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New Jersey Devils notes:
I thought Nico Hischier played very well. His speed was a factor, he showed a ton of confidence and poise with the puck in the offensive zone, and he generated some really dangerous chances, especially down the stretch when the Devils started to push for the tie. Performances like that should help erase doubt that he can create offense, or drive his own line, without Taylor Hall.
MacKenzie Blackwood was rock solid again. Though the Flames weren't very sharp and didn't muster up a ton of Grade A looks, they still managed to test Blackwood with 35 shots on goal. He stopped 33 of them and looked very comfortable in the process. He did get beat pretty bad by Mark Giordano but that's a point per game, Norris caliber player all alone in front of the net. It happens. As a whole, the start was another big positive.
It's hard to put into words how inept the Devils are offensively right now. The Flames were playing in a back-to-back, three-in-four, and four-in-six situation yet the Devils only generated 20 shots on goal and five high-danger chances. I know they're missing a ton of bodies, and Calgary is a contender, but, man, they're tough to watch right now and there's not much reason to believe things will be any better down the stretch.
Calgary Flames notes:
People will get on the Flames about playing down to their competition and winning by one against a team featuring nine AHLers. I don't think it's that big of a deal. As mentioned previously, it was a big schedule loss for the Flames. Though the scoreline was close, they still outshot the Devils by 15 and nearly doubled them in high-danger chances. This despite sitting on a lead for ~40 minutes and, again, being tired at the end of a road trip. Take the two points, move on, and get ready for Jarome Iginla night.
The top line remains in some kind of funk at 5v5. In upwards of 12 minutes spent as a trio, they were on for only two scoring chances. Two. They didn't give up much at the other end, as Brad Treliving mentioned during an intermission interview, but it's a little concerning how little they're creating. It's Johnny Gaudreau or nothing right now.
Calgary's 4th line was spectacular yet again. It felt like they put the Devils on their heels every time out and, honestly, the numbers back that up. Derek Ryan, Garnet Hathaway and Andrew Mangiapane finished 1, 2, and 3 on the team in Corsi For% and dominated in the chance department.
Oscar Fantenberg and Rasmus Andersson looked very good in their debut as a pairing. In ~12 minutes together, they allowed *checks notes* one shot on goal and zero scoring chances. If the Flames generated literally nothing offensively with them on the ice, you'd still happily take that from the 3rd pairing. But they did. The Flames spent the vast majority of the time on their toes with this duo out there. The ice was always tilted.
I'm not saying I want Juuso Valimaki or Oliver Kylington sitting. It's also important not to overreact to one game. With that said, I thought Fantenberg's shot/chance suppressing ability would nicely compliment Andersson's offensive upside and that was certainly the case in New Jersey. Hopefully it continues moving forward.
Numbers via NaturalStatTrick.com
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