long Island might be the only exception I can think of.

Tonight a great pass to Chris Tanev in the slot in the first period but not the guy to finish and it goes nowhere. In the second period a pass to Trevor Lewis for a one timer, but pretty much the same situation.

Finally in the third he finds Elias Lindholm off the half wall and is rewarded.

I would think if he keeps putting pucks in those areas (which he will, it’s what he does) they start going in.

Enough With the Face Offs

Not sure what either both or one of the linesmen were up to tonight, but please wave the white flag when it comes to tossing guys from face offs.

Seemed like every face off inside the blueline going either way resulted in at least one if not both centermen tossed out.

Tough to watch.

Great 2nd Period Push Back

The Flames pretty much did what they could in the second period, with the frame being exactly what you want from a team down a goal and looking to have a solid road trip.

Out shot the Lightning 3 to 1, but couldn’t find the equalizer, and then gave up the insurance goal on a late Lightning powerplay.

The Flames have been humming under that PDO threshold for some time.

Tonight wasn’t much different.

Markstrom’s Night

At 2-0 I thought Jacob Markstrom was a difference maker in giving his team a chance.

At 3-1 that was no longer the case.

The whiff on the Myers goal just 10 seconds after the Elias Lindholm was a game ender both in degree of difficulty and in timing.

The Flames continue to struggle in goal this season. The guy has a solid resume and he’s not hurt; he’ll figure it out.

But for now not getting the save.

Special Teams

The Flames scored a powerplay goal, but it really didn’t feel like a powerplay goal … more like a five on five play.

Either way the Lightning score the game winner on a second period powerlay and go 1/2 compared to the Flames 1/3 … edge to Tampa.

Standings and Record

The Flames go back to  .500 with the loss and with that back into the muckinsee of the final playoff spot in the West.

Three teams tied for the final wild card spot with Calgary tied with St. Louis in games played just ahead of Nashville.

Hanging in there, but clearly not the start they wanted.

Counting Stats

Shots: Flames 40 Lightning 24
Face Offs: Flames 49% / Lightning 51%
Powerplay: Flames 1-3 / Lightning 1-2

Fancy Stats

Tonight was the poster game for modern NHL and having more stats to help us evaluate a game. The Flames badly outshot the Tampa Bay Lightning, but didn’t push pucks to the middle and for that they got tipped on both high danger splits and in expected goals. Overall, good shot volume, but not enough in terms of chance generation. Five on five the Flames had 63% of the shot attempts with period splits of 56%/69% and 64% respectively. In terms of five on five expected goals, the Flames had 42%, and for high danger scoring chances the Flames had 22%, with a 4-14 split.

In all situations the Flames had 58% of the shot attempts, 35% of the expected goals, and 22% of the high danger splits.

Very clearly the right team one. Shot volumes doesn’t win a game against a top NHL goaltender.

Individually the Flames were led by Dennis Gilbert with an incredible xGF% of 100% five on five on the night with limited ice time. Mikael Backlund was next up at 73% on the night. Jonathan Huberdeau and Trevor Lewis; Backlund’s linemates were in the 60s. Milan Lucic and Andrew Mangiapane had a miserable night at 9%

The Other Side …

Nikita Kucherov was lethal tonight at 82% xGF%. Brayden Point, Brandon Hagel and Mikhail Sergachev also had good nights. The Lightning fourth line got caved in with 0% nights for all of Patrick Maroon, Cole Koepke and P.E. Bellemare.

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