Game Takes: Blues 4 Flames 3 (OT)

January 10th, 2023 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

They just keeping finding a way.

Not like the Hartley Flames in 2015 where they found a way to pull off miracles out of nowhere.

This team finds a way to drop points, avoid positive streaks and remain on the bubble in the Western Conference standings as they dropped a 4-3 overtime game in St. Louis after building a 3-1 lead through 40 minutes.

So much inconsistency both in skaters and in the net with Markstrom tonight.

Just not getting it done.

They get a chance at revenge in just under two days as they play the Blues again on Thursday night.

The Lineup

Just one change, that being Walker Duehr in on the fourth line for Radim Zahorna.

That creates a shift back to center for Adam Ruzicka between Duehr and Trevor Lewis. The other lines remain the same with Elias Lindholm between Dillon Dube and Tyler Toffoli, Nazem Kadri between Milan Lucic and Jonathan Huberdeau, and finally Mikael Backlund between Andrew Mangiapane and Blake Coleman.

On the blueline no change; Noah Hanifin with Rasmus Andersson, Mackenzie Weegar with Chris Tanev, and Nikita Zadorov with Michael Stone.

In goal no change as well; Jacob Markstrom with the start.

Line Metrics 

Dube – Lindholm – Toffoli 54.4%
Huberdeau – Kadri – Lucic 50.2%
Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman 71.5%
Duehr – Ruzicka – Lewis NA

Hanifin – Andersson 53.3%
Weegar – Tanev 57.8%
Zadorov – Stone 51.7%

Goals Saved + Avg
Markstrom +2.4
Vladar -1.1

Trend Tracker:

The gap between the two goaltenders tightened considerably with the game in Chicago. Jacob Markstrom had almost 2.0 goals stripped off his goals saved above average, and Dan Vladar improved his number by 0.3. There is now just 3.5 between them total, and a paltry 0.16 goals/60 (adjusted by ice time). … The Zadorov/Stone pairing had a rough night in Chicago as well, losing 3 percentage points in their xGF% together. Still hoping we get some good news on the Oliver Kylington front soon. … The Kadri line had a good night in the Windy City and moved their mark above the 50% plateau.

Kadri a Hated Man in St. Loo

Intentional … unintentional.

Regardless where you fall on the topic, his crashing into Jordan Binnington was a turning point in a playoff series last year, and helped the Avalanche win a Stanley Cup.

So interesting to watch the two main actors in the controversy back on the ice together tonight, with Binnington getting the start for the Blues.

Binnington can be a fiery, distracted mess at the best of times

Not a Good Start

Yikes … not a good start for the Flames tonight.

Four minutes in and they had taken two penalties, and allowed an own goal shorthanded.

Beyond that though a lot of blown coverage in their own zone with St. Louis Blue players being allowed to walk out of the corner and into Jacob Markstrom’s kitchen on three different occasions.

They settle down towards the middle point of the period though, and then right the ship with back to back goals by Milan Lucic and Mikael Backlund to finish the period.

But the attention to detail issues is killing them.

Have to tighten that up.

Mangiapane Finally

When you score 35 goals and then sign a big contract along comes the pressure.

And it’s certainly factored in this season for the Flames sniper.

Seven goals in the first half of the season despite being at or near the top of the list for Flames forwards in individual expected goals, scoring chances and high danger efforts.

You knew eventually it had to turn.

Tonight setup by Noah Hanifin in the slot he makes no mistake and buries it. Hopefully that’s a dam breaker.

Duehr’s Night

Honestly like his play.

He’s big and he can skate. Big without the skating angle and a lot of puck skill is kind of a wasted roster spot, but Duehr isn’t that at all.

He’s not going to be a given for a roster spot and he’ll have to battle for every inch, but certainly a good fourth line option for the Flames going forward.

Flames Own the 2nd

With the turn around in the first you never know what you’re going to get in the second.

Tonight domination.

The Flames pretty much owned the puck for the entire middle period, cycling down low in the Blues zone, generating shot volume and scoring chances.

Too more off the iron as well.

Terrible Third

The Kadri line gives up back to back goals in the middle of the period, and then a go ahead goal that was turned over on an offside.

What a minus period.

But don’t make it all about them, Jacob Markstrom’s greasy rebound on an outside shot created the second goal and sent the game reeling.

High danger chances in the third were 5-1 St. Louis in a complete no show for the Flames after building up a two goal lead in what seemed like the perfect road record.

You have to be better.

Right now they’re not.

Markstrom’s Night

Not good.

The game looked home and cooled.

The Flames had a two goal lead in the third period with 18 minutes to go when he fumbled a long, harmless shot and helped jumpstart the home team to get back into it.

I don’t fault him for the own goal in the first.

I don’t fault him for the game tying goal.

I don’t fault him for the overtime two on one goal.

But his momentum busting botch in the third was a huge difference maker.

Special Teams

Both teams had two chances on the powerplay, though each team had a five second powerplay in the mix.

The Blues score the only special teams goal though, which was the difference in the hockey game.

Not a special teams game overall, which was odd to say given three of the four penalties were called in the game’s first four minutes.

Standings and Record

The win moves the Flames two points ahead of the Oilers with even games played.

That’s good!

The Flames and Oilers are 9th and 10th in the West in points percentage however.

That’s bad!

Counting Stats

Shots: Flames 31 Blues 27
Face Offs: Flames 55% / Blues 45%
Powerplay: Flames 0-2 / Blues 1-2

Fancy Stats

Just an insane game really. The Flames have a rough first period, a text book second and a face plant third but end up on the bottom end of most of the key play driving stats on the night. Five on five the Flames had 58% of the shot attempts with period splits of 59%/60% and 52% respectively. In terms of five on five expected goals, the Flames had 52%, and for high danger scoring chances the Flames had 43%, with a  10-13 split.

In all situations the Flames had 59% of the shot attempts, 56% of the expected goals, and 48% of the high danger splits. The all situations expected goal totals came out at 3.00 to 2.38.

Individually the Flames were led by Andrew Mangiapane posting an xGF% of 88% on the night five on five. That’s getting it done! His linemates were 2nd and 3rd for the club with Mikael Backlund posting a 76% night and Blake Coleman coming in at 75%. Adam Ruzicka was the other player in the 70s. Rasmus Andersson and Noah Hanifin were in the 60s. The top line got absolutely crushed tonight as Elias Lindholm posted an 8% night, Toffoli was at 12% and Dillon Dube at 21%.

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