Game Takes: Flames 3 Sharks 2 (OT)

April 9th, 2024 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Interesting game between two teams literally going nowhere.

The Flames have been bad in the last two months of the season, but the Sharks are proof positive that there is a lot of real estate remaining in the South direction. Yikes.

Calgary with a slow start but then they get going, erasing a 2-0 San Jose lead, and winning it in overtime on an Andrei Kuzmenko powerplay goal.

Dustin Wolf picks up the win in his hometown in a special night.

The Lineup

Six games to go and a lot of expected upheaval for a team not going to the post season.

Up front Dryden Hunt comes out for Andrew Mangiapane returning from injury. The other three lines stay in tact. So up front it’s Nazem Kadri with Martin Pospisil and Andrei Kuzmenko, Mikael Backlund with Yegor Sharangovich and Blake Coleman, Connor Zary with Jonathan Huberdeau and Mangiapane, and Kevin Rooney with AJ Greer and Matt Coronato.

On the blueline two changes, Illya Solovyov in for an injured Oliver Kylington, and Nikita Okhotiuk comes in for Denis Gilbert. So look for Mackenzie Weegar with Daniil Miromanov, Okhotiuk with Rasmus Andersson, and Solovyov with Brayden Pachal.

In goal, San Jose (Gilroy) native Dustin Wolf.

Who’s On a Heater?

Flames leaders in the last ten games …

Points / 60 in all situations?

  1. Kuzmenko 3.15
  2. Weegar 2.85
  3. Kadri 2.83
  4. Sharangovich 2.41
  5. Huberdeau 2.36

Then a big gap down.

Play driving (xGF%)

  1. Hanley 61.0% (6 games)
  2. Miromanov 55.7%
  3. Huberdeau 54.7%
  4. Coleman 50.7%
  5. Pospisil 49.7%

Goaltenders (GSAA)

  1. Wolf +1.92 5 starts
  2. Markstrom -1.92 5 starts

Wolf’s Start

San Jose was the better team in the first 25 minutes of the game and built up a 2-0 lead before the Flames pretty much took the game over.

So Wolf had a somewhat sketchy start, but then was solid the rest of the way with limited work.

In the end he picks up the win in his hometown with two goals against vs 2.07 in expected results.

Zary at Center

Two games at center at the NHL level.

Game one against an Oiler’s third line playing on back to back nights, and tonight against San Jose which is pretty much an AHL team.

So the sample size is suspect, but the kid has done a pretty good job at playing down the middle.

Like Sharangovich this year, the minutes are sheltered, but the results are there to some degree.

Tonight 60%+ in xGF%, which is great, but in a game where half the team is above 60%.

Building blocks.

Coronato Coming Along

Still deployed as a fourth line winger, but that hasn’t stopped Matt Coronato from starting to imprint the game.

I thought he looked good against the Oilers, and tonight against a lesser team he had the puck on his stick more than we’re used to seeing.

On the first Calgary goal he was instrumental in losing his check and then finding Rasmus Andersson across the ice.

He also had three or four shot attempts where he missed the net with really hard shots.

Another Kuzmenko Point

Andrei Kuzmenko picks up a powerplay assist on the Nazem Kadri second period goal and then the overtime winner on the powerplay giving him 11 points in his last six games.

On the season he has 19 points in 24 Flames games, compared to 21 points in 43 Vancouver games.

If he’s on that kind of pace next season he’ll return a great deal in a deadline deal if Calgary moves him.

Even if he has a similar season as this year on the total and gets 50 points he’ll likely get a third at worst.

That trade just gets better and better.

Now just get that 1st round pick right!

Odds and Sods

Interesting comments from Pat Steinberg about Andrei Kuzmenko yesterday. Hinted that the player didn’t feel wanted in Vancouver, but does feel wanted in Calgary, and that they may have something in the player. Almost felt like a first shot over the bow from the organization that they may be thinking of re-signing the player. Could be over reacting as well. … With the insertion of Okhotiuk and Soloyviov tonight the Flames have 5 Russian speaking players in the lineup against the Sharks. That’s pretty incredible for a team that went 20 years without a Russian suiting up. (Sharangovich of course is Belarussian, but speaks the language). … Mike Smith played in Calgary so we’ve seen puck handling goaltenders, but I’d have to think Dustin Wolf is top 5 in Flames history, and maybe even higher than that. He had a turnover tonight, which happens when goaltenders play the puck, but is very agile and almost silky in how he takes, handles and distributes the puck. …

Draft Position

A mixed bag tonight.

The Senators, Coyotes and Sabres all lose, but Montreal and Seattle win.

As a result Calgary continues to cement that 8th spot in the draft lottery.

Fancy Stats

The Flames were pretty much dominant tonight after a slow start, posting 69% of the five on five shot attempts, and 72.6% in expected goals. In all situations the Flames had 64% of the shot attempts and 69% of the expected goals.

Dominant game by a rebuilding team against a terrible team.

Flames were led by former Shark, Nikita Okhotiuk with 82% in xGF% five on five. Twelve players were above 70%, and the entire team was above 50% on the night.


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