Game Takes: Flames 2 Kings 1

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

Just keep the season alive.

Win your games and see where it goes.

The Flames play a kitty by the door, 200 foot game to turn away the LA Kings by a score of 2-1 on Tuesday night. The win has them 5-3-2 in the last ten, keeping alive their slim but intriguing playoff chances.

Calgary got goals from Andrew Mangiapane and Walker Duehr and a great night in goal by Jacob Markstrom.

The Jets were losing on the out of town scoreboard at the time this story was submitted.

The Lineup

No change at all after the Flames beat the Sharks on Saturday afternoon.

So it’s Elias Lindholm with Andrew Mangiapane and Tyler Toffoli, Mikael Backlund with Jonathan Huberdeau and Blake Coleman, Nazem Kadri with Nick Ritchie and Dillon Dube, and Trevor Lewis between Milan Lucic and Walker Duehr.

On the blueline it’s the back to the past setup with Chris Tanev out with Noah Hanifin with Rasmus Andersson, Nikita Zadorov with Mackenzie Weegar and Dennis Gilbert on the third pairing with Troy Stecher.

Markstrom, in goal.

Line Metrics Coming In

Mangiapane – Lindholm – Toffoli 67.7%
Huberdeau – Backlund – Coleman 52.7%
Ritchie – Kadri – Dube 40.9%
Lucic – Lewis – Duehr 54.3%

Hanifin – Andersson 52.6%
Zadorov – Weegar 58.5%
Gilbert – Stecher 64.9%

Goals Saved + Avg
Markstrom -4.0
Vladar -7.4

Trend Tracker:

There’s nothing the Flames can do about the defense pairing alignments with Chris Tanev out of the lineup. It’s not the optimal look for the group, but they are pretty much forced to go with the Hanifin/Andersson and Zadorov/Weegar pairings. Both duos are above water, but they don’t yield the same +60% numbers that the top four featured in both pairings when Chris Tanev is in the lineup.

Up front Walker Dueher is helping the fourth line, but some other lines are sputtering. Mikael Backlund isn’t used to the 53% range (add 15%), Nazem Kadri’s trio is sinking and the top line is very off and on.

Sketchy Calls

Two first period calls and honestly don’t know if either of them were penalties.

The first on on Danealt seemed more like a typical Andrew Mangiapane falling for no reason play. I don’t think he got the stick in on him at all.

Then later in the period Trevor Lewis takes a penalty for holding the stick, which he did, but the stick was placed pretty firmly in his armpit by the King’s player, always clouding the play.

No Goal

One play that wasn’t cloudy was the first period off side challenge on the Rasmus Andersson goal.

Clearly off side.

Noah Hanifin lifted his skate, which you can do, but clearly brought it inside the blueline as Rasmus Andersson crossed the line.

Correct call was made.

Walker Duehr Can Play

For every 10 college free agents you likely get 1.5 NHL hockey players.

One guy that moves into the upper half of your team, the other guy that is on the bubble and in and out of the lineup.

I thought Walker Duehr was going to be the latter … now wondering if he’s the former.

Another goal tonight, led the team in shots on goal. He’s a difference maker.

I don’t think he’s middle six, that might be asking too much, but he could be top nine and a third line guy. He’s certainly established as an NHLer now, and I think he’s better than his current fourth line standing.

Pelletier Cares

Love the story today about Jakob Pelletier looking after Matthew Coronato.

If you were paying attention to the World Juniors in Edmonton two years ago it wouldn’t come as a surprise.

With Canada losing the gold medal game and visibly shook on the ice, there was Jakob Pelletier skating around and consoling whichever teammate on Team Canada that seemed to need the most help.

Add that to his ability to move up the roster in that tournament and act like the glue guy on pretty much every line he touched and you see Pelletier is going to as important off the ice as he is on the surface.

One of Calgary’s Better Games?

The Kings were really good early, and with that said I wouldn’t say that meant Calgary was bad. The visitors had the jump and that was that.

But the Flames wrestled control from the Kings midway through the first period and held that control through the second period as well.

If not for the goaltending of Korpisalo this one could have been a three goal lead for the Flames through 40, not even considering the two called back goals.

The Flames are running out of time, but they emptied the tank tonight.

Markstrom Solid

Great game by Jacob Markstrom as he stones the Kings and ends their 12 game point streak.

The Flames only gave up 10 high danger chances all night in all situations, so they did their part as well, but Markstrom was full marks in getting the job done with some timely saves; specifically in the first and third periods.

The expected goal split in all situations was 3.70 to 2.58.

Odds and Sods

Second period goal review was, as Rick Ball pointed out, painful for those that remember 2004. It’s really key what the guy on the ice says when you have a sketchy replay. If he says goal it likely stands as you can’t make a case that it shouldn’t count. If he says no goal, the opposite is true; you can’t find enough evidence to say it was. … Then another one in the third with the empty net, Calgary with three disallowed goals in the hockey game. That’s pretty crazy. … Anyone else think Nazem Kadri is playing with a little more fire since the reported run in with his coach? Seems like his consistency level has upped. … If Darryl Sutter did take out being somewhat forced to dress Jakob Pelletier for his first game on the player it’s pretty inexcusable. I’ll say it again though, Seravelli seems to have a big Sutter hatred so you have to take it with a grain of salt.

Special Teams

The Flames win the special teams battle with a 1/3 night on the powerplay with an early extra man goal, while killing both of the King’s opportunities.

Calgary scored a shorthanded goal in the first as well, which was called off on an off side.

The Flames had two high danger chances on their three chances, while giving up zip the other way. The Kings had two high danger chances while giving up one shorthanded.

Edge Calgary, as I said.

Standings and Record

The Predators win, the Flames win.

So not a lot to write home about.

The Kings are losing in San Jose though, and if that holds things get pretty interesting.

I’ve said it before, I think it comes down to two more Flames losses. Avoid losing two and they have a chance.

Counting Stats

Shots: Flames 32 Kings 33
Face Offs: Flames 43% / Kings 57%
Powerplay: Flames 1-3 / Kings 0-2

Fancy Stats

The Flames started on their heels with the rolling LA Kings running them over early before they settled in and found their game. From there they were solid and likely deserved the outcome. Five on five the Flames had 55% of the shot attempts with period splits of 53%/63% and 43% respectively. In terms of five on five expected goals, the Flames had 62%, and for high danger scoring chances the Flames had 63%, with a 12-7 split.

In all situations the Flames had 56% of the shot attempts, 59% of the expected goals, and 60% of the high danger splits. The all situations expected goal totals came out at 3.70 to 2.58.

Individually the Flames were led by Trevor Lewis, posting an xGF% of 76% on the night five on five. He was joined in the 70s by teammates; Andrew Mangiapane, Elias Lindholm, Tyler Toffoli, Milan Lucic and Walker Duehr as the first and fourth lines pretty much owned it. Three players under 40%; Troy Stecher, Mikael Backlund, and Nick Ritchie.

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