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G49 Calgary Flames @ Edmonton Oilers: Right the ship

April 29, 2021, 11:28 AM ET [60 Comments]
Todd Cordell
Calgary Flames Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
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Five things to watch for when the Calgary Flames take on the Edmonton Oilers:

1. A 5v5 edge. Calgary’s 5-5 record might not reflect it, but they’ve quietly been playing really strong hockey at 5v5. They’ve given up *nothing* defensively and have generated, well, more than nothing. As such, their share of the Expected Goals over the last 10 games is 56.61%. That sandwiches them between the Colorado Avalanche and Washington Capitals. Pretty good! It’s a much different story in Edmonton. They have controlled just 45.37% of the xG over the last 10. Now, they’ve led for a lot of that time which hurts their numbers a bit. But even adjusting for score, they rank 20th in xGF% over the last 10. They spend a fair amount of time on their heels. That should play into Calgary’s hands. I think the Flames will be able to dictate the run of play in this one. The key is not getting caught and feeding into Edmonton’s transition game. That’s where the Oilers will make them pay.

2. Slow down Connor. The Flames have played the Oilers four times with Darryl Sutter behind the bench. McDavid only has one multi-point game in that time. He’ll get his chances – there’s no such thing as taking him out of a game entirely – but if you can limit the damage, you have a real shot at beating the Oilers. Losing Noah Hanifin hurts but the Flames have shown, with their structure and attention to detail, they do have it in them to prevent McDavid from destroying the game as we recently saw vs Winnipeg.

3. Get to the net. Calgary’s done a good job of getting to the high-danger areas of late. They’ll need to continue doing so tonight if they’re going to put more than a couple past Mike Smith. Surprisingly, he has been lights out this season. He has saved 12.5 Goals Above Replacement, ranking him 4th in the NHL behind Andrei Vasilevskiy, Connor Hellebuyck, and Marc-Andre Fleury. Go figure. The good news is Edmonton’s in the latter half of a back-to-back, and coming off a couple huge wins vs Winnipeg, so there could be a bit of a let down.

4. Stay out of the box. Edmonton’s power play is disgusting. Even when it’s not clicking, per se, there’s always the possibility of them ripping you apart within 20 seconds on the next opportunity. Edmonton isn’t generating a ton at 5v5 and they’re in a tough schedule spot. Calgary can’t afford to make life easy for them by parading to the box. Keep things 5v5 and you’ll have a real shot.

5. The Bread Man’s heating up. Andrew Mangiapane is playing some of his best hockey right now. He’s two chances off the team lead at 5v5 over the last 10 games and has a ridiculous 62 xGF% during that stretch. He’s spending a lot of the time with the puck in the offensive zone and, when he doesn’t have it, he’s getting it back with relentless pursuit. I think Mangiapane – especially fresh – is going to cause all kinds of problems for the Oilers.

Numbers via NaturalStatTrick.com and MoneyPuck.com
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