Game Takes: Flames 6 Coyotes 2

January 11th, 2024 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Quite the night for the Calgary Flames and their party happy fathers.

Calgary scores 20 seconds into the game, and then cruise to a 6-2 victory on Thursday night in Arizona.

The Flames sat on the lead to some extent, putting a lot of pressure on Jacob Markstrom the rest of the way.

The win moves the Flames a game over .500 and past the Coyotes in the West standings.

Will be interesting if they can put a string together, but it doesn’t get easier with a stop in Vegas on Saturday night.

The Lineup

Despite the win over the Senators on Tuesday night the Flames make two adjustments to their roster for tonight’s game in Arizona.

Elias Lindholm with Jonathan Huberdeau and Yegor Sharangovich, Mikael Backlund with Andrew Mangiapane and Blake Coleman, Nazem Kadri between Connor Zary and Martin Pospisil, and on the fourth line Walker Duehr takes a seat and Dillon Dube returns, so Adam Ruzicka between AJ Greer and Dube.

On the blueline Jan Kuznetsov comes out for Jordan Oestere. Noah Hanifin and Chris Tanev, Mackenzie Weegar with Rasmus Andersson and Nick DeSimone with Jordan Oesterle.

Jacob Markstrom with the start tonight in goal

Line Metrics Coming In

Huberdeau – Lindholm – Sharangovich 42.0%
Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman 58.2%
Zary – Kadri – Pospisil 58.8%
Greer – Ruzicka – Dube 45.7%

Hanifin – Tanev 53.3%
Weegar – Andersson 48.0%
DeSimone – Oesterle 50.0%

Goals Saved + Avg
Markstrom +10.3
Vladar -7.7
Wolf -5.2

Trend Tracker

Pretty special night at the Saddledome on Tuesday with Mikael Backlund catching Mark Giordano for 2nd overall in all time games played in a Calgary uniform, and some touching moments with his family.

Tonight he moves out of said tie and into 2nd alone with 950 games. He’ll reach 1000 next season, and needs 269 (3.3 season) to catch Jarome Iginla. Seems like a stretch but stranger things have happened.

But it got me thinking of Noah Hanifin, his age, and how his trade or extension is being discussed on a daily basis, both in Calgary and around the hockey world.

He’s two games short of catching Sam Bennett for 30th all time at 402 games. The Flames have 21 games to go before the deadline giving him a max games of 419 in a Calgary uniform if he’s traded. At 419 he’d reel in Colin Patterson and Curtis Glencross, but wouldn’t catch Robert Reichel.

If however, he isn’t traded and instead extended for 8 seasons and doesn’t miss a game on that contract he would be at 1,095 games and likely pass Backlund.

Dad’s Trip

Man that looks like a lot of fun, doesn’t it?

Twenty to 23 old dudes in a box slapping backs, drinking free booze, and soaking in the NHL experience.

Such a great idea and tradition.

I get a kick out of the mom trips as well of course; glad it’s in the rotation.

Coleman Story Continues

What can you say about this guy?

Just unbelievable.

Nineteen points in his last 16 games coming in, and then puts up three more points in the first period tonight.

Well on his way to setting career highs in every offensive category.

For year three in a contract he’s really making it look like a solid signing.

Huberdeau Putting Some Games Together

For a good chunk of December, Jonathan Huberdeau was pointless, but setting up teammates game after game with no results. Not much you can do on a team with little finish if you’re making plays.

Things changed in January.

Tonight with two more assists, and now he has eight points in his last seven games.

He hasn’t saved his season yet, but he’s putting a charge on things.

I think it’s imperative that he gets more points this season than last so he can say he took a step in the right direction.

That didn’t look possible after 35 games, looking a little more possible now.

Sharangovich Hatty

What a night for Yegor Sharangovich.

I think he’s really liking Jonathan Huberdeau on his flank.

The guy is an elite finisher. Great release, consistently on net, and able to make a move in tight to beat a goaltender.

Tonight it was a great backhand goal shorthanded, and two one timers on setups, one on a powerplay.

