We are now 40% of the way through the Calgary Flames season, which is pretty crazy to say. It feels like we’ve just got started with this new core. As we know, things started out great, then began to tail off. Now, they remain swimming in mediocrity, with an overall record of 14–12–6. For Games 25 to 32, the Flames had a record of 3–2–3.
Flames game segments
Note: All of the CF%, xGF%, SCF% and HDCF% data is courtesy of NaturalStatTrick.com, and ice times are courtesy of NHL.com.
Game Twenty-Five (Arizona @ Calgary)
Hanifin – Andersson was the only line or pair with a positive high-danger chance ratio. The fourth line struggled mightily, but the rest of the team played fairly well. Strong game from the Ruzicka – Backlund – Coleman line.
Game Twenty-Six (Minnesota @ Calgary)
This game was an interesting one. The Flames got absolutely hammered at 5v5, but their power play brought them to victory. The top line, fourth line, and third pairing got exceptionally caved in.
Game Twenty-Seven (Calgary @ Columbus)
This was a disastrously bad effort against a really bad Columbus team. Jacob Markstrom played great, and the second line had its moments, but other than that, it was a poor effort. The first and third defence pairings were particularly bad.
Game Twenty-Eight (Calgary @ Toronto)
This game finally saw something fans were asking for, Lucic being taken out of the lineup, and Matthew Phillips came in. The Flames played a very good Toronto team, and struggled. Daniel Vladar had a bad night, and the second and third defence pairings were caved in.
Game Twenty-Nine (Calgary @ Montreal)
This was one, if not the best goaltending performances of the season so far for Jacob Markstrom, saving 4.98 Goals Above Expected. Chris Tanev blocked a shot up high and left the game. The second line was great, and the third pairing was perfect when playing together. Rasmus Andersson played an insane 31:30 tonight. Third line wasn’t played much, and the fourth line struggled.
Game Thirty (Vancouver @ Calgary)
The fourth line played extremely well, and was rewarded with a goal. The first person was also quite effective, but the rest of the team struggled, thus giving the Canucks the win in a shootout.
Game Thirty-One (St Louis @ Calgary)
Connor Mackey turned into “Connor MackDavid” by scoring two goals. Other than that, the Flames played well, especially the fourth line and top pairing, but Jacob Markstrom struggled. The second line and pairing weren’t particularly good either.
Game Thirty-Two (Calgary @ San Jose)
The Flames played a very bad Sharks team, and came out with the win. For some reason, they decided to go with eleven forwards and seven defencemen to get Dennis Gilbert back into the lineup—which was questionable. A very strong game from the Hanifin-Andersson pairing, who carried the Flames results.
Forwards Lines Summarized
|Mangiapane – Kadri – Dube||222:46||52.52%||46.70%||47.09%||43.67%|
|Huberdeau – Lindholm – Toffoli||154:55||54.34%||53.21%||51.10%||53.60%|
|Ruzicka – Lindholm – Toffoli||81:48||60.35%||66.17%||57.71%||62.22%|
|Coleman – Backlund – Lewis||81:43||60.13%||42.75%||51.63%||50.13%|
|Lucic – Rooney – Ritchie||81:19||46.65%||42.85%||43.81%||42.35%|
|Ruzicka – Backlund – Coleman||78:37||59.89%||58.21%||57.97%||57.83%|
|Huberdeau – Backlund – Coleman||54:51||55.61%||61.94%||56.12%||64.99%|
|Huberdeau – Kadri – Mangiapane||40:51||48.05%||34.75%||37.24%||26.06%|
Mangiapane – Kadri – Dube hasn’t been the best forward line by any metric, so its nice to see them split up. The newest forward combination of Huberdeau – Kadri – Mangiapane hasn’t performed well in the two games they’ve played together. Two other things that stand out, anyone that plays with Backlund – Coleman and Lindholm – Toffoli has performed well. Those are two duos that the Flames should keep together going forward.
Defence Pairings Summarized
|Hanifin – Andersson||444:01||48.26%||51.28%||48.54%||50.99%|
|Weegar – Tanev||240:30||56.63%||56.27%||54.42%||56.60%|
|Zadorov – Weegar||222:27||63.57%||54.01%||55.65%||43.95%|
|Zadorov – Stone||174:23||57.93%||52.11%||48.33%||50.14%|
|Zadorov – Tanev||57:52||58.43%||58.98%||60.25%||50.92%|
|Zadorov – Andersson||56:12||49.66%||45.34%||48.67%||45.09%|
|Mackey – Stone||46:18||60.06%||47.43%||53.21%||59.37%|
The major standout from the this chart is how the Hanifin – Andersson has increased their metrics. This pairing needed to be better if the Flames want to be a playoff team, so hopefully they can continue this momentum. Weegar – Tanev and Zadorov – Tanev both have incredible results. Spoiler alert, whoever plays with Chris Tanev generally plays well. Hoping he can return to action soon, as the Flames are a much better team with him on the ice.
Moving over to goaltending, let’s take a look at GSAx numbers from MoneyPuck.com.
That 4.4 GSAx ranks Markstrom as the 22nd out of 71 goaltenders who have played at least five games. Vladar ranks 51st.
The next stretch of games is going to be crucial for this Flames team. They currently do not find themselves in a playoff spot, and need things to turn around. They do have the easiest schedule remaining, with a ton of games against rebuilding teams. Those are games they should win, so they need to do just that. If they don’t start to really turn things around as well, some questions will need to be asked.
It was an impressive bit of goaltending from Jacob Markstrom recently. Here’s hoping he can keep it up and continue some strong play, which we all know he’s capable of.
Also, play Matthew Phillips!
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire
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