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Lunch Pail Hockey on the Menu — Time to Split Up Top Pairing? — Ritchie

November 21, 2022, 8:17 PM ET [35 Comments]
Trevor Neufeld
Calgary Flames Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Victims of a similar fate of late, the 8-7-2 Calgary Flames are in Philadelphia today to play the 7-7-4 Flyers.

Remember that seven game losing streak the Flames went on between October 29 and November 10th? Well maybe buy the Flyers fan in your life a beer when you can. They’re at game six of their own losing streak. Oddly enough, they started to lose around the same time the Flames started to win again. November 10th marked the last game of the Flames’ slide and the first game of the Flyers’.

The two teams have different reasons for struggling. The Flyers’ reason seems more legitimate.

So Who is Playing Then?
The Flyers are without most of their offensive firepower of late.

Travis Konecny
Scott Laughton
Cam Atkinson
James van Riemsdyk
Sean Couturier
Bobby Brink
Wade Allison
Ryan Ellis

Missing so many players has led to some unfortunate results beyond just the win column.

Since November 10 — Philidelphia Flyers
GF/GP: 2.17 (27th)
GA/GP: 4.50 (30th)
PP%: 10.5% (29th)
PK%: 50% (32nd)

You look at that dismal 50% PK rate and hope the Flames can get some momentum going tonight. Fortunately for Flyers fans, the Flames have been converting powerplays at a 17.7% rate in that same time frame. 17.7% puts the team 25th overall in that category.

Despite putting up bottom feeder stats, any team coached by John Torterella is going to push the opposition to the limit in terms of work ethic. The Flames are far from an assured win, even if the Flyers’ second power play unit features resident enforcer Zach MacEwen.

Time for a Breakup?
The pairing of Noah Hanifin and Rasmus Andersson have been getting out-attempted of late.

Vs. LA Kings — November 14

Noah Hanifin
CF%: 31.03%
HDCF%: 50%

Rasmus Andersson
CF%: 36.67%
HDCF%: 83.33%

Vs. Florida Panthers — November 19

Noah Hanifin
CF%: 33.33%
HDCF%: 33.33%

Rasmus Andersson
CF%: 27.59%
HDCF%: 50%

Not ideal, but the two are usually facing the higher end of the opposing offence. Seeing their shot attempts on ice stats sitting below 50% on the season is surreal.

Flames Defencemen Through 17 Games — 5v5 CF%
Micheal Stone: 62.29
Dennis Gilbert: 62.03
Nikita Zadorov: 61.12
MacKenzie Weegar: 59.60
Chris Tanev: 55.10
Rasmus Andersson: 49.92
Noah Hanifin: 48.58
Connor Mackey: 47.30
Nick DeSimone: 45.05

Flames Defencemen Through 17 Games — 5v5 HDCF%
Micheal Stone: 67.50
Chris Tanev: 59.46
Dennis Gilbert: 58.33
MacKenzie Weegar: 56.64
Nikita Zadorov: 54.08
Rasmus Andersson: 50.00
Nick DeSimone: 46.15
Connor Mackey: 46.15
Noah Hanifin: 45.45

We can see the underlying stats aren’t great for that pairing. We can also see that Nikita Zadorov and Micheal Stone have quietly been having very strong seasons — and that there may be more to Dennis Gilbert than just being a 7th defenceman.

Brett Ritchie
It appeared Brett Ritchie had played himself into Darryl Sutter’s doghouse — although something seemed off about it.

Ten minutes into the second period of Calgary’s 5-4 shootout victory over Florida, Elias Lindholm took a hard, clean hit from Panthers defenceman Radko Gudas.

Luckily, Brett Ritchie was on the ice. The 6’4” 216lb winger mauled Gudas. Eventually pinning him inside the net of Spencer Knight. The two combatants get offsetting roughing minors and Ritchie gets an additional crosschecking penalty. Not the first unnecessary cross checking penalty taken by Brett this season.

As it turns out, Brett Ritchie doesn’t play another shift that game.

The initial prognosis was that he was benched for taking the extra minor while the Flames were defending a one goal lead. A lead they lost on the ensuing penalty kill. One of three leads the Flames blew over the course of the game.

An update today from Pat Steinberg sheds a little light on the situation.


Two undisclosed injuries. The Flames will miss him. Prior to the Saturday’s game, Ritchie had the most hits among forwards despite only playing a hair over ten minutes a night. He also ranked sixth in scoring among that same group with four goals and two assists.

Flames Projected Lineup




Flyers Lineup
Forward lineup courtesy of Olivia Reiner. @ReinerOlivia




Game time is 5:00pm mst. Catch it on Sportsnet in Canada and NBC in the States.

Trevor Neufeld


Stats via naturalstattrick.com and nhl.com.
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