Game Takes: Predators 3 Flames 2 (SO)

April 10th, 2023 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Well that’s a wrap.

Fitting in a way that we see a game with the Flames losing in overtime (check), in a one goal game (check), with a goalie bobble (check) and a freak bounce off a referee (maybe not so much check).

The Flames outplayed the Predators for the most part, but gave up a lot of quality forcing Jacob Markstrom to be excellent.

Calgary carries the overtime and scores first in the shoot out but finds a way to lose it.

Next year country.

The Lineup

No change again from the Flames with their season winding down.

On the blueline we see Noah Hanifin with Chris Tanev, Mackenzie Weegar with Rasmus Andersson, and Nikita Zadorov with Troy Stecher.

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

Jacob Markstrom gets the start.

Line Metrics Coming In

Dube – Lindholm – Toffoli 52.9%
Huberdeau – Backlund – Mangiapane 23.4%
Ritchie – Kadri – Coleman 79.7%
Lucic – Lewis – Duehr 53.9%

Hanifin – Tanev 67.2%
Weegar – Andersson 58.5%
Zadorov – Stecher 45.8%

Goals Saved + Avg
Markstrom -4.5
Vladar -8.4

Trend Tracker:

Did some research on the last 15 games for all three starting goaltenders in the Western Conference Bubble Battle, and posted it on the forum this morning.

Jussi Saros and Connor Hellebucyk were both roughly +7 in goals saved above average in their team’s last 15 games; Jacob Markstrom -6.

That’s basically a goal a game difference in goaltending down the stretch with everything on the line.

It’s amazing Calgary is even in it, they’ve managed to out score the season long issue for the first time this season.

Markstrom Start

Lots of negativity around Jacob Markstrom from the fan base, and in all honestly he hasn’t been good for most of the season.

Personally I like the guy. I think he’s a good person and has been a good goaltender. I think he’ll figure it out. His play in getting the Flames through what looked like a goalie steal series last year is something I won’t forget.

Tonight he was great in the first period with an asterisk.

He was the busier of the goaltenders and held his team in it … but for the bobble behind the net and the freebee.

The rest of the way he’s only beaten a second time on a completely fluke bounce off the skate of the ref and into Markstrom’s legs.

The guy didn’t let in any shot he was square on the whole night.

Can’t hang this one on him in my opinion.

Huberdeau Fire

I’m fairly certain we will see a more productive #10 next year, I mean when you look at his career averages it seems almost inevitable.

But I also hope we see more of the cantankerous player we saw tonight on more occasions.

Huberdeau was shooting the puck, going to the net, putting on screens, getting into scrums and playing very much like the size of his frame would dictate.

Screened Saros on the Flames first goal and had an assist on their second goal. Chips in with the Flames only shoot out goal as well.

He’s not a shrinking violet, he should play to his size.

Much better second half for the player, hopefully that plays into a solid second season in Calgary.

High Sticks Called Correctly

My season long soap box on how high sticking penalties should be called.

Both the high stick on Andrew Mangiapane in the second and Tomasino in the third were called two minute minors and both should have been despite the blood that Tomasino found in his mouth guard.

The Mangiapane incident was an attempted stick lift that missed, the very definition of an accident.

The Coleman penalty was a sweeping stick check on the ice that rode up the stick of Tomasino and caught him in the face.

Two for an accident, four for being careless and five for intent.

Easy thing to call, forget about blood.

The Playoff Chase

With about 15 games left it looked pretty doubtful.

With about 8 games left it felt over.

Yet here we are with a tomb stone in game 81.

I’ll take it, made it interesting and salvaged the season to some degree as they showed some fortitude and made it interesting.

I personally don’t care about spots 14 vs 17 in the draft, that was a fun few weeks of hockey.

Game 82

If you want a slight slight silver lining … this should mean some line up changes with some youth coming in for game 82.

Should see Jakob Pelletier and Adam Ruzicka come back in and the debut for Matthew Coronato.

If not then you really have a Darryl Sutter troll job on the fan base.

He’s been battling someone in the second half … Treliving, the media, the fanbase … but he’s running out of excuses to make changes now.

Odds and Sods

Another yikes moment from Nikita Zadorov early. About four minutes in with his partner Stecher on a player in on his side behind the net, Zadorov just swerves to the player up the wall leaving the net wide open. Love the guy with the puck. Love his reach. But what an adventure he can be on simple hockey 101 coverage schemes. … Lots of bobbled chances for the Flames in the first period in what could have been a two or three goal period for them as well. Huberdeau misses a pass in the slot, Backlund backhands a puck wide on a rebound, and Weegar mishandles a great pass from Huberdeau cross crease. … The Flames took too many penalties tonight giving the Predators six powerplay chances. They were excellent on the PK but that’s too many minutes off your five on five game and too taxing for select players. … Mikael Backlund #1 center? Isn’t that the case in the last half of the season? He keeps adding to his career high with goal number 19 tonight as he continues to be a difference maker. Great on Backlund, but the #1 tag speaks a lot to the missteps in the second half by Lindholm and Kadri.

Special Teams

A total of ten powerplays with zero powerplay goals, so a solid night for both penalty kills.

Calgary kills six of the ten so they get the nod for the special teams battle on the night.

Standings and Record

No point.

Flames are out.

They needed to win the game to keep their ever so slim chances alive; they would have needed a win in game 82 and two regulation losses from the Jets in their final two games, but it wasn’t meant to be.

On to the draft.

Counting Stats

Shots: Flames 44 Predators 29
Face Offs: Flames 52% / Predators 48%
Powerplay: Flames 0-4 / Predators 0-6

Fancy Stats

For a season ending game, the Flames walked out their typical 2022-23 road map in going down to the Predators. They dominate in shots, shot volume and slot shots, but fall in the high danger variety, all of them stopped by Jacob Markstrom in this case in going down to defeat. Control the play, but generate too little by way of high danger. Five on five the Flames had 68% of the shot attempts with period splits of 67%/67% and 71% respectively. In terms of five on five expected goals, the Flames had 45%, and for high danger scoring chances the Flames had 39%, with a 9-14 split.

In all situations the Flames had 63% of the shot attempts, 48% of the expected goals, and 47% of the high danger splits. The all situations expected goal totals came out at 3.90 to 4.21. Calgary comes short in finish, but long in goaltending.

Individually the Flames were led by Jonathan Huberdeau, posting an xGF% of 80% on the night five on five. His linemates Andrew Mangiapane and Mikael Backlund were just behind in the high 70s. Fourth line got shredded tonight with Walker Duehr at the bottom at just 7%.

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