Game Takes: Bruins 4 Flames 3 (OT)

February 28th, 2023 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Start the car!

There is stealing games, and then there’s Linus Ullmark’s play tonight in Calgary. He absolutely was the story … the whole story in a 4-3 overtime win for the Boston Bruins in a game where they were out shot 57-20.

The Flames were money for hanging in after Dan Vladar was pulled giving up two goals on five shots in the first period.

The just kept coming and coming, finally breaking through in the third and taking the lead before the Bruins tied it up late, and then won it overtime.

With an unfriendly night on the out of town scoreboard could that be it on the decision point?

The Lineup

Not a lot of change for the Flames.

Dan Vladar gets the start with Jacob Markstrom tending to his newly expanded family. Vladar’s last start was a loss in overtime in Vegas on Thursday night.

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

Up front recent status quo; Elias Lindholm with Dillon Dube and Tyler Toffoli, Nazem Kadri with Jakob Pelletier and Jonathan Huberdeau, Mikael Backlund with Andrew Mangiapane and Blake Coleman, and finally Trevor Lewis with Milan Lucic and Walker Duehr.

Line Metrics 

Dube – Lindholm – Toffoli 48.3%
Pelletier – Kadri – Huberdeau 59.0%
Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman 68.5%
Lucic – Lewis – Duehr 50.4%

Hanifin – Andersson 53.2%
Weegar – Tanev 58.2%
Zadorov – Gilbert 60.6%

Goals Saved + Avg
Markstrom -1.7
Vladar -6.1

Trend Tracker:

So Calgary’s third pairing is now sitting at 60.6% xGF in 47 minutes of ice time.

Now 47 minutes isn’t a huge sample size, but it’s starting to get into the mix of wondering if the Flames have a good option in the third pairing, meaning they don’t need to expend assets even if they think they have a solid chance of securing a playoff spot. In Calgary it’s the 11th most used pairing this season. Don’t spend the assets Tre!

Calgary goaltending racing to the bottom with both players minus contributors in goals saved above average now. At one point they were both hovering around zero. I think the highest I’ve seen either of them was Markstrom at +6.5 back in December.

Instigation Again

That’s now twice in eight days.

Twice that we’ve seen a Calgary hit on an opposing player result in a picked fight by another player on the opposition, but with no extra penalty.

I’m fine with that. Honestly.

But I still wonder why in New York against the Rangers they called Calgary for three extra penalties on three fights coming off of three big hits by the Rangers.

If it’s that discretionary, which clearly it is … why would an official hit the same team with the same discretionary call three times in one game?

Just baffling to me.

Couldn’t Play a Better First 20

Playing the best team in the league, a club that doesn’t give up much … ever.

Yet it’s the Flames that come out and out shoot the Bruins 19-5, shot attempts 30-13, scoring chances 17-7 … high danger 8-2.

Score 2-0 Bruins, both goals I think Dan Vladar would like to have back. The first one was awful, the second one through Dillon Dube but should have been stopped with better positioning.

Not much more you can say.

Too many times this year they give up that first shot and have to dig out.

Players Don’t Want to Be Sellers

Pretty obvious from the effort tonight that the Flames want the team kept as is.

At least that’s my take.

They empty the tank again in the second period, probably to an even greater extent than they did in the first.

This period the tale of the tap was 20-4 in shots, 34-9 in shot attempts, 23-4 in scoring chances and 15-4 in high danger chances … the goals 1-0 Calgary.

And that’s key with Markstrom coming in and getting no work at all.

Clearly a team that wants to stay together.

Goalie Change

What a position to put Jacob Markstrom in!

Dan Vladar gives up two goals on five shots, none of them all that difficult necessitating the change.

That brings in Markstrom the day after his kid is born needing to stop everything but facing literally nothing.

When the Flames had that brain fart on the late second period powerplay it looked like a potential game winner for the Bruins, but Markstrom, facing only four shots stood tall.


The problem with rumours is you never know if it was never even discussed or if a deal was close that just didn’t get across the finish line.

So with that we won’t get an answer to this … but it will be interesting to see what insider is right about the inner workings of the Calgary Flames.

Elliott Friedman and Pat Steinberg both hearing the Flames are contemplating deals they didn’t see coming this year, and that they are looking at the seller option.

Eric Francis after the first period plainly stated the Flames won’t be sellers, and that they have nothing to sell.

Find out in less than three days I guess.

They Never Let Up

Shots 12-8 in the third, and the Flames are finally rewarded when Dillon Dube and Jonathan Huberdeau score back to back giving the Flames the lead.

Wasn’t mean to be though …

Bruins tie it up on a strange powerplay goal with Mikael Backlund off with an ill advised holding call late in the third.

With the penalty winding down Nikita Zadorov steps up to crush Debrusk, taking out the Bruin and Andrew Mangiapane and creating a tap in play for the Bruins Zacha.

Off to overtime they go.

The Flames out shoot the Bruins in overtime, but what they gave up was of greater impact … Markstrom saving their bacon twice before the Bruins finally convert.

Flames lose.

Odds and Sods

Another good night for the kids. Walker Duehr was great on loose pucks and moving the puck, a difference maker on that fourth line. Set up Milan Lucic with great chances twice. Additionally another point for Jakob Pelletier with an assist on the go ahead goal in the third period. … More on Jakob Pelletier; was hard to miss his role with the WJC team two years ago. He moved up the roster and played an ever expanding role. Additionally, when they lost in the final he was the guy skating around and consoling teammates. Now we see him in a Calgary uniform and the heart is still on display. Excited goal celebrations, but also all kinds of jump on the bench. Loved how he pointed and Huberdeau … “your goal!” (in french). … Felt for Jakob Markstrom in overtime. With one less bounce late maybe the Flames win that game and he’s part of the story with his huge saves in overtime. Regardless he played really well coming in in relief.

Special Teams

Special teams key in this one.

Neither team with much time or any luck with the man advantage until midway through the third period where the Bruins strike to tie the game up and send it into overtime.

Both teams had two high danger chances for and one against with the man advantage, the Bruins with the only goal.

Standings and Record

Flames get a point against the league’s number one team, coming from two goals down. That on most nights is a great story. Tonight just not enough, especially with the out of town scoreboard with the Wild winning in a shoot out, the Jets getting a point, and the Kraken winning.

That leaves the Flames five points out of a playoff spot with the targets the Jets and Oilers. All three teams have 21 games to go.

Trade deadline on Friday … not looking good.

Counting Stats

Shots: Flames 57 Bruins 20
Face Offs: Flames 48% / Bruins 52%
Powerplay: Flames 0-3 / Bruins  1-3

Fancy Stats

Sometimes the underlying numbers paint an imperfect picture, tonight it was the Zapruder film painstakingly showing what was a completely dominant Flames effort over a very tired or distracted Bruins team. Five on five the Flames had 73% of the shot attempts with period splits of 71%/83% and 64% respectively. In terms of five on five expected goals, the Flames had 84%, and for high danger scoring chances the Flames had 90%, with a 18-2 split. 18-2? That’s nuts they lost the game.

In all situations the Flames had 69% of the shot attempts, 72% of the expected goals, and 71% of the high danger splits. The all situations expected goal totals came out at 5.57 to 2.21.

Should have been a blow out.

Individually the Flames were led by Chris Tanev posting an xGF% of 94.5% on the night five on five. Other players in the 90s included; Nazem Kadri, Jakob Pelletier, Jonathan Huberdeau, Nikita Zadorov, Mikael Backlund, Blake Coleman and Noah Hanifin. Every player was above 50%, Walker Duehr and Trevor Lewis were at the bottom of the pile.

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