Game Takes: Avalanche 3 Flames 1

November 25th, 2023 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

The Flames show up and play a solid road game in Denver, but can’t overcome some tough luck in the second period and go down to the Avalanche by a 3-1 score on Saturday night.

The loss featured a solid final 30 from the Flames, but the just couldn’t find the net to solve Avalanche goaltender Ivan Prosvetov.

The Flames go 2-2-0 on a pretty tough four game road trip.

Things won’t get much easier when they return home to play the Vegas Knights on Monday night at the Saddledome.

The Lineup

Ryan Huska with the one change after the loss in Nashville; Connor Zary back in after sitting a game with maintenance. Walker Duehr back to the sidelines after a two game reprieve.

So it’s Elias Lindholm with Andrew Mangiapane and Yegor Sharangovich. No change to the second line; Mikael Backlund with Jonathan Huberdeau and Blake Coleman, a return to a tested third line with Nazem Kadri with Connor Zary and Martin Pospisil and then a tweak to the fourth line Adam Ruzicka between with AJ Greer and Dillon Dube.

On the blueline its Mackenzie Weegar with Rasmus Andersson, Noah Hanifin with Chris Tanev, and Nikita Zadorov with Dennis Gilbert, the second change.

Jabob Markstrom the starter for Calgary.

Line Metrics Coming In

Mangiapane – Lindholm – Sharangovich 60.9%
Huberdeau – Backlund – Coleman 42.6%
Zary – Kadri – Pospisil 64.9%
Greer – Ruzicka – Dube 50.0%

Weegar – Andersson 49.0%
Hanifin – Tanev 60.4%
Zadorov – Gilbert 40.9%

Goals Saved + Avg
Markstrom +2.7
Vladar -5.7
Wolf -1.1

Trend Tracker

Quick look at which players are moving the needle when on the ice both offensively and defensively.

xGF60 :

  1. Pospisil 3.57
  2. DeSimone 3.53
  3. Backlund 3.24
  4. Coleman 3.16
  5. Mangiapane 3.02

Quite the start for Pospisil and DeSimone.

The bad side of the ledger …

  1. Gilbert 2.08
  2. Ruzicka 2.10
  3. Lindholm 2.13
  4. Sharangovich 2.36
  5. Andersson 2.39

xGA60 :

  1. Zary 2.26
  2. Mangiapane 2.30
  3. Tanev 2.30
  4. Ruzicka 2.32
  5. Gilbert 2.36

And the bad …

  1. Duehr 3.03
  2. Coronato 2.94
  3. Dube 2.91
  4. Greer 2.84
  5. Huberdeau 2.80

Vladar‘s Start

I thought Dan Vladar was great in the first period, he pretty much kept the Flames in it in a period where they came out flat and were lucky to only be down one goal.

In the second not good, but also not that lucky.

He gives up two goals despite his team having the lion’s share of the period; the first on a wrap around on a Nikita Zadorov turnover, and a poor route choice by Dennis Gilbert and a less than stellar move across the crease from the goaltender.

The second a floater from a ways out that goes off Mackenzie Weegar and into the net.

Can’t honestly fault the guy, but three goals through two was pretty much the game.

His third period both good and lucky!

Flames Powerplay Woes

Man that Flames powerplay is struggling.

I’d critique the actual powerplay but we don’t see it because they can’t get set up in the offensive zone; their entries are terrible.

Passes in skates, bobbles pucks, not moving fast enough … just a mess.

The setup is pretty standard so I don’t blame Marc Savard for the entry, if they ever do get set up again we can pick on him for what happens when they move the puck around, but right now it’s on the players and a lack of execution.

One Step Forward …

The Flames are playing some good hockey.

Tonight in Denver they pushed hard in the third period to get back in the game and likely deserved a better fate. Their win in Dallas last night was a solid win over a really good hockey team.

But that 2-7-1 start has afforded them very little breathing room in trying to climb back into the playoff picture.

