Game Takes: Flames 5 Senators 1

March 12th, 2023 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Super disappointing game on Friday night, but with a convincing Flames 5-1 win over the Senators tonight they can say they’ve won three of four which is certainly a positive.

The negative, of course, back to back Jets wins in Florida moving them two points further away from the goal.

Tonight a great night from three Swedes with Elias Lindholm, Mikael Backlund and Rasmus Andersson combining on the first two goals before giving way to the Kadri/Huberdeau line (bolstered by Dillon Dube) to put the game away.

Uphill battle continues on Tuesday night in Arizona.

The Lineup

Some changes to the forward lines after the disappointing loss to the Ducks, defense pairs and the goaltender left alone.

Up front no change to the top line as Elias Lindholm centers for Jakob Pelletier and Tyler Toffoli. No change for the third line as we see Mikael Backlund in his familiar place between Andrew Mangiapane and Blake Coleman. But changes to the second and fourth line. Dillon Dube moves from centering the fourth line to the right side beside Nazem Kadri and Jonathan Huberdeau. Trevor Lewis moves back to center on the fourth line for Milan Lucic and Walker Duehr, who gets back into the lineup.

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

In goal Jacom Markstrom

Line Metrics Coming In

Pelletier – Lindholm – Toffoli 67.2%
Ritchie – Kadri – Huberdeau 63.8%
Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman 63.6%
Lucic – Dube – Lewis 22.4%

Hanifin – Tanev 63.2%
Weegar – Andersson 61.1%
Zadorov – Stecher 43.6%

Goals Saved + Avg
Markstrom +3.3
Vladar -7.8

Trend Tracker:

Looking at special teams today.

The Flames have the 23rd ranked powerplay in the league. They were in 25th so they’ve had some improvement, but still sit in the bottom third of the league. They rank 14th for powerplays given per game. Only one team in the bottom ten teams in the league with powerplay are in a playoff spot; the New York Islanders. The Flames and Predators somewhat close.

On the other side of the ledger, the Flames have the 12th ranked penalty kill, which is a slide from top five/six that they had for much of the first half. They are the 5th  most penalized team in the league.

Putting them together for a total percentage (PP + PK) the Flames are ranked 15th at 100.6% total. The Bruins lead the league with 109.3%. The Ducks are last at 89.2%.

Being at the 100% mark at least breaks the team even suggesting five on five play was/is the issue.

Line Changes

Thought the changes were pretty effective.

Walker Duehr on the fourth line added some zip to the fourth line, and Dillon Dube created more zone time for his linemates through rushing the puck and getting in quickly on the foreheck.

Good start for both trios.

Swedish Mafia

Love how Sutter has had the three key Swedish skaters on the ice in most situations.

Elias Lindholm and Mikael Backlund center their own lines, so they don’t get to play five on five together.

But they’ve killed penalties together all season (and last), and this season have been featured on the same powerplay unit since the all star break.

Two first period goals with the assistance of the other Swede; Rasmus Andersson.

First a short handed goal where Lindholm takes the line, feeds it to Backlund who looks to have run out of space before threading it back to a charging Andersson who one times it.

Then on a first period powerplay Backlund gets the puck from Andersson in a scramble at the blueline and threads a pass across to Lindholm for a 2-0 lead.

The goal, Lindholm’s 200th of his NHL career.

Left Wing Huberdeau

A lot made on the move back to his natural position, and look at that two point night!

Ironically, his assist came from the right side though as he fed the puck from the right side boards to the middle to Nazem Kadri, who dished it to Noah Hanifin.

Greg Millen, doing colour, messed it up saying something to the effect of “yeah he’s more comfortable on that side, and you can see it there”.

Not that side Greg.

Thought Huberdeau played an energetic game, didn’t see much change playing the left side, but if it makes him feel better … go with it.

Markstrom Rock Solid

Really that was shutout number two in his last three starts as the goaltender continues to turn it around after the birth of his child.

Very good in Dallas. Lights out in Minnesota. Not to blame against Anaheim and very very good again tonight against the Senators.

Just a second period flub between he and Mikael Backlund or it’s a doughnut as I said.

By expected goals it was a 5.25 to 2.5 game, but Markstrom gives up only one.

Odds and Sods

Bit of a rough first period for Jakob Pelletier. Some bobbles with the puck, was offside resulting in the Toffoli goal getting called back and then a huge turnover that created a 150 foot breakaway by the Senator’s Julien Gauthier. It was the second breakaway of the period, Jacob Markstrom stopping them both. … Really can’t say enough about that top four defenseman swap and what it’s done for all four players. Both pairings have had great underlying numbers since the switch and it seems to make sense on a style level as well. Wish it was done earlier. … So Nick Ritchie healthy scratch. The inconsistency in his career continues as it didn’t take long to get himself in trouble in Calgary as well.

Special Teams

Decisive Flames win on special teams tonight, as they were successful in every way you could manage.

The powerplay scores once on three tries.

The penalty kill is perfect in all four Senator opportunities.

And they score a special teams goal to boot.

Good night at the office.

The Flames were 4-0 with the man advantage in terms of high danger chances, the Senators broke it even at 3-3.

Standings and Record

Not a lot of change.

The Flames win, which was a must, but the Winnipeg Jets continue to not follow the script of how difficult their Eastern road trip should be, winning back to back in Florida.

Still six points back with even games played.

It’s going to take a streak … maybe two (one each way).

Counting Stats

Shots: Flames 39 Senators 31
Face Offs: Flames 49% / Senators 51%
Powerplay: Flames 1-3 / Senators 0-4

Fancy Stats

Very dominant game for the Flames on home ice, but this time with some results and some finish. The Flames had the edge in all three periods, and didn’t let a fluke Ottawa goal recast their night. Five on five the Flames had 64% of the shot attempts with period splits of 69%/51% and 73% respectively. In terms of five on five expected goals, the Flames had 71%, and for high danger scoring chances the Flames had 72%, with a 18-7 split.

In all situations the Flames had 64% of the shot attempts, 69% of the expected goals, and 71% of the high danger splits. The all situations expected goal totals came out at 5.27 to 2.42.

Individually the Flames were led by Walker Duehr posting an xGF% of 100% on the night five on five, but in only eight minutes. Still some pretty good work! Chris Tanev posted another 90% night at 95%. Milan Lucic, Noah Hanifin and Trevor Lewis were in the 80s. No Flames skater under 50%, the lowest of the bunch Jakob Pelletier at 51%.

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