Oh. Oh wow! The Flames played what was definitely their most entertaining game of the season thus far, and it showed. Not just in the win, but the numbers behind the win support what you saw: the Predators had some pretty good chances, but ultimately, it was the Flames who dominated.
Yeah. The Flames dominated a hockey game. | Recap
Both teams kept pace with one another, but about halfway through the game, the Flames really started to take over (courtesy of HockeyStats):
And if we go even deeper (thanks to NaturalStatTrick), we can see that yup, the Flames had this one.
Flames at Predators - All Situations
- That's... actually really impressive. Look at how green the Flames finished. It feels good.
- We got a really even game in the first, but it did feel as the game went on, the Flames started to take over. The Predators looked still in it largely because the chances they were getting were golden, and Karri Ramo made a number of amazing saves to keep the score even.
Flames at Predators - Even Strength
- The one time the Flames fell behind the Preds was the period the Preds had a +2 powerplay advantage.
- Everything after that - the Flames were +2 in powerplays in the second, and +1 in the third. Makes sense that their percentages here weren't as great as in all situations, but that's still a dominant effort.
- Overtime was clean and largely Flames-controlled - we especially saw this with guys like Mark Giordano, TJ Brodie, Jiri Hudler, Sean Monahan, Mikael Backlund, and Paul Byron on the ice - but you can't tell much with just five minutes. Still, good feeling.
Even Strength Corsi Data
- Holy crap. Holy crap. Look at how red Giordano and Brodie's zone starts are. Then look at their Corsi and Fenwick stats - the only reason they aren't a stronger green is because of the (pretty good) performances of forwards who had an easier time than them. True, the Flames' top D pairing was on the lower end of the possession spectrum compared to some of their teammates, but taking it all into context? Wow.
- Look at those who had the stronger zone starts; most notably, Kris Russell and Deryk Engelland. Their possession statistics improved, but they needed a lot of help to get there.
- Rounding out the defence: Dennis Wideman and Ladislav Smid didn't start in the offensive zone as often, but were able to pull some pretty good Corsi statistics (Smid's is better, but his zone starts are more favourable, and he played less). Their Fenwick isn't quite as great, indicating a number of shots that were thrown at the net with them on the ice were blocked.
- High zone start forwards: Matt Stajan, Devin Setoguchi, and Brandon Bollig. You can see Setoguchi in particular really benefited from this, registering the Flames' best possession statistics on the night. Bollig and Stajan, meanwhile, were okay, but a step behind most of the team, as you can see in the Rel columns. If Stajan had better linemates, though, he'd probably look a lot better in the fancy stats department; he did last year.
- Seto's linemates, Monahan and Hudler, had pretty great possession nights without needing sheltered zone starts. Very, very strong game from that entire line, but it's easy to see who the driving forces are.
- Let's look at the red that sticks out in this chart: Johnny Gaudreau, Joe Colborne, and Mason Raymond. They got more favourable zone starts in the third, but before then, they weren't given many shifts in the offensive zone at all. Raymond looks like he can handle it, though.
- What are the Flames doing with Gaudreau? He's not getting a lot of ice time, and he got absolutely crushed in the game. Since opening with 16 minutes of ice time to start the season, Gaudreau's been closer to the bottom of the barrel as far as minutes go. Don't do that to him. If you're not going to play him, send him down. If he's not ready to play at this level, send him down. It's very simple.
- Whoa, what's up with Byron's low zone start? He did a really good job overcoming that. It took a bit, and he might've been on his last legs last season, but Byron's an NHLer. He played the most out of all Flames forwards, too, at 19:39 - fourth out of the entire lineup.
- His linemates, Backlund and Curtis Glencross, fared well. They faced off against the Preds' toughest competition - most notably Shea Weber - and came away positive. Glencross in particular got a noticeable boost from his linemates.
- Lance Bouma, unfortunately, had to leave the game early, but doesn't it look like he fared much better since being moved to the fourth line? It's where he should be.
Player Spotlight - Deryk Engelland
Engelland has a massive contract. He was the Flames' fourth defenceman in this game, playing 19:27. So, when we take an even deeper look into his performance (remember though - just one game, and very limited data!), how'd he do?
- Engelland spent by far most of his time with his defence partner, Russell, who played nearly five more minutes than him. He didn't do quite as well without Russell by his side.
- He spent the next most amount of time with Colborne and Raymond, but his statistics improved away from them; this makes sense, considering how poor their zone starts were for most of the game. Gaudreau rounds out that line with similar results.
- Engelland got a pretty big boost from playing with Backlund. Backlund is one of the team's best possession forwards (even if that wasn't the case this exact game), so it's not unexpected.
- Then there's his linemates, Glencross and Byron. The entire line had a good night. Engelland's night didn't go quite as well when he wasn't sharing the ice with them.
- Finally, there's the Flames' best possession line of the night: Hudler - Monahan - Setoguchi (do you think Hartley might have tried that combination just because of their jersey numbers?). Once again, no surprises: once they were separated from Engelland, Engelland performed worse.
What does this mean? Well, one thing's for certain: Engelland does not sit in the driver's seat. He doesn't create anything, like we saw Backlund and Giordano do in previous player spotlights, and he performs significantly worse when away from those who boosted his numbers. Dropping 30+% is pretty bad. Even with the bigger Russell sample size, he still fell by a fair amount when we take blocked shots into account. He had some pretty decent numbers, largely in part due to his zone starts, but he needed a lot of help along the way.