The Calgary Flames just finished Game 70 against the Dallas Stars, a game which resulted in a 6–5 overtime loss. The Flames now have an overall record of 31–24–15, with just three more overtime losses away from tying an NHL record. It’s still a super tough spot for the Flames to find themselves in as they sit outside the playoffs. Every time they have a chance to gain some ground, they can’t take advantage of it.
During their latest ten-game segment, the Flames have an overall record of 4–3–3. That record is a marginal improvement over the last segment, but still not where the Flames want to be. Every game is a must-win going forward, as the Flames only have 24 possible points to try and make up ground on the Winnipeg Jets. It is going to be a tall task.
Both the Nashville Predators and more importantly the Jets lost last night. The Flames once again have an opportunity to gain some ground, starting tonight against the Los Angeles Kings.
Note: All CF%, SCF%, HDCF%, and xGF% data seen in the graphics below is courtesy of NaturalStatTrick.com. Ice times are courtesy of NHL.com.
Game 61 (Boston @ Calgary)
The Flames dominated the NHL’s best team, but Linus Ullmark was out worldly, and Boston came out with the win in overtime. Vladar struggled in this one, and was pulled for Markstrom, who has played every game since. High-danger chances in this game were 18–2 at 5v5 in favour of the Flames. This was a game you probably win 99 times out of 100, but Ullmark had other ideas. They got a point, but deserved two.
Game 62 (Toronto @ Calgary)
Markstrom had a great performance, saving 1.51 goals above expected. Also strong games from the top line and newly combined top defence pairing. Unfortunately for the Flames, they took their foot off the gas in the third period, and the Leafs, who were on a back-to-back, found a way to beat them. This was the last game before the trade deadline, so we see a couple new faces take the lineup in the coming games.
Game 63 (Minnesota @ Calgary)
One of the worst performances of the season. New acquisition Troy Stecher enters the lineup on the third pairing next to Nikita Zadorov. Markstrom was just above-average, and the second line was really good, but other than that, a bunch of awful performances, all resulting in getting dominated at home by the Wild.
Game 64 (Calgary @ Dallas)
After the abysmal game against the Wild, new forward lines are introduced, and Nick Ritchie made his Flames debut by scoring a goal! The top-six and bottom pair were fantastic. The bottom-six struggled, and we see a very rare bad game from the Backlund line, which has been tops in the NHL all season.
Game 65 (Calgary @ Minnesota)
The Flames follow up their win over the Stars with a win over the Wild on a back-to-back, and hope in this team is restored (briefly). Jacob Markstrom had his best performance of the season, saving 4.13 goals above expected. Ultimately, this isn’t a game the Flames should have won, but their goalie got them the two points. A very rare game where the score is 0–0 through all three periods and overtime.
Game 66 (Anaheim @ Calgary)
A theme we’ve seen all season. The Flames outplay a weaker opponent, but find a way to lose the game. In this case, it was the play of John Gibson who backstopped the Ducks to a victory. The Flames’ top line was fantastic, while the top four on defence was also very effective. The fourth line and bottom pairing struggled. Can’t be losing games like this when every game is a must-win.
Game 67 (Ottawa @ Calgary)
We see forward lines mixed up once again. The Flames get a little lucky tonight, as they play a fourth string goalie while the Sens were on a back-to-back. Most of the Flames roster played fantastic, particularly Markstrom, the second pairing, and the fourth line.
Game 68 (Calgary @ Arizona)
A tough effort against a team low in the standings, once again. Markstrom had a very rough game, allowing 2.06 goals above expected. The top line also struggled. The Hanifin-Tanev pairing was great once again. The Flames did get a point, but at this point in the season, one point isn’t enough.
Game 69 (Calgary @ Vegas)
After a tough outing against the Coyotes, the Flames head into Vegas with new forward lines once again. The Mangiapane-Backlund-Coleman line that has been fantastic throughout this season is finally broken up, as Mangiapane shifts to the top line. The Flames seemed to have everything going for them in this game. The entire team played fantastic, with the exception of the new second and third lines. Lucic-Kadri-Lewis had one of the worst performances by a line we’ve seen all season.
