Game Takes: Hawks 4 Flames 3 (OT)

January 8th, 2023 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Just not good enough.

The Flames badly outshot the tank driven Black Hawks, but gave up way too many ten bell chances and with that paid for a poor start with a 4-3 overtime loss in Chicago on Sunday night to start a five game road trip.

A terrible first 21 minutes had them down 3-1.

Sutter pulls Jacob Markstrom and the Flames did back into it, but can’t find the go ahead goal afterying tying it up.

Disappointing start to the trip as things don’t get any easier from here.

The Lineup

No change at all from the Flames win over the Islanders on Friday night, despite calling up a couple of farm hands including 2019 first round pick Jakob Pelletier.

Generally Sutter likes to practice players before they play, so it will be interesting to see when Pelletier gets in for his first NHL game. Walker Dueh

r has been up before and played NHL games.

So it’s Elias Lindholm with Dillon Dube and Tyler Toffoli, Nazem Kadri with Milan Lucic and Jonathan Huberdeau, Mikael Backlund with Andrew Mangiapane and Blake Coleman, and then Radim Zahorna between Adam Ruzicka and Trevor Lewis.

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

Jacob Markstrom gets the start in goal for the Flames.

Line Metrics 

Dube – Lindholm – Toffoli 58.7%
Huberdeau – Kadri – Lucic 49.9%
Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman 70.0%
Ruzicka – Zahorna- Lewis 80.0%

Hanifin – Andersson 53.3%
Weegar – Tanev 56.4%
Zadorov – Stone 54.4%

Goals Saved + Avg
Markstrom +4.2
Vladar -1.5

Trend Tracker:

Some teams stats … Top five opponents where Calgary has had their way this season?

1. Vegas (1 game)
2. Philly (1 game)
3. Edmonton (3 games)
4. Anaheim (1 game)
5. San Jose (2 games)

Talk about getting it done against your own division! On the flipside, the top five opponents that have given the Flames fits this season?

1. Carolina (2 games)
2. Columbus (1 game)
3. Nashville (1 game)
4. Toronto (1 game)
5. Tampa (1 game)

One of those things, just aren’t like the other …

Talk about tight; the Calgary Flames on average shift length have a total disparity of six seconds from first (Nazem Kadri, Milan Lucic and Blake Coleman) to least (Michael Stone). That’s a 35 to 41 second range. For a comparison, the Oilers have a 15 second gap from 1st to last.

Lucic Games Played in Calgary

With the game tonight in Chicago, Milan Lucic played his 244th game for the Calgary Flames surpassing the 243 he played in Edmonton and moving the Flames into second place behind Boston for his career.

Doesn’t feel like he’s been here that long, but it has 4 seasons without any real injuries.

A UFA this summer, he likely has a max of 42 more to add to that Calgary total.

Not the Start You Want

I’m not a professional athlete, so I don’t know what it’s like to adjust to a game start after travel, a night in a hotel and no morning skate, but it must be really really difficult.

Why? Because the Calgary Flames looked completely unprepared to play the Chicago Blackhawks off the hop tonight with a terrible start to the first period.

The Hawks opened the scoring, the Flames answered back on the powerplay and then Chicago went ahead again … mostly on giveaways, poor line changes, and a general lack of compete.

Things got better for the visitors in the last half of the period, and they threw a bunch of pucks on net, but clearly they’d need to buckle down for the final forty or start the trip off on the wrong foot.

What Was Lindholm Thinking?

First minute of the second period in a 2-1 Chicago game.

Top line is doing a great job of setting the table with a pressure shift in the Hawk’s zone. Puck gets rimmed … Noah Hanifin gets on his horse and pinches. Puck hits a shin pad and heads out and instead of busting a nut to make it a two on two Lindholm just watched it and suddenly it’s 3-1 Chicago.

Doesn’t fit the player either in terms of style (defensive forward) or attitude (every day player).

Honestly don’t get it.

Markstrom Pull

Pretty sure that was a team wake up pull as it would be had to fault Markstrom for any of the three Chicago goals with the start that the Flames rolled out.

However it’s on the goaltender to make the saves, and three goals on 11 shots doesn’t look good on any stat line.

Was interesting to see it work; as the Flames scored the next shift with Milan Lucic sliding the puck over to Jonathan Huberdeau for a quick strike that made the game 3-2.

Vladar In Relief

Gave up the overtime winner, and only faced about a dozen shots, but Dan Vladar was smoking hot in his relief duty, and perhaps a little lucky at times.

A Hawk goal disallowed after Vladar made a great save, and then had his pad pushed into the net.

A huge save on Domi point blank to keep the game tied.

Another off a shoulder.

Finally beaten in overtime with a Domi chance after falling down; beating the goaltender across the net beyond his pad.

Did all he could.

Powerplay Pops

A rebound goal, and then a whiff and recovery goal.

Not pretty, but they got the job done going 2/3 on the powerplay tonight, ending a super cold period with the man advantage.

No new wrinkles, and no individual performances that made the difference, but got some bounces as I said and made in count in a game that needed it  or they drop two points to the worst team in the league.

Special Teams

The Flames go 2/3 on the powerplay and kill off the only Chicago chance for a pretty much perfect night for the team’s special teams in Chicago.

The Flames have four high danger chances on their two opportunities, the Hawks zero on their only chance.

Solid night at the office when not five on five.

Standings and Record

They get a point … sigh.

They move back ahead of the Oilers again, who lost in overtime themselves last night to the Avalanche with 46 points in 41 games.

They have lost ground to the Kings again as they are now six points back with only two games in hand. Seattle is two points ahead but have three games in hand.

This is going to be one tight battle to the end me thinks.

Counting Stats

Shots: Flames 47 Hawks 25
Face Offs: Flames 54% / Hawks 46%
Powerplay: Flames 2-3 / Hawks 0-1

Fancy Stats

When you boil down an almost two to one shot advantage you don’t see a whole lot with what the Flames gave up tonight. The five on five expected goal splits were almost even, which is pretty poor for a game the team pretty much needed on a five game road trip. The scales tipped with the Flames having three powerplays to one, but that’s not a feather in the cap. Five on five the Flames had 60% of the shot attempts with period splits of 60%/66% and 53% respectively. In terms of five on five expected goals, the Flames had 50%, and for high danger scoring chances the Flames had 52%, with a  12-11 split.

In all situations the Flames had 65% 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 3.73 to 2.49.

Individually the Flames were led by Blake Coleman, with another solid night, posting an xGF% of 87% on the night five on five. His center, Mikael Backlund was next up at 80%, the other member of the line had 78%. Other guys in the 70s included Chris Tanev and Mackenzie Weegar. Five players were under 30% on the night; Radim Zahorna at the bottom with 21%, followed by Nikita Zadorov, Michael Stone, Trevor Lewis and Tyler Toffoli.

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