Game Takes: Flames 5 Kraken 2

January 27th, 2023 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Such an important win.

With the failed effort last night against Chicago, coming up big on a back to back against a division rival is huge in the standings, but also huge for the players as they don’t have to stew on back to back losses over a nine day breaki.

The Flames were powered by a top line first period with three goals, and then some great penalty kill work from the skaters and Dan Vladar to bring the game home.

The win moves the Pacific into a complete log jam with all five teams sitting within five points.

Could be a hell of a finish.

The Lineup

Some pretty interesting change for the last game before the nine day break.

Jakob Pelletier, elevated during the club’s disappointing game last night is set to start tonight’s game on the second line with Jonathan Huberdeau and Nazem Kadri. The first line remains in tact with Elias Lindholm between Dillon Dube and Tyler Toffoli. No change to the Backlund line with Andrew Mangiapane and Blake Coleman. The second line change up leaves the team with a new fourth line of Adam Ruzicka back in the lineup between Milan Lucic and Trevor Lewis. Walker Duehr a healthy scratch.

On the blueline a change as well with Connor Mackey out and Dennis Gilbert in. Gilbert lines up with Michael Stone on the third pair. No change to the top two pairings with Noah Hanifin with Rasmus Andersson and Nikita Zadorov with Mackenzie Weegar.

Dan Vladar puts his 12 game point streak on the line as he gets the start.

Line Metrics 

Dube – Lindholm – Toffoli 50.3%
Pelletier – Kadri – Lucic 90.0%
Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman 69.2%
Lucic – Ruzicka – Lewis 17.4%

Hanifin – Andersson 54.1%
Zadorov – Weegar 56.4%
Gilbert – Stone 29.0%

Goals Saved + Avg
Markstrom +1.2
Vladar -3.0

Trend Tracker:

Jakob Pelletier’s elevation is well supported by stats. He with his new linemates tonight (Huberdeau / Kadri) put up 90% against the Hawks, primarily in the third period last night. Through three games and 24 minutes of action he’s posted a 69.7% xGF. Getting done so far in his young career. … The moves did create two limited minute disasters though; the fourth line only has 1.5 minutes together but they posted 17%, and the third pairing is at 29% in limited minutes.

Quite the Start

Just about as good a road first period as a team can play.

Completely dominated the Kraken, and did so despite some early adversity in giving up the first goal.

Great pass from Tyler Toffoli to Elias Lindholm for goal one. Toffoli cleans up a Blake Coleman rebound for goal two, and Nikita Zadorov set up by Lindholm for goal three which came with 4.5 seconds to go in the period.

Trevor Lewis was unlucky on a breakaway as he put the puck off the blocker and behind Martin Jones, but into his legs.

Good pride period.

The Flames had 4 high danger chances through 40 minutes last night, 8 in the first period tonight.

4 Minutes to Remember

Not sure I’ve ever seen the Flames run the show off the top of a period for as long as they did to start the second in Seattle tonight.

Four minutes and six shifts … every player on the team involved and they literally have the puck for four minutes.

Vince Dunn of the Kraken was on the ice for 3:30 of it, and was exhausted.

Typically though the Flames didn’t score, a result that would have put the game away.

Instead they got in penalty trouble and limped their way through the last half of the period with the score remaining 3-1.

Pelletier’s Game

Just a good hockey player.

He makes solid in tight plays, sees the ice well and doesn’t seem to let his size be a deterrent along the wall.

What I really noticed tonight though is his penchant to got to the net. I don’t think the Flames have a single forward that goes to the net more often than the guy playing his fourth game.

Tkachuk was that guy in the last several seasons, but for the most part Calgary players stick to the wall.

Not Pelletier.

Vladar Start

Gave up the first goal of the game, something we’re not used to seeing from the backup; but wasn’t his fault with a high slot deflection.

Then he literally had nothing to do for almost 25 minutes.

That would change however with the Flames taking three straight penalties in the second putting some pressure on the stopper. Six Kraken high danger chances in the second period with all that powerplay time.

He didn’t steal it for them, they were good enough to win, but he was a huge part of the win. Two goals against vs an expected total of 3.25, one of the better goaltending efforts we’ve seen in a spell.

Goalie Streak

According to the telecast Dan Vladar also grabs a share for the Flames all time goalie unbeaten record at 13, Vladar’s record at 10-0-3. The record shared with Mike Vernon and Brian Elliot.

Now old timers help me out … didn’t Reggie Lemelin have a monster streak of 28 games or something without a loss back in the mid 80s? I remember a controversy because part of the Lemelin streak included a game where he was pulled down something like 3-0 but the Flames lost 6-4 with the 4th goal given up by Don Edwards so his streak continued.

Clearly I’m wrong though.

Special Teams

Quite the performance by the Flames penalty kill and Dan Vladar with five for five night against the Kraken with Chris Tanev not in the lineup.

The Flames were scoreless as well, but Calgary gets the nod with 10 minutes of key penalty kill time.

Interesting the Kraken had four high danger chances a man up, but gave up two to the Flames as well, ending +2 in that regard. The Flames had only one on their two chances.

Standings and Record

The win is pretty huge for the Flames given the no show last night against the Chicago Blackhawks.

They move into the 2nd wild card spot officially heading into the all star break, but by points percentage they’re 9th in the West with some work to do.

The Pacific Division now has five teams within five points with the leading Kings having more games played.

Can’t get much tighter than that.

Counting Stats

Shots: Flames 38 Kraken 30
Face Offs: Flames 61% / Kraken 39%
Powerplay: Flames 0-2 / Kraken 0-5

Fancy Stats

Hard to describe how dominant the Flames were in the first 30 minutes of the hockey game. The Kraken only had 9 five on five shot attempts in each of the first two periods, which is incredibly low. Calgary helped even the scales by taking five straight penalties, giving the Kraken all kinds of opportunity to get back in it. Five on five the Flames had 55% of the shot attempts with period splits of 72%/70% and 26% respectively. In terms of five on five expected goals, the Flames had 58%, and for high danger scoring chances the Flames had 56%, with a  10-8 split.

In all situations the Flames had 51% of the shot attempts, 58% of the expected goals, and 52% of the high danger splits. The all situations expected goal totals came out at 4.45 to 3.25.

Individually the Flames were led by Michael Stone posting an xGF% of 87% on the night five on five. Joining him in the 80s was Jonathan Huberdau and Nazem Kadri. Jakob Pelletier, Blake Coleman, Dennis Gilbert and Mikael Backlund were in the 70s. Only five players under water, in order; Trevor Lewis and Dillon Dube in the 20s, Adam Ruzicka at 30%, and Nikita Zadorov and Tyler Toffoli just under water.

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