Game 70 (Dallas @ Calgary)
The bottom-six is once again shuffled heading into this game. This was a wild one, as neither goaltender had a good game. Markstrom started for the ninth straight game, and allowed 2.85 goals above expected. Yikes. The bottom of the lineup also struggled. However, the Weegar-Andersson pairing was astounding, with very strong metrics and a combined six points between them.
Forward Lines Summarized (5v5 SVA)
Note: bolded lines are the lines that are currently in use, or were used in the last game played
|Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman||391:34||65.62%||62.26%||64.89%||66.01%|
|Dube – Lindholm – Toffoli||312:04||57.32%||49.46%||52.59%||43.52%|
|Mangiapane – Kadri – Dube||222:46||52.52%||46.70%||47.09%||43.67%|
|Lucic – Kadri – Huberdeau||176:24||53.56%||52.30%||50.67%||42.15%|
|Huberdeau – Lindholm – Toffoli||154:55||54.34%||53.21%||51.10%||53.60%|
|Pelletier – Kadri – Huberdeau||150:40||61.56%||59.35%||62.73%||55.17%|
|Coleman – Backlund – Lewis||83:27||59.30%||51.22%||48.64%||39.66%|
|Ruzicka – Lindholm – Toffoli||81:48||60.35%||66.17%||57.71%||62.22%|
|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||78:21||57.17%||52.77%||58.14%||55.12%|
|Lucic – Lewis – Duehr||71:19||53.37%||52.01%||48.05%||48.61%|
|Pelletier – Lindholm – Toffoli||48:36||63.47%||58.97%||67.50%||62.87%|
Mangiapane-Backlund-Coleman remains one of the best forward lines in the league. However, they have regressed quite a bit from the last ten game segment, which could be why the coaching staff decided to mix them up.
None of the most recent forward combinations have played enough ice time together to be featured. The Huberdeau-Backlund-Coleman line has played enough, with decent results.
The Flames haven’t been able to find successful line combinations at forward for a long period of time, with the exception of the Mangiapane-Backlund-Coleman line that was so effective when playing together.
Defence Pairs Summarized (5V5 SVA)
|Hanifin – Andersson||854:37||51.96%||53.21%||50.81%||51.71%|
|Weegar – Tanev||587:13||60.61%||58.34%||58.23%||55.97%|
|Zadorov – Stone||388:59||57.02%||51.45%||50.68%||48.33%|
|Zadorov – Weegar||331:54||64.30%||56.56%||57.37%||46.60%|
|Hanifin – Tanev||243:55||61.10%||66.93%||62.94%||69.86%|
|Weegar – Andersson||204:30||60.81%||63.21%||60.70%||59.53%|
|Zadorov – Andersson||102:23||55.87%||52.22%||52.55%||48.24%|
|Zadorov – Stecher||102:04||55.92%||46.00%||49.50%||45.13%|
|Zadorov – Gilbert||63:12||55.28%||58.15%||53.98%||63.67%|
In the Flames’ last ten-game segment, I discussed the great metrics that came about when Weegar-Andersson and Hanifin-Tanev played together. Sure enough, the coaching staff decided to put those pairs together for Game 61, and keep them that way for the entirety of this ten-game segment.
Both of these new pairing are tops among the Flames defence all season. The lowest metric among these two pairs is 59.53%, so putting together these new pairings was an extremely smart decision.
The new Zadorov-Stecher pairing is struggling a bit, while the Zadorov-Gilbert pairing has much better metrics in a shorter timeframe.
Goaltending Summarized (5v5 SVA)
Goaltending remains a strange position for the Flames. Markstrom did have a solid run during this ten game segment, but it trailed off towards the end. Both goalies are now below average in terms of save percentage and goals saved above average. We know Markstrom is going to get the bulk of starts in the remaining twelve games, as every game is a must-win. Will he start to fade with the increased workload, like may be the case in the past few games? I guess we will find out.
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire
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