Game Takes: Flames 3 Kraken 2

December 28th, 2022 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Such an up and down game.

The Flames looked great early, but then let is slide in the first.

They started the second so terribly that Darryl Sutter called a timeout, but then turned it around for the rest of the 20 almost running Seattle out of the building.

In the third they find the game winner, and then do a pretty decent job of shutting down the Kraken and taking the win by a 3-2 score, avoiding a momentum sapping back to back regulation loss to start the post Christmas break.

They played back to backs before Christmas. They played back to backs after Christmas. Now they get a two day break before playing the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night (New Year’s Eve).

The Lineup

I’ve been saying this for ten days … it just can’t last; that is Milan Lucic in the top six. Yet the Flames have not had a point in the season where they’ve head their top three lines rolling as much as we’ve seen in the last 3-4 games. So with that it’s honestly hard to argue that things should change.

So change there is not …

Up front it’s Elias Lindholm with Dillon Dube and Tyler Toffoli, Nazem Kadri with Jonathan Huberdeau and Milan Lucic, Mikael Backlund with Andrew Mangiapane and Blake Coleman, and finally Trevor Lewis between Adam Ruzicka and Brett Ritchie.

On the blueline status quo as well; Noah Hanifin and Rasmus Andersson, Mackenzie Weegar with Chris Tanev and Nikita Zadorov with Michael Stone.

Dan Vladar the only change to the roster, as he moves from back up to starter in Seattle.

Line MetricsĀ 

Dube – Lindholm – Toffoli 52.4%
Huberdeau – Kadri – Lucic 49.2%
Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman 73.1%
Ruzicka – Lewis – Ritchie 61.4%

Hanifin – Andersson 52.6%
Weegar – Tanev 56.8%
Zadorov – Stone 54.2%

Goals Saved + Avg
Markstrom +4.4
Vladar -3.0

Trend Tracker:

The story continues to be the top defense pairing as the Hanifin/Andersson duel dominated in California and then again against Edmonton on Tuesday night. From a pairing that was sliding further below 50% game after game, they are now up to 52.4% on the season and pushing upward. … The other story is the top nine with Milan Lucic and the first sign of three line consistency we’ve honestly seen all season. Still think as we see more and more Jonathan Huberdeau sliding over to the right side five on five, we eventually see a Lucic swap out for Adam Ruzicka. Time will tell. … No real chang in goaltending stats with Markstrom having a solid game against Edmonton; not gaining or losing any ground in goals saved above average.

Toffoli & Kadri

The Flames have struggled to find chemistry in their forwards lines.

Some guys have started the season on their heels and are well back of their career averages, or at very least the numbers they put up last season.

But two players that have been there from the beginning of the season, and they don’t seem to be going away … Tyler Toffoli and Nazem Kadri.

A goal by each again tonight, Toffoli his 15th and Kadri his 14th as both players are heading for solid seasons offensively.

Proves I’m no pro scout … I thought Toffoli was done given his legs last season.

Ugly Start to the 2nd

What an ugly start to the second period for the Flames.

They give up a quick goal, then two quick breakaways and all kinds of zone time.

The ironic thing was the timing of the Darryl Sutter time out, which came right after the goal, but before the two Brandon Tanev breakaways.

Just a complete lack of mental focus.

Amazing they turned it around and then dominated the rest of the period, tying the game up.

Powerplay Won’t Be 26th For Long

The Flames powerplay is in the bottom quarter of the league … that’s not good.

Lately though it’s looked a lot more dangerous.

Last night against Edmonton they only had once chance, but had all kinds of chances. Tonight the Flames had 13 shots, nine scoring chances of which six were high danger in just 6:12 of powerplay time.

Keep doing that and to quote George Jefferson … They’re Moving On Up!

Sutter Message

The optimist in me is seeing something.

Way better details against the Oilers last night, despite the loss, and then tonight an up and down affair that ends with a good share of good Calgary hockey and a win.

Darryl Sutter calls a time out, and really it doesn’t have much of an affect as the Kraken generate all kinds of chances afterwards.

But is the overall message sinking in?

The Flames have had the lion share of most recent games, and are playing much better at their own blueline limiting shots and chances and giving their goaltenders an easier go.

Turning point?

Special Teams

The Flames win a special teams battle!

Calgary goes 1/4 on the powerplay while killing the only Seattle chance to win the non 5-5 battle 1-0 and push the difference in a 3-2 regulation victory.

Chalk it up! The penalty kill has been good all season but maybe the powerplay is turning it around.

Standings and Record

Huge win for the Flames.

They deserved better last night, but finding zero points in two games would have been rough after getting seven of eight points on their California road trip.

With the win the Flames leap frog the Oilers (for real) and the Kraken (they have games in hand) and into 3rd spot in the Pacific and out of the Wildcard race for the first time in a long time.

The one I care about though is win % and the Flames are not a playoff team in those terms sitting in 9th just a hair behind Edmonton.

Counting Stats

Shots: Flames 44 Kraken 31
Face Offs: Flames 57% / Kraken 43%
Powerplay: Flames 1-4 / Kraken 0-1

Fancy Stats

Such an up and down game. The Flames had a great start but a terrible finish to the first. Terrible start to the second but then some pretty good hockey the rest of the way. The result? A pretty even game overall between two middle of the pack Pacific teams. Five on five the Flames had 49% of the shot attempts with period splits of 45%/44% and 59% respectively. In terms of five on five expected goals, the Flames had 52%, and for high danger scoring chances the Flames had 48%, with a 14-15 split.

In all situations the Flames had 55% of the shot attempts, 60% of the expected goals, and 57% of the high danger splits. The all situations expected goal totals came out at 5.14 to 3.43.

The right team won, clearly.

Individually the Flames were led by Dillon Dube posting an xGF% of 77% on the night five on five. Andrew Mangiapane trying to make up for that third period penalty last night was also in the 70s. Tyler Toffoli and Nazem Kadri were in the 60s. Blake Coleman was at the back of the bus with a 28% night.

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