Game Takes: Ducks 5 Flames 3

April 2nd, 2024 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Want a preview of next season?

You just saw it.

The Flames are no longer a team expected to beat weak teams in the NHL, because they too are a weak team.

Tonight they showed that, getting outplayed by the Ducks and dropping a 5-3 contest on Saddledome ice tonight.

A pretty poor effort overall, something we haven’t seen from the team in a few games.

Next up the Flames travel to Winnipeg.

The Lineup

Andrew Mangiapane is getting closer but still out for tonight so the lines remain the same as the King’s game; up front, on the blueline and in goal.

Up front we see Mikael Backlund between Jonathan Huberdeau and Blake Coleman, Nazem Kadri with Andrei Kuzmenko and Martin Pospisil, a new line with Yegor Sharangovich with Connory Zary and Matt Coronato, and finally a fourth line with Kevin Rooney between AJ Greer and Dryden Hunt.

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

Jacob Markstrom gets the start in goal.

Line Metrics Coming In

Zary – Sharangovich –  Coronato 57.1%
Huberdeau – Backlund – Coleman 51.7%
Kuzmenko – Kadri – Pospisil 36.4%
Greer – Rooney – Hunt 64.3%

Hanley – Andersson 57.6%
Weegar – Miromanov 56.7%
Kylington – Pachal 48.1%

Goals Saved + Avg
Markstrom +15.5
Vladar -12.5
Wolf -9.4

Markstrom’s Start

Not his best work.

First he has nothing to do for eight minutes, then he’s ambushed.

But overall he gives up five goals against 2.78 expected.

His team wasn’t great in front of him of course, but Markstrom didn’t bail them out.

Game Flow

A careful start to say the least, neither team gets a shot on goal for the first almost six minutes of the period, and that’s a partial breakaway by AJ Grier. He didn’t score. Calgary clearly the better team and get some chance, the Ducks without a shot in the first 11.5 minutes of the first period. Then things change … in the next 8.5 minutes the Ducks put up 13 shots and the period’s only goal when Mason Mctavish tips in a Zellweger point shot and the Ducks lead 1-0 after one.

After a minute of feeling things out the Flames take back the game in the first third of the second. On a powerplay for the Ducks having too many men they tie the game when Nazem Kadri gets a shot off that is tipped by Yegor Sharangovich, his 29th of the season. He gets another two chances shortly after at his 30th but is denied. The Flames go up 2-1 when Andrei Kuzmenko puts on a show and scores his 16th of the season and 8th as a Flame. The Ducks tie it up soon after though, in the late seconds of a powerplay when Troy Terry gets a rebound off of Carlsson and beats Markstrom. Game all tied up again.

See saw battle continues as the Flames completely mail it in to start the third period, not getting a shot in the first eight minutes, and giving up two goals in the first five to go down 4-2. The Flames dig back into it with a flue goal off of Kuzmenko’s skate, his second of the night making the score 4-3 with a half period to go. Close finish? Not so much as the Ducks get a second third period goal from Killorn to put things away; Ducks with 5-3.

Odds and Sods

Has Rasmus Andersson found a fit? The four defensemen that he’s spent the most time with this season (Weegar, Hanifin, Kylington and Gilbert) he has averaged 45.7% xGF%, and the grouping is tight; 44.2% to 47.3%. With Joel Hanley though he’s off to a 54.8% start through 37.5 minutes of action. Could it be that he’s more suited for a defense stay at home guy? … Man I forgot the Ducks started the season 9-6-0, I remember a few seasons for the Flames like that in their dark days. Great start and then a huge slide. …  Guessing Danielle Fujita was pretty pleased watching the first period when Matt Coronato, at the end of a shift, beat two Ducks down the ice to negate an icing call. … I keep seeing mention of acquiring Trevor Zegras, but the player is not for me. Francis and Leslie went through a list of entitled prick video of the player and didn’t even get to the incident with former Flame Troy Sketcher. Clearly it’s limited information but enough warning signs for me that you’d be acquiring a less than good human. … Kuzmenko now has six points in his last three games and eight goals and five assists for 13 points in 21 games for the Flames, a 35 goal 55 point pace. … Calgary native Owen Zellweger with his first multi point night of his career, picking up three assists tonight. … Joel Hanley left the game in the first period and didn’t return. No word on his status.

Special Teams

Each team scores a powerplay goal, but the Ducks do it on only one opportunity to take the special teams battle tonight.

Total time on the powerplay for each team was about 2:00 truthfully, Calgary creating 0.2 in expected goals, and Anaheim 0.3.

Standings and Record

The Flames are still two points from being eliminated despite the loss tonight.

The real race though had a good night.

Calgary with the loss and the Penguins, Habs, and Sabres all win.

Flames back to the 8th overall pick and with striking distance of both Ottawa and Montreal.

Counting Stats

Shots: Flames 24 Ducks 29
Face Offs: Flames 58% / Ducks 42%
Powerplay: Flames  1-2 / Ducks 1-1

Fancy Stats

The Ducks were quite simply the better team. They had the edge in every single play driving metric five on five and very much deserved to win the game on merit. Five on five the Flames had 45% of the shot attempts with period splits of 23%/70% and 45% respectively. In terms of five on five expected goals, the Flames had 39%, and for high danger scoring chances the Flames had 40%, with a 6-9 split.

In all situations the Flames had 45% of the shot attempts, 39% of the expected goals, and 41% of the high danger splits. The all situations expected goal totals came out at 1.79 to 2.78.

Individually the Flames were led by Joel Hanley posting a xGF% of 64% in only four minutes five on five. He was joined in the 60s by Kevin Rooney, AJ Greer and Mikael Backlund. Four players were under the 30% mark; Nazem Kadri, Andrei Kuzmenko, Martin Pospisil and Dryden Hunt.

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