Game Takes: Flames 5 Habs 2

March 16th, 2024 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Dustin Wolf has arrived!

Battling back from a tough start against the San Jose Sharks a few weeks ago, Wolf had some average starts in the AHL, but very much announced his return to the Flames future plans with back to back wins over the Knights on Thursday and again tonight in the Flames 5-2 win over the Canadiens on Hockey Night in Canada.

Wolf was the busier of the goaltenders from buzzer to buzzer, and was rewarded with some solid run support from his skaters.

The Flames have now won two in a row, putting to bed that dreary three game skid that had even the most ardent rebuild fans questioning their direction.

The Lineup

Some change in the Flames lineup with Andrei Kuzmenko and AJ Greer back from injury.

Up front it’s Yegor Sharangovich between Dryden Hunt and Kuzmenko, Mikael Backlund with Andrew Mangiapane and Blake Coleman, Nazem Kadri with Jonathan Huberdeau and Martin Pospisil and Kevin Rooney with Greer and Matt Coronato. Walker Duehr and Jakob Pelletier come out.

On the blueline it’s the same six from the Vegas game; Oliver Kylington with Rasmus Andersson, Mackenzie Weegar with Daniil Miromanov, and Nikita Okhotiuk with Brayden Pascal.

Duston Wolf gets his second straight start in goal.

Line Metrics Coming In

Hunt – Sharangovich – Kuzmenko 31.9%
Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman 56.5%
Huberdeau – Kadri – Pospisil 66.0%
Greer – Rooney – Coronato NA

Kylington – Andersson 47.5%
Weegar – Miromanov 64.8%
Okhotiuk – Pachal 82.1%

Goals Saved + Avg
Markstrom +16.1
Vladar -12.7
Wolf -8.2

Trend Tracker

Lots of new faces in the Flames lineup of late, but how are the new guys doing in various metrics?

5 on 5 Ice Time:

  1. Miromanov 16:33
  2. Hanley 13:52
  3. Pachal 13:49
  4. Kuzmenko 11:29
  5. Okhotiuk 10:37

Expected goal splits

  1. Okhotiuk 67.0%
  2. Miromanov 66.8%
  3. Pachal 56.3%
  4. Kuzmenko 52.5%
  5. Hanley 51.8%

New guys are playing a significant amount and not getting filled in.

Surprising given some of the scores.

Clap For the Wolfman

Back to back wins.

And this one he was much busier.

Had some help from his goal posts early, but was solid from buzzer to buzzer in what I would think was his best start in his young career.

Give the guy credit; had trouble in a game against San Jose, but took it and built from it.

Looks every bit the future starter in this one.

Game Flow

Firewagon hockey off the hop with the puck moving up and down the ice quickly and goaltenders having to be sharp. The masked men are equal to the task however, so the game stays tied through the first third of the period. The Flames go up on their only first period powerplay when Mackenzie Weegar gets a puck through to the net with both Mangiapane and Backlund tipping it; Backlund with the goal. Montreal gets a late powerplay chance and Wolf stones Slafkovsky with a one timer. Flames lead 1-0 after one.

Calgary jumps on the Habs early in the second scoring their second goal of the game just 11 seconds into the frame. Blake Coleman gets to a rebound and then puts it into the slot where Backlund steers it home into the empty net for his second of the game. The Flames go up 3-0 when Kadri wins a puck battle and feeds it to Huberdeau in front of the net who deftly slides it over to Pospisil. Montreal back in it on a two one one with Caufield beating Wolf on a one timer; 3-1 Flames. Montreal draws closer with a late goal just after the Pospisil minor expired, a point shot through a screen that Wolf didn’t see. Flames up 3-2 after two.

Coming into the third the game had a feel that the contest was leaning towards the visitors. But that wasn’t the case. Huberdeau finds Kadri in tight for a redirection to make it 4-2. Then an extended shift in the Montreal zone results in a Miromanov rebound goal to make it 5-2 and that was pretty much it. Wolf makes some solid late saves to preserve the lead and the Flames wind it down and win their second game in a row.

Odds and Sods

Have to wonder what the reaction in Calgary would have been tonight if Darryl Sutter took Jakob Pelletier out in what would have been his first game against his childhood team the Canadiens. Ouch. That’s not to say Sutter didn’t have it coming, he had a lot of head scratching almost self defeating decisions as his tenure wound down, but the decision from Huska tonight seems somewhat cruel. … Just crazy to go 30 years without a Russian in the lineup and now have a first powerplay unit with two Russians and a Belarussian. … I get hyphenated names, I do. But you have to ask yourself if it rolls off the tongue. Harvey … fine name. Pinard … solid name. Harvey-Pinard? Good Lord no. …. Didn’t think Martin Pospisil did enough to get two minutes let along four in the second period. Nothing really happened. Push both ways, then he’s run into from behind by Slafkovsky, then Anderson and Xhekaj both try to get him to fight. Looks like he’s heading for some reputation calls.

Special Teams

Flames win the special teams battle!

They score twice with the man advantage and blank the Habs on three chances of their own.

Calgary wins by three, but the non five on five play played a big role.

Standings and Record

Flames hanging in … sort of.

Now six points back with Vegas having a game in hand.

I get that Calgary has clauses on West team success in the playoffs, but keep pushing, what the hell … love it.

Counting Stats

Shots: Flames 28 Habs 38
Face Offs: Flames 33% / Habs 67%
Powerplay: Flames 2-3 / Avalanche 0-3

Fancy Stats

Give Dustin Wolf his props, this was a game that was played in the Calgary zone more often than not. Montreal had all of the play driving stats, but came up short on the scoreboard. Five on five the Flames had 39% of the shot attempts with period splits of 40%/42% and 34% respectively. In terms of five on five expected goals, the Flames had 38%, and for high danger scoring chances the Flames had 40%, with a 8-12 split.

In all situations the Flames had 41% of the shot attempts, 43% of the expected goals, and 48% of the high danger splits. The all situations expected goal totals came out at 2.43 to 3.2.

Individually the Flames were led by Martin Pospisil posting a xGF% of 51% five on five. He was the only plus player on the night for the Flames. AJ Greer and Matt Coronato were under 10%, Greer actually under 1%.

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