... or should it be, post-post-game? The post-game was going to go live this morning but, as it is wont to do, Real Life™ got in the way.
Which is a shame, because this game deserved post-game glory! Easily the best game the Flames have played this year - which is not saying much, but here at M&G we are blessed with saint-like patience.
Breakdowns by period:
EV shots: 8-2 Calgary
EV Corsi: +3 Calgary
EV shots: 4-4
EV Corsi: +3 Calgary
EV shots: 10-6 Columbus
EV Corsi: +1 Columbus
EV shots: 18-16 Calgary
EV Corsi: +5 Calgary
It was pretty clear that the Flames won the EV battle this game, which delights this fan. They lost the special teams battle in spectacular fashion, which is a bummer, but if you believe in trends and arrows then the uptick in EV should be encouraging.
This game sort of highlights why EV play is so important. Obviously you are not going to score on a 33% clip every game. But, you play most of the game at even strength, and what's more, you and your opponent play the exact same amount of even strength time. So driving results at EV is a sustainable recipe for success. Special teams are also important to success, but occasionally you get games like last night where the fix is in.
Speaking of the fix - I'm not going to be the first Flames fan to bitch about officiating last night but it was a bit rich doncha think? The final PP count was 8-6 Columbus. There isn't a single event that I can point at that screams "refs suck!" but it was just a lot of little things. A couple weak borderline dives by Columbus, a couple uncalled obstructions in the third... it adds up.
What does this mean now? Flames are 6-2-1 and have the highest GF and GA rates in the league - this obviously can't continue but so far, there's nothing low-event about the 09/10 Flames, is there? The unreal shot percentage differential can't continue, but neither can the unreal shot differential. The Flames couldn't afford to give up the points tonight given the comfy schedule, and they came through, both in effort and in results. A nice arrow to add to the season collection.
- Based on who was on the ice during scoring chances, all of Iginla, Jokinen, Regehr and Phaneuf were protected from the Nash line at EV. Iginla made the most of this tonight with a nice pseudo-vintage-Iggy performance. I say "pseudo" because true-vintage-Iggy worked his magic against the Thorntons, Sakics and Nashes of the world. Ah well. If you're a Flames fan this season, the phrase you need to get used to is "baby steps".
- So who did draw most of the Nash assignment? On defence: Bouwmeester and Sarich. On forward: Dawes, Langkow and Bourque. Bouwmeester is amazing - big-minute EV, PP, PK and all against tough comp. The most complete player on the roster in my opinion. Sarich is no slouch either.
- The popular opinion seems to be that the Flames collapsed in the second. It's a little overblown - at EV the Flames looked even with Columbus. They shat the bed on special teams but that's what this team likes to do on occasion. What's a fan to do but shrug, and move on?
- A couple of pretty goals by Phaneuf and Sjostrom. They're getting a little flak because those shots are probably low-percentage. But I'm looking at the plays behind the goals and I'm a bit impressed. On Phaneuf: recognizing the open lane at centre ice and capitalizing on it was a beauty play. Taking the puck behind the net is pretty high-risk though. On Sjostrom: the take on the pass was cheeeee-ky. While it has been pointed out that the goal was weak, a penalty shot was likely if he missed.