5 days of nothing for 90 shots, 4 goals and 1 point.... I mean it could be worse?
In all seriousness I think there was a lot of good things we saw from the Flames in the past two outings, and while there are some glaring issues as well, I'm sort of optomisitc.
At 5v5 the Flames have been quite dominant. From a raw xGoals perspective the Flames sit at 61% through 2 games, good enough for sixth in the league (Sample size tho). They have given up just one high danger shot against through two games which seems pretty good considering they are 0-1-1.
They have been pushed by some pretty bad PDO aka luck and while that never evens out perfectly the way we would like it, through two games it could very well be a blip.
At 5v5 Mangiapane leads the charge in xGoals (what a shocker) and the Flames really haven]'t had too many players get shelled out there.
I wouldn't say the Flames special teams looked awesome against Edmonton but they were flying against Anaheim. I don't know the last time I watched a Flames game in which our powerplay was able to maintain zone time as well as they did last night. Tkachuk on the half board is an absolute menace as he was stopping every ring around attempt by the Ducks.
Speaking of Tkachuk he definitely looks like his old self to start the year. I thought he has been noticeable every shift whether creating chances or entering the rent free zone of opposing teams heads. Also this play on the bench deserves another look lol.
Beyond this play being one of the wildest I think I've ever seen. Tkachuks awarness and engagement in the game is evident in a play like this. Very impressive hand eye from the kid.
Gudbranson may have been the punching bag in September but boy does he look like Robin Regher in comparison to Zadorovs Cory Sarich. Nikita has made costly turnovers, has been beat bad on goals (Puljujarvi) and often looks like he's panicking whenever he has to make a zone exit.
The most frustrating part is he seems to be dragging Tanev down as well. At 5v5 the Valimaki-Gudbranson pairing has CF of 74% and an xGF of 86.05. Hanifin and Andersson are also playing well to start the year with a 62.12 CF% and 59.29 xGF%.
Zadorov and Tanev (albeit with harder deployment) sit at 41.86% and 34% in those respective categories. After the season Tanev had last year with a smooth skater like Hanifin I think from my perspective it makes sense to put him with someone that can really skate *cough Oliver Kylington cough* buuut for some reason the entire organization hates Kylington. I don't want to be the guy who references preseason but even in game 1 against Edmonton, Kylington really didn't do a single thing wrong and still only played 3ish minutes.
Disregarding the really rough 3 on 3 finish for Monahan I thought Sean has been pretty invisible through two outings so far. I think swapping Dube with Blake Coleman may help him be an on ice + for the Flames rather than an anchor. But regardless if he doesn't bounce back this year I don't see the Flames having much success, there's really no one else in the organization that can fill that hole.
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