I think he might out score Tyler Toffoli this season. Wouldn’t have predicted that.

Markstrom Start

No luck in the first period on another own goal.

Didn’t love the second one, but it was a heck of a shot by Keller.

He was great in the second period when the Coyotes moved the game to within two goals, to the point where it could have been a tie game going to the third.

Pretty quiet third period.

End of the night some great simple stats with a .943 save percentage with two against on 35 Coyote shots.

Expected goals against at 3.29 so a two goal against night suggest a great start from the surging starter.

Game Flow

Calgary jumps all over the Coyotes to start the game. On the first shift an Arizona turnover gives the puck to Blake Coleman who feeds Mikael Backlund for a breakaway goal. A few minutes later it’s 2-0 when Yegor Sharangovich finishes a shorthanded play with Coleman setting him up as well. Finally Rasmus Andersson with a bounce off the boards behind the net on a Nazem Kadri shot that went wide. Arizona gets one on a bounce off of Pospisil’s skate, but Calgary erases that one 14 seconds later when Blake Coleman tipped in a Tanev point shot. Crazy period.

Much better second period for the Coyotes, as they were likely the better team in the middle frame. They score the only goal on a give and go finished by Clayton Keller, but after that Jacob Markstrom stood tall, preserving the Flames two goal lead. The Flames weren’t without there chances too however, with close in chances on Connor Ingram by AJ Greer, Mikael Backlund, and a goal post from Mackenzie Weegar.

The Flames pay their goaltender back by putting things away in the the third period. Two third period goals from Yegor Sharangovich, both on great setups from Jonathan Huberdeau turn a relatively close 4-2 game in to a 6-2 walk away. Not much left by way of spirit from the Coyotes after the sixth goal goes in. Solid road game for the Flames.

Odds and Sods

This season always setup as a tough one for Calgary fans with the team unlikely to be all that good and the UFAs to be marched out. What a pleasant surprise that the fans have stories like Sharangovich and Connor Zary (amongst others) to give them a little more hope. It’s tough heading into a retool, but easier when the farm system looks better than expected. … The players were clearly just as jacked with the dad’s trip concept as their fathers with their start to that first period. Jumped all over the Coyotes, who are no longer a joke in the standings. … Quite the run of own goals for the Flames these days. The Coyotes first period deflection off of Pospisil was the fourth goal deflected in off a Flames player in the last three games. Tough on goaltenders when you have to watch everyone on the ice. … Great to see Mikael Backlund score a goal in game 950. Tying the record is great, moving ahead the next game with a marker is a great memory, especially with his dad in attendance. … That’s back to back games with six goals scored for the Flames. Don’t see that very often!

Special Teams

The Flames win the special teams battle in a walk.

They scored the only powerplay goal.

They added a short handed goal.

And they showed some great discipline.

Standings and Record

The Flames leap frog the Coyotes in the West standings with the regulation win.

They also move back to a game over .500 after giving two back on the road before back to back wins.

The Flames are two points back of the Predators with the Preds having a game in hand.

By points percentage the Flames still have to climb over three teams, but it’s no longer four!

Counting Stats

Shots: Flames 32 Coyotes 35
Face Offs: Flames 59% / Coyotes 41%
Powerplay: Flames 1-3 / Coyotes 0-1

Fancy Stats

Don’t let the score fool you, the Flames were dominant on the scoreboard but score effects put a lot of pressure on Jacob Markstrom with the big lead. Five on five the Flames had 38% of the shot attempts with period splits of 59%/28% and 24% respectively. In terms of five on five expected goals, the Flames had 43%, and for high danger scoring chances the Flames had 36%, with a 8-14 split.

In all situations the Flames had 43% of the shot attempts, 48% of the expected goals, and 43% of the high danger splits. The all situations expected goal totals came out at 2.97 to 3.24.

Individually the Flames were led by Rasmus Andersson posting a xGF% of 53% five on five. The only other player over 50% was Connor Zary at 53% as well. At the bottom Dillon Dube returning to the lineup with a 28% night. His fourth line mates weren’t that far ahead.

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