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Flames Numbers Recap - Games One and Two

The first two games quickly examined on a high level when it comes to those fancy stats all the kids are talking about.

Chris LaFrance-USA TODAY Sports

Part of the focus on Matchsticks this season is to implement more stats discussion into the site. We definitely want to make it a focus of sharing what information is available to better help the user experience and to showcase the team in another perspective. You'll see it pop up on articles but we'll keep the bulk of it at times to these recaps when possible. This year is a big year when it comes to the rebuild and the strong play of Mark Giordano, TJ Brodie, Mikael Backlund, and Sean Monahan are going to be focal points moving forward. The first three are definitely a trio of players that when on the ice together, the Flames perform exponentially better. I'll admit that these will look better and get better as the season goes on as I wrote this in the wee hours of the morning before I fly out to Japan.

Let's get started with the first game of the season where the Flames fell 4-2. Recap is here.

Flames vs Canucks - All Situations

  • Outplayed and out-chanced for the majority of the game.
  • We never really got anything going on the powerplay; including our 5-3.
  • The Canucks looked like a very familiar foe in the sense that they're back to playing the same style pre-Torts.
  • Lower touch/possession guys like McGrattan, Bollig, Engelland, and Smid impacted these numbers. The biggest issue is balancing the workload appropriately but with a less than stellar roster, periods like this will happen all season.
  • Pace of game continued in all situations until the third period when the Flames finally woke up. 3/4s of the way into the final frame. However it was too late.
Flames vs Canucks - Even Strength

  • See EVERYTHING ABOVE IN THE ALL SITUATIONS SECTION!
  • Due to the increase in performance in the third period, you can see that we weren't great but we weren't as bad as expected (which matches the section above to an extent).
  • The resurgence in even strength play took off right after a defensive zone win by Joe Colborne which lead to a huge increase of shot events after.
Even strength Corsi Data

  • Mark Giordano and TJ Brodie had a great night despite the loss. They did have a couple of miscommunications on ice in the game that lead to scoring chances and a goal against. They benefited from some additional offensive zone starts overall but were responsible in their own end for the majority of the game. That being said, they're godly.
  • Russell despite having some fantastic zone entries in the game and attempts to generate scoring chances did have a rough night at even strength due to playing with Deryk Engelland predominantly. The pairing did play 12:20 together total in the game. We'll get to some WOWY data here further down.
  • To continue with Engelland, yeesh. He looked sluggish last night and didn't really do much for the team. It looks like Russell was really being brought down by him. Zone starts weren't too bad, he's just not a great guy at driving possession.
  • Johnny Gaudreau had a really okay evening. Which is good, he's a young man learning the game at this level still. It just means that we need to be aware of this and accept it. I saw lots of fans commenting on how "invisible" he was during the game until the third period.
  • It didn't help that his TOI took a hit for awhile due to some Hartley-ing. He did have a great third period though.
  • Wideman was awful. Just awful. He was bad in his own zone which lead to a goal. The Burrows hit ruined him and I'm fairly certain it nearly killed him. His inability to make smart decisions on the ice was a huge reason behind the team having issues.
Player Spotlight - Mark Giordano's Impact


When examining WOWY data, one of the most crucial things is examining sample size - more importantly TOI. Gio's ability to improve just about everyone around him in relatively short and/or realistic time frames during a game is arguably the most prominent reason he was in consideration for the Norris last season. It's also a reason why he's often regarded as one of the most underrated defensemen in the last few years. With age, Giordano has improved and within the rebuild, he's risen to prominence as being one core reason why Calgary won games last year.
  • Visibly the Brodidano pairing is the upper echelon of pairings in the league. Fenwick wise (shots on net and missed shots), the pairing manage to generate 16 events which topped the team in this game. 11 of which were registered shots. Once again, tops when with GIo.
  • Mikael Backlund is great. I know people expect more from him points wise but he is just great overall. Put him out there with the Brodidano pairing and the Flames improve immediately.
  • The impact of small sample size on WOWY especially within one game can be ignored. I mean if you look at 0:43 of TOI with Engelland as a big win -- it's not sadly. Long term throughout the season as we collect and examine data, it can be worth examining. All that matters now is that our captain does a magnificent job on the ice.
We can sit here and go through everySingleArticleRecentlyWritten about how Gio is the lifeblood of this team. I'm really excited to continue observing his impact on the ice, especially if he stays healthy. It's possible for him to build on the success of last year's campaign and strongly jump into the Norris consideration again.


Game Two: 4-2 Win over the Oilers


I can't even begin to comprehend HOW the Flames won in this game. Oh right his name is Karri Ramo. The Oilers outplayed the Flames after the minute burst of two goals in the first period. The last time the Flames provided a really dominant attack in the game was late in the third period when they eventually took the lead again. As you'll see, every player had a less then stellar. Wideman and Brian McGrattan were scratched for Diaz and David Jones. Based off how boorish Wideman played in the home opener, I don't blame Hartley for sitting him. Rafa is a way more suitable option in the second pairing and Jones is a better bottom six player than McGrattan.

Flames v Oilers - All Situations

  • This game was a tire fire. The first four minutes of the game provided to be the closet the Flames would come much of the game possession wise. After scoring two quick goals in a minute and doing a number to the crowd, the tire fire would continue. The Flames inability to gain the zone, create opportunities, and get lines matched properly didn't help either.
  • The Oilers basically played the kind of hockey that a lot of people assumed they could. The Flames played exactly like how many people expected them to.
  • The Flames at times looked like gaining the zone was hard. One example was David Jones' inability to have a proper zone entry and skating into a group of people instead of giving it to Backlund to create a potential scoring chance.
  • The only time we managed to get remotely close in this game was in the last half of the third period when we started generating attempts on net and looking okay again. Exact same case as last night
Flames v Oilers - Even Strength

  • Just awful.
Even Strength Corsi Data

  • Raphael Rafa Diaz was much better than a chunk of the blueline however he had just shy of 14 minutes of TOI. If Hartley had played Diaz a bit more, there is a possibility that the Flames could have done better at even strength.
  • Mason Raymond might have scored three goals (I mean two in reality because I still can't see the tip on that first goal) and got the team going in the third but he did get killed on a high level view. He was one of few Flames who had a slightly higher OZS in the game.
  • Monahan had a good night relative to everyone else. The preseason along with the two games so far this season have shown a jump in his game. Is it sustainable? No idea. Hopefully! Is it going to get better with time? Maybe! We can't send him down now if it does regress.
  • Everyone had a rough night. Corsi Rel looked good on players but it's game two -- sample size!
  • We got hammered on zone starts.
I'm not doing a player spotlight for this game. It was just a bad game to watch and writing about this game any more than I have to is incredibly hard. These will continue all season and be a focal point throughout the season as we look at the team as a whole. The big thing to stress is it's two games in so don't get too excited unless it's Gio/Brodie/Backlund related.