Game Takes: Hawks 3 Flames 1

March 26th, 2024 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Have said it three straight games; the Flames are playing an entertaining brand of losing hockey.

They show up.

They push the play.

They can’t score.

They can’t win.

Tonight they spot the Hawks a 3-0 lead and then thrown everything at the net for the last 45 minutes of the game, but lack the firepower to light the lamp more than once a night.

Doing wonders for their draft position though!

The Lineup

Three changes after the back to back losses on the weekend to Vancouver and Buffalo.

Matt Coronato in for Dryden Hunt, Nikita Okhotiuk in for Joel Hanley, and Jacob Markstrom in the nets instaed of Dustin Wolf.

So up front we’ll see; Yegor Sharangovich with Jonathan Huberdeau and Andrei Kuzmenko, Mikael Backlund between Andrew Mangiapane and Blake Coleman, Nazem Kadri with Connor Zary and Martin Pospisil, and finally Kevin Rooney with AJ Greer and Matt Coronato.

On the blueline it’s Oliver Kylington with Rasmus Andersson, Mackenzie Weegar with Daniil Miromanov, and Nikita Okhotiuk with Brayden Pascal.

Line Metrics Coming In

Huberdeau – Sharangovich – Kuzmenko 66.7%
Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman 55.2%
Zary – Kadri – Pospisil 52.9%
Greer – Rooney – Coronato 50.0%

Kylington – Andersson 39.4%
Weegar – Miromanov 59.1%
Okhotiuk – Pachal 55.6%

Goals Saved + Avg
Markstrom +15.3
Vladar -12.5
Wolf -7.6

Stats Dive

Topic 1: Rasmus Andersson

Four defensemen have spent at least 46 minutes with Rasmus Andersson this year (Weegar, Hanifin, Kylington, Gilbert), and all four have better expected goals splits on the ice without Rasmus as a partner. Dennis Gilbert is pretty close at +2.5% away from the Swede, but the others average a pretty robust 7%. That’s not good.

Topic 2: Dustin Wolf

Dustin Wolf is now down to -7.6 in goals vs average. That’s a huge move in the right direction, as the goaltender as -12.0 a few weeks ago. Certainly a good sign.

Topic 3: Kadri Line

The Kadri and Kids line has been an effective trio all year. But since Connor Zary has returned, and the line has been reunited they’ve been getting “fed” in five on five metrics. With back to back games under 40%, the line now sits at 52.9%. They were once at around 65%.

Markstrom’s Start

Didn’t really have a chance did he?

Extended powerplay that results in a goal, and two two on ones were the pucks that got by him in this one.

His expected goals against at 2.22 suggests a tough night, but didn’t seem like the case.

Game Flow

Calgary gets behind the eight ball early taking back to back minors and putting themselves down two men for roughly a minute. Towards the end of the second powerplay (they killed off the five on three) the Hawks go ahead on a Seth Jones point shot that looked like it was tipped. Calgary pretty much takes over the game for the next five to ten minutes but don’t generate much by way of high danger chances. Chicago bookends the Flames run of good five on five play with a five on five goal, a one time from Jason Dickinson to make it 2-0.

Calgary out with their methodical five on five game again in the second; that is controlling the play but not getting a whole lot accomplished. They get back to back powerplays in the middle of the period and have great zone time but can’t solve Mrazek mostly due to nobody shooting or getting into a shooting position. No scoring in the second period despite Calgary having a huge edge in shots on goal.

Flames come out relatively strong in the third, but start cheating offensively and with that give up too many odd man rushes. The Hawks finally get rewarded when they take advantage of hemming the Flames in and make it 3-0. That was pretty much it. An Oliver Kylington shattered stick creates a three on one and it looked to be 4-0 Chicago. A review though showed it never crossed the line. Calgary pours it on and finally gets one on a Mackenzie Weegar goal through a Martin Pospisil screen to make it 4-1. More pressure from Calgary, totalling 41 shots but they can’t get any more pucks past Mrazek.

Odds and Sods

Always interesting to watch a great young player to play against your hockey team. You can watch them against other teams, but you dial in a lot more when they’re up against a team that you follow. Love the way Bedard moves the puck. He slings it like Alex Tanguay but shoots it like Austin Matthews. Clearly an elite player that will only get better. … Good to see Matt Coronato back in the lineup. May as well play young players down the stretch. Tonight I thought he looked good. Had a solid scoring chance in the first period, and moved the puck well. … That was quite the bounce/gaff by Markstrom in the second period, most certainly would have been on all the highlight reels if it wasn’t for a Mackenzie Weegar knee save. … Said it through the game story but the Flames seem to have the try and the system to compete in hockey games, but just don’t have the finishing skill to set up the high danger chance and/or finish it when they get it on their stick. Two goals in Vancouver, one against Buffalo and then one again tonight. … Speaking of the one tonight, how does Chicago not challenge that? I’ve seen way iffier plays challenged and up three goals and giving your goalie a chance at preserving a shutout? Seemed like a no brainer.


Special Teams

The Hawks score an early powerplay goal, which almost ended up as the game winner in taking the special teams battle.

Calgary couldn’t convert on either of their second period chances and lose the game both five on five and with odd numbers on the ice.

Standings and Record

Calgary is now 15 points out of a playoff spot with a game in hand.

That doesn’t seem likely.

They are also back to .500 (modern NHL), and now hold down the 9th spot in the draft out right. Seattle is very close for the 8th spot and then a gap to both Montreal and Ottawa.

Counting Stats

Shots: Flames 40 Hawks 27
Face Offs: Flames 62% / Hawks 38%
Powerplay: Flames 0-2 / Hawks 1-2

Fancy Stats

The Flames carried the play five on five, and had the lion’s share of shot attempts and shots, but didn’t generate enough of the dangerous stuff. Five on five the Flames had 68% of the shot attempts with period splits of 56%/77% and 70% respectively. In terms of five on five expected goals, the Flames had 55%, and for high danger scoring chances the Flames had 55%, with a 6-5 split.

In all situations the Flames had 65% of the shot attempts, 54% of the expected goals, and 50% of the high danger splits. The all situations expected goal totals came out at 2.56 to 2.22.

Individually the Flames were led by Martin Pospisil posting a xGF% of 76% five on five. He was joined in the 70s by AJ Greer, Connor Zary, and Nazem Kadri. Three players finished under 40%; Kevin Rooney, Matt Coronato and Brayden Pachal.

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