Game Takes: Knights 4 Flames 3 (OT)

February 23rd, 2023 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

That feels like a painful loss of a point, doesn’t it?

The Flames had leads of 2-0 and 3-1 heading into the third period, but sit on the lead and let their hosts back into it before losing in overtime on what looked like a bad change from Mikael Backlund.

The trip is fine on it’s own … win in Arizona, point in Vegas … all good. But the team needs points to get back into the mix, and tonight they gave away a key one.

Will need at least a point in Denver on Saturday night now in my estimation.

The Lineup

Only the one change, and that’s in net with Jacob Markstrom coming in for Dan Vladar, who picked up the win last night in Phoenix.

Up front it’s Elias Lindholm with Dillon Dube and Tyler Toffoli, Nazem Kadri with Jakob Pelletier and Jonathan Huberdeau, Mikael Backlund with Andrew Mnagiapane and Blake Coleman, and Trevor Lewis with Milan Lucic and Walker Duehr.

On the blueline look for Noah Hanifin with Rasmus Andersson, Mackenzie Weegar with Chris Tanev, and Nikita Zadorov with Dennis Gilbert.

Line Metrics 

Dube – Lindholm – Toffoli 47.8%
Pelletier – Kadri – Huberdeau 60.5%
Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman 64.6%
Lucic – Lewsi – Duehr 65.5%

Hanifin – Andersson 53.4%
Weegar – Tanev 58.3%
Zadorov – Gilbert 50.6%

Goals Saved + Avg
Markstrom -0.6
Vladar -4.60

Trend Tracker:

Looking at the Flames powerplay stats …

Jonathan Huberdeau is ranked 1st on the team in xGF60 on the powerplay at just over 10.0. League leaders are around 12.5, he’s ranked abut 45th league wide. Not elite like last season but creating for sure. He’s only been on the ice for 8.84 goals/60 though, a gap of 1.25 goals per 60. Each 60of the Flames top three xGF60 powerplay players (Huberdeau, Kadri and Lindholm) have gaps with their actual goals. The fourth guy, Tyler Toffoli is actually on the plus side along with Rasmus Andersson. Adam Ruzicka has the worst gap, almost 5 goals, Mackenzie Weegar 3.5 … both are near the bottom of the list for creating. Jakob Pelletier has moved into 6th spot for xGF60 in limited minutes.

The Flames are ranked 22nd when you compared GF60 to xGF60 at -0.96/60. The Oilers are first at +2.89/60. Speaks to finish moving the numbers doesn’t it?

Coyote Redux

Calgary kicks off the Vegas game the way the finished (and honestly executed all night) in Arizona, running up a 18-6 shot advantage on the strength of three powerplays and a 1-0 first period lead.

Gave up next to nothing and just kept on pushing.

Some puck luck and likely that lagging lack of finish the difference between a 1-0 period and what could have been a 3-0 period.

2nd Unit Again

Both powerplays are looking much improved of late with things getting blendered after the all star break.

But the second unit with Jakob Pelletier working with Mikael Backlund, Andrew Mangiapane, Dillon Dube and Noah Hanifin are really feeling it.

More motion from the players, and moving the puck quicker than we’ve seen at any point this season from any combination of players.

Pelletier with the net front presence is pretty funny by design, but it’s working as we saw with his first period out of the air goal.

Backlund Again

What more can you say about the guy?

Productive as hell of late, pushing his season to 41 points, which honestly has been my end of season expectation (hope) for the player on a season by season basis.

I’ve said it earlier this season a few times, but unreal he has one year left on the deal that seemed too long, and he seems to be getting better.

Now on a 57 point pace, notching a goal and an assist tonight. His career best 53, coming six years ago.

Hoping he goes Joe Thornton on annual one year deals and walks himself to all times games played in Flames history.

Sitting On A Lead

You just can’t take a two goal lead into a third period and generate one shot on goal.

Earlier in the season you’re happy with a point in Vegas, and you move on, but they need the points and a melancholy third period hurts.

Need a point in Colorado now for sure.

Tick tick tick …

The Vladar Start

It’s getting to be a broken record.

Didn’t love the second goal … couldn’t fault him on the first, third and fourth goals of the game.

But on the night, like pretty much every start as of yet you have the other goalie stopping a bit more than he should and the Flames goalie stopping a bit less than he should.

Expected goal splits say 2.79 to 2.19 for the Flames, but they lose 4-3 in overtime.

Special Teams

Edge goes to the Knights tonight.

Both teams have a powerplay goal, but the Flames have four chances to the Knight’s two and with that the numbers go to the hosts.

Digging deeper the Flames had four high danger chances with the powerplay in 7 minutes, the Knights had zero in almost three minutes.

Standings and Record

The point helps … clearly not as much as two points would help.

But it’s kind of ugly.

The Wild win moves them back into a divisional playoff spot, with the Avalanche falling into the wild card. Denver is a point ahead, but they have five games in hand, which isn’t ideal.

Counting Stats

Shots: Flames 28 Knights 29
Face Offs: Flames 47% / Knights 53%
Powerplay: Flames 1-4 / Knights 1-2

Fancy Stats

A great start by the Flames, but they kind of hit a wall in almost every metric. Five on five the Flames had 48% of the shot attempts with period splits of 59%/44% and 40% respectively. In terms of five on five expected goals, the Flames had 48%, and for high danger scoring chances the Flames had 46%, with a 6-7 split.

In all situations the Flames had 53% of the shot attempts, 56% of the expected goals, and 58% of the high danger splits. The all situations expected goal totals came out at 2.79 to 2.19.

Individually the Flames were led by Chris Tanev posting an xGF% of 69% on the night five on five. He was joined in the 60s by Andrew Mangiapane and Mikael Backlund. Five players under the 40% mark including; Rasmus Andersson, Noah Hanifin, Trevor Lewis, Milan Lucic, and Walker Dueher; the fourth line having a tough line after a great game in Arizona.

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