After a win in Seattle they travel to Nashville with a chance to get back to .500. They lose. The win in Dallas gets them back to one game under but they lose again in Denver.

Moral victories just won’t get it done. They can’t be anywhere near .500 at the 50% mark of the season; that’s just too much ground to make up.

Game Flow

Pretty much all Colorado in the first period. They score the only goal and generate the only chances for the most part; save for a Connor Zary breakaway. Dan Vladar stands tall and keeps the game close with a handful of key saves. Flames looking very much like the more tired teams of the two clubs both playing on back to back nights.

Calgary much better in the second period though they weren’t rewarded on the scoreboard. The Avalanche score two of the three second period goals to double their lead despite being out shot and out chanced. Not a great period for Dan Vladar in the Calgary nets.

The Flames don’t go away in the third once again as they continue to push and create some chances. Their powerplay does nothing and kills some momentum but five on five they are solid on the forecheck and getting pucks to the net. Some great saves by the Avalanche goaltender, a goal post, but the Flames can’t get any closer and go down to the Avalanche.

Odds and Sods

Calgary gets in penalty trouble early, never a good recipe when you’re tired from t

ravel and looking to keep the game simple and avoid chasing it. They pay for it on the second minor, a Blake Coleman call for running over the Avalanche goaltender. … Glad to see Cale Makar was ok after that first period injury. He took a puck on a one timer from Elias Lindholm above the mitts. Sat on the bench for a few minutes, but then went to the dressing room. … It was good to see Jonathan Huberdeau finding it of late, but it just can’t be a good sign that the trio with Huberdeau, Coleman and Backlund is still under water in play driving through 6-7 games. Those two always elevate, but with Huberdeau they can’t? Tonight though they were above water, and Huberdeau had a heck of an assist so I’ll give him time. … Yo Avalanche get a hold of a box cutter and carve the hole out of the “A” on both of your assistant captains. It looks like a cheap stencil. … Liked how the officials let them play tonight. Can count about four occasions where you thought it might be a tripping penalty, but they deemed it incidental and let them play on. Better sport when it’s called that way in my opinion. … Rasmus Andersson can be so damn entertaining. That third period exchange with Colton was another example. Off side but he reaches out and gets his stick into the player, resulting in Colton swinging a stick at him and breaking Andersson’s stick. Need more guys like that.

Special Teams

Another rough night for the Flames on the powerplay.

Almost eight minutes of powerplay time, no goals, and once again not generating anything; they had an expected goals total of 0.21. So they would need five times the minutes they enjoyed to score a goal based on what they created. That’s almost 40 minutes on the powerplay.


The Avalanche score a powerplay goal in the first period and win the special teams battle.

Standings and Record

Blown opportunity for the Flames as the Kraken lose as well, giving the Flames an opening to pull into a tie for that final playoff spot.

It will be interesting to see what of the bubble teams takes a hold of things and gains some separation.

Right now the 8th best team in terms of win percentage is the Coyotes at .500. That is bound to improve, but at this point nobody seems to want it.

Counting Stats

Shots: Flames 31 Avalanche 24
Face Offs: Flames 48% / Avalanche 52%
Powerplay: Flames 0-4 / Avalanche 1-4

Fancy Stats

The Flames turned the tables and pretty much dominated things for the final 30 minutes of the hockey game, but it just wasn’t enough to win the game or catch up for a tough start in underlying stats. Five on five the Flames had 54% of the shot attempts with period splits of 36%/60% and 59% respectively. In terms of five on five expected goals, the Flames had 49%, and for high danger scoring chances the Flames had 48%, with a 10-11 split.

In all situations the Flames had 54% of the shot attempts, 49% of the expected goals, and 46% of the high danger splits. The all situations expected goal totals came out at 2.7 to 2.8.

Individually the Flames were led by Dennis Gilbert posting a xGF% of 72% on the night five on five. Chris Tanev was just behind at 71%. Elias Lindholm, Connor Zary and Andrew Mangiapane were all in the 60s. Jonathan Huberdeau was at the bottom with a 29% night.

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