Game Takes: Wild 3 Flames 0

March 4th, 2023 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

With the Flames essentially punting on the trade deadline by adding a little without giving up anything by way of futures it was fun to turn back to the team with a “what the heck, lets see where this goes!” attitude.

With a Jets win over Edmonton and the Flames falling flat against Minnesota it feels like that battle might already be over as the numbers get considerably worse for the Flames with just 19 games to go.

That’s five straight losses by the Flames, and a whole lot of trouble.

Slotted to draft 13th overall though!

The Lineup

As Darryl Sutter said a few years ago, they’re going with Jacob Markstrom for a stretch as the starter gets his second straight game after coming in in relief for Dan Vladar against Boston.

No change for the forwards; 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 Trevor Lewis with Milan Lucic and Walker Duehr. Nick Ritchie a healthy scratch.

Troy Stetcher gets his first look in a Flame’s uniform lining up with Nikita Zadorov on the third pairing. No change on the other two pairs with Noah Hanifin playing with Rasmus Andersson and Mackenzie Weegar playing with Chris Tanev.

Line MetricsĀ 

Dube – Lindholm – Toffoli 50.6%
Pelletier – Kadri – Huberdeau 58.4%
Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman 69.1%
Lucic – Lewis – Duehr 53.9%

Hanifin – Andersson 52.2%
Weegar – Tanev 58.2%
Zadorov – Stetcher NA

Goals Saved + Avg
Markstrom +0.1
Vladar -7.8

Trend Tracker:

Would you look at that! Jacob Markstrom is a positive contributor at +0.1 GSAA on the season! (sarcasm). The relief effort vs Boston and the solid game against Toronto turned his season around by over two goals.

Has Andrew Mangiapane had a terrible season or just no puck luck?

The top producer for Flame’s forwards on the season is Andrew Mangiapane at 3.66 xGF60. Ironically he’s got a higher xGF60 total this season than last season, but his individual shooting percentage has fallen from 17% (and an average of 15% in the last four years) to 12% this year. His on ice shooting percentage is flat though and his on ice goals for /60 is slightly up so it’s pretty hard to suggest he’s having a terrible season.

The Lineup

So hands up … how many were worried that we’d see a Jakob Pelletier scratch with the Ritchie for Ritchie trade?

Didn’t seem likely Milan Lucic was going to come out, Dillon Dube and Andrew Mangiapane seem pretty entrenched, Pelletier seemed like the target.

But no … Nick Ritchie doesn’t play and the rest stay the same up front.

Jet Chase

Man you hope for Oiler losses on a night to night basis and then they lose when you need them to win.

Really believe the Flames true target based on a) how they’re playing and b) the schedule to come is the Winnipeg Jets.

Their two points against Edmonton tonight hurts.

Stetcher’s First Game

Looked fine to me.

Took a minor in the second period for getting his gloves into a Wild player’s face, but was decent in his own zone, and made some clever stretch passes to help create some offence.

First game’s are tough, especially for defenseman where the communication with their partner is paramount, but he held his own.

Fifteen plus minutes and a -1 in a pretty clean effort.

Markstrom Start

Three goals against with two in the third, and honestly none of them on him.

The first a double tip, the second off the back of the top of the net and straight to Folino, the third one a bang bang play in the slot with no coverage late in the third.

The Wild had 3.16 expected goals on the night in all situations, and got the three they deserved.

He was probably ahead of the curve through two, and things caught up in the third.

Odds and Sods

Minnesota does a good job of keeping things to the outside, or the Flames didn’t have a lot of gumption tonight because it all stayed pretty much perimeter; especially in the first two periods. … Has Mikael Backlund gained a step in the last season and a half? He seems faster to me, but off the line and at top speed. Making him more effective. … Is there any Calgary defenseman with worse shooting instincts than Mackenzie Weegar? Love the guy for his suppression metrics and overall defensive play, but offensively he shoots when he should hold, holds when he should shoot, and couldn’t find a lane on a freeway. … With the loss the Flames have that 13th spot in the draft in sight. There’s your silver lining.

Special Teams

Pretty quiet night on the special teams.

Both teams have two chances neither team score a goal.

Calgary with one high danger chance up a man, the Wild with none.

The powerplays were as quiet as the rest of the game.

Standings and Record

In a word … devastating.

The Oilers and Avalanche lose, which is great … but their best target the Jets win.

But the biggest issue is their own play and dropping a game in regulation. The Flames probably have five losses or ten points that they can surrender the rest of the way before tonight.

With the loss that’s a loss and two points off that ledger.

Counting Stats

Shots: Flames 31 Wild 33
Face Offs: Flames 39% / Wild 61%
Powerplay: Flames 0-2 / Wild 0-2

Fancy Stats

The usual for the Flames is high shot volume and then less and less when you drive into quality on the night. Tonight the Flames were on the short end of the stick on all metrics and clearly deserved what they got. Five on five the Flames had 47% of the shot attempts with period splits of 44%/49% and 48% respectively. In terms of five on five expected goals, the Flames had 39%, and for high danger scoring chances the Flames had 35%, with a 8-15 split.

In all situations the Flames had 50% of the shot attempts, 44% of the expected goals, and 38% of the high danger splits. The all situations expected goal totals came out at 2.45 to 3.16.

Individually the Flames were led by Jakob Pelletier posting an xGF% of 67% on the night five on five. The only other Flames players with a positive night was Nikita Zadorov at 50%. Two players under 20%; Dillon Dube and Elias Lindholm. Andrew Mangiapane and Tyler Toffoli were just ahead of the 20% mark.

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