Game Takes: Sabres 4 Flames 1

March 24th, 2024 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Another entertaining close hockey game.

Another missed two points in what’s becoming a strengthening draft position.

The Flames and Sabres had a tight game blown open in the third period with a Sabre’s five on five goal and two empty netters making the final score of 4-1 look much more lopsided than it was.

Calgary was in it throughout, but once again just can’t generate those blue chip chances, and when they do they don’t have the finish to get it done.

Good hockey overall.

The Lineup

One change up front with Connor Zary in for Matt Coronato.

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 Dryden Hunt.

On the blueline it’s the same six; Oliver Kylington with Rasmus Andersson, Mackenzie Weegar with Daniil Miromanov, and Joel Hanley with Brayden Pascal.

Jacob Markstrom back in the cage for the Flames.

Line Metrics Coming In

Huberdeau – Sharangovich – Kuzmenko 69.1%
Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman 55.5%
Zary – Kadri – Pospisil 54.2%
Greer – Rooney – Hunt 84.8%

Kylington – Andersson 43.3%
Weegar – Miromanov 60.0%
Hanley – Pachal 66.7%

Goals Saved + Avg
Markstrom +15.3
Vladar -12.5
Wolf -8.1

Wolf’s Start

He’s like to have the first one back.

But from there he was solid the rest of the period, stopping the Sabres on point blank chances two or three times.

And from there I thought he just got stronger and stronger.

No fault on the game winner and gave up two in total against three expected on the night.

Game Flow

The Flames have some jump off the hop of the game, and territorially carry the game for the first few shifts. Buffalo opens the scoring though when Krebbs beats Wolf with a wrister from about 40 feet out; likely one the young goaltender would like back. Calgary shakes it off and continues to play a strong period but can’t hit the scoresheet. Calgary with the better chances but trail 1-0 after one.

The Sabres come out strong in the second and if not for Wolf it would have been 2 or 3 zip in the first 8-10 minutes. Calgary turns it on and takes the middle portion of the period over, finally scoring on a powerplay when Jonathan Huberdeau scores by attempting a pass that hits a Sabre. Calgary gets sloppy as hell and relies on Wolf heavily to keep the game tied the rest of the way through the period.

Calgary gets a third period powerplay early and generates five shots and a few solid chances but can’t push ahead in the game for the first time on the night. Then the teams settle into a back and forth affair with most of the play on the perimeter. Buffalo goes out front with about eight minutes to play when the Flames leave Peterka in front of the net on his own and it’s 2-1 for the Sabres. Calgary pushes for the equalizer, but the Sabres put it away with an empty netter.

Odds and Sods

So my first team was the Buffalo Sabres. I played for the Bonavista Sabres when I was 7 year old, touring around the small rink at the Bonavista Rec Center. Got some hockey cards and saw the Sabres jerseys and players, and logo and was hooked. Dropped it like a hot potato when the Flames moved to Calgary, but for three years I was an epic Sabres fan. … Martin Pospisil’s breakaway was unique to say the least. Faked slap shot, weak attempt, rebound that hits the post. Hilarious. … Dustin Wolf moves the puck really well for a goaltender. It can be somewhat unnerving at time, but effective as hell in avoiding face offs in the Calgary zone and getting the Flames up the ice sooner. Good touch! … More Daniil Miromanov jumping into the play action tonight. He’s good excellent offensive instincts. What a pick up. … Thought the Flames passed away the puck in shooting positions far often tonight. We all know Huberdeau can be guilty of this often, but many a player fed teammates instead of shooting when they were in A-1 position to shoot themselves. …

Special Teams

Flames win the special teams battle tonight.

They go 1/2 on the powerplay while the Sabres go 0/1 with their only chance.

Flames lose the game five on five as they’re unable to score a single goal.

Standings and Record

The loss leaves the Flames 12 points out of the final playoff spot in the West with even games played.

With 12 games to go that isn’t an ideal situation.

It does help with the draft position though as the Flames have moved from 12 to a tie for 10th with Buffalo with two losses on the weekend.

Counting Stats

Shots: Flames 32 Sabres 28
Face Offs: Flames 64% / Sabres 36%
Powerplay: Flames 1-2 / Sabres 0-1

Fancy Stats

Calgary with the shot volume, but the Sabres have the better of the scoring chances and with that the edge on the game overall. Five on five the Flames had 54% of the shot attempts with period splits of 47%/67% and 50% respectively. In terms of five on five expected goals, the Flames had 48%, and for high danger scoring chances the Flames had 41%, with a 7-10 split.

In all situations the Flames had 55% of the shot attempts, 47% of the expected goals, and 47% of the high danger splits. The all situations expected goal totals came out at 2.68 to 3.00.

Individually the Flames were led by Dryden Hunt posting a xGF% of 68% five on five, but in only eight minutes of action. Kevin Rooney, Brayden Pachal, and Joel Hanley were also in the 60s. Four players finished under 40%; Martin Pospisil, Connor Zary, Oliver Kylington and Nazem Kadri. The Kadri line were at the bottom of the pile in back to back nights this weekend.

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