Game Takes: Flames 7 Stars 4

November 24th, 2023 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

You have to hand it to the Calgary Flames.

There is literally no quit in their game.

Tonight down two goals in the second period it very much looked like a wind down loss for the Flames in Dallas Texas.

Instead they score once late in the second and four more times in the third to turn an expected loss into a walk away win evening their road trip at 1-1-0 and keeping their hopes alive for a playoff spot.

The Flames are right back at it tomorrow night in Colorado, with both teams travelling for the game.

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 46.7%
Huberdeau – Backlund – Coleman 44.2%
Zary – Kadri – Pospisil 76.9%
Greer – Ruzicka – Dube 72.7%

Weegar – Andersson 47.6%
Hanifin – Tanev 61.2%
Zadorov – Gilbert 50.0%

Goals Saved + Avg
Markstrom +3.6
Vladar -5.7
Wolf -1.1

Trend Tracker

Lots of talk about Jacob Markstrom of late, especially in the context of his value should the Flames go re-tool and shed assets.

Would he be a help to a team looking to contend?

Many point to his bobble against the Oilers in the second round series two years ago, but he as great in the first round, and carried the Canucks in the bubble to a series win over St. Louis.

Statistically he has both good and bad numbers.

In terms of goals saves above average he sits 8th for starters with +3.6 (5.0 gets you to the top five). His save percentage break down is a mixed bag … down the list in low and medium danger and dominant in high danger situations (ranked 6th league wide).

Tough sled of games coming for the Flames. If that teeters them towards selling it will be interesting to see what term players think and do with the exodus.

Markstrom’s Start

Not a great goaltending night either way, as it turns out.

For Markstrom’s part he gives up four goals on 27 shots, in an iffy overall performance.

Can’t fault in him on goal one or four, but the middle two were a little dodgy … one short side off his mask and another an unscreened shot far side over his blocker.

The sportsnet group had a graphic on his goals against this season and over the blocker was by far his biggest issue.

But in the end he makes the saves that were key late and the Flames get the win.

Sharangovich Coming On

With the trade from New Jersey a lot of talk around the Calgary side of the deal centered on opportunity.

Yegor Sharangovich, who struggled in his last year with the Devils due to being pushed down the lineup, would see a greater opportunity with the Flames.

Early on he looked shaky, and with that he moved down to the fourth line and wasn’t off to the best of starts.

But then he started finding his game and moving up the depth chart.

Tonight his 5th of the season putting him on a 20 goal pace with back to back goals on this road trip, plus he adds to assists.

Rounding into shape.

4th Line Magic

Two fourth line goals on the night, which is clearly a huge bonus.

The fourth line has been a revolving door all season with any of AJ Greer, Adam Ruzicka, Walker Duehr, Dillon Dube and Yegor Sharangovich taking shifts trying to provide energy.

Tonight AJ Greer scores in the first when he recovers a Dillon Dube rebound.

In the second another fourth line goal when Adam Ruzicka finds the glove side on a great pass from Chris Tanev.

Good to see.

Pospisil a Perma-Flame?

Tonight is game ten for Martin Pospisil, which is a hell of a milestone for a young player but potentially an even bigger deal to the Flames winger.

With ten games he now has to pass through waivers to be sent back to the Wranglers, something the Flames are unlikely to risk given how good he’s looked in his set of games since being recalled.

It could and likely should mean the player is up for the rest of the season.

Honestly who had that on their bingo card?

Stick taps for the player but also the scouting staff, and development team.

Lindholm Keeps Rolling

After a miserable 9-10 game stretch Elias Lindholm continues to rebound his season (and his trade value) with another two point game tonight.

That’s now 7 points in his last 5 games with a blank out in Nashville two nights ago.

Nowhere near his 40 goal 100 point season pace with Calgary’s old top line, but he’s turning himself back into an asset!

6 Straight in Dallas

Didn’t see this win coming, especially when the team was down 4-2 in the second period.

But a four goal third period was exactly what the doctor ordered as the Flames post their third come from behind third period victory on the season; last year they only had two.

The Flames had that ugly stretch in Anaheim, they’ve dominated certain teams on home ice, but lately they just can’t lose in Dallas or Seattle.

Game Flow

Calgary with a decent road period, but on the wrong side of the possession edge over the course of the 20 minutes. All Dallas in the first few minutes, but the Flames wrestle things back with a solid mid section of the period. Calgary takes the only penalty. Score is 2-1 Dallas after 20, AJ Greer with Calgary’s goal.

The Flames very much the better team in the second period, creating way more by way of attack and giving up less against, giving Jacob Markstrom less to do. The period comes out square though as both teams score twice to keep the game a one goal encounter heading to the third. No harm no foul in terms of effort from the Flames in Dallas.

Text book third period to round out a great effort in Dallas. The Flames score four third period goals to keep their streak in Dallas intact and their push to be relevant in the Western playoff race. Quite the push in a tough building against a tough team.

Odds and Sods

I think that’s the first time this season that Jacob Markstrom has given up a goal on the first shot of the game. Last year it seemed like 50% (has to be high) had that outcome. Hardly his fault tonight with an early two on one. … Good to see Connor Zary back. He likes the puck on his stick and with that you see the odd mistake, but he’s solid at creating chances by finding that open guy. Calgary’s current lineup seems to have playmakers on all four lines. Have to like that depth. Team just needs that top end piece.

Special Teams

The Flames looked better on the powerplay tonight but didn’t get it done by hitting the scoresheet.

On the night it’s another special teams loss as the Stars score once on three chances and the Flames are zero for their three chances.

Step in the right direction though if you’re keeping score.

Standings and Record

It’s past Thanksgiving as a cut off so all those stats are out the window.

Tonight, after a pretty big win, the Flames are two points back of the Seattle Kraken with a game in hand.

For the first time in weeks though, the Flames are also in that 9th spot in points percentage meaning there are no caveats on what looks like a team knocking on the door.

They have a rough set of games coming up, but tonight’s win keeps them very much in the discussion.

Counting Stats

Shots: Flames 27 Stars 28
Face Offs: Flames 56% / Stars 44%
Powerplay: Flames 0-3 / Stars 1-3

Fancy Stats

Solid road game for the Flames, clearly on the scoreboard, but also when you dig into the underlying stats. A decent first period builds into a very good second and third as the Flames take the game away from a pretty shocked crowd in Texas. Five on five the Flames had 54% of the shot attempts with period splits of 55%/65% and 48% respectively. In terms of five on five expected goals, the Flames had 47%, and for high danger scoring chances the Flames had 56%, with a 10-8 split.

In all situations the Flames had 55% of the shot attempts, 56% of the expected goals, and 57% of the high danger splits. The all situations expected goal totals came out at 3.26 to 2.57.

Individually the Flames were led by Andrew Mangiapane posting a xGF% of 87% on the night five on five. His linemates Yegor Sharangovich and Elias Lindholm were both in the 70s, Mackenzie Weegar and Rasmus Andersson in the 60s. Dennis Gilbert and Nikita Zadorov were at the bottom near 30%.

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