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Game 12 fancy stats recap: The kids are coming along, need some seasoning

Taking everything into account, the Flames got pretty outplayed. That said, there were a number of good signs in this game, and they weren't all named Mark Giordano or TJ Brodie.

Awesome. Johnny Hockey.
Awesome. Johnny Hockey.
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

First glance at this game shows it was pretty evenly played. A one goal game, a 30-31 shot count, and both teams got chances. Sure, the Flames blocked an insane number of shots (36, to be exact), but everything else indicates that the game was close and evenly played.

Except it wasn't, not really. The Predators did a far better job at controlling the puck, and had 90 shot attempts to the Flames' 51. Suddenly the game looks a lot less even, and when we visualize it, thanks to HockeyStats, it really stands out:

Game 12 corsi chart

It's not that the Flames had a poor effort themselves - 51 shot attempts is still pretty good, especially for an injured lineup featuring a handful of rookies - but when it came to preventing the Preds from working with the puck, they simply couldn't match up.

And it didn't get prettier as the game went on. Via NaturalStatTrick:

Flames vs Predators - All Situations

Game 12 CF FF All Sit

  • The game just got uglier and uglier as it went on. Keep in mind score effects don't really come into play until the third period, as it took the Flames that long to actually get and maintain a lead. Meanwhile, they trailed for almost half of the second, and still weren't able to do a lot against the Preds.
  • Taking out shot blocking is nicer to the Flames though, which makes sense; they blocked 23 more shots than the Preds did, which is pretty insane. When you're just looking at shots on net and missed shots, the game looks much more even. Not as even as it does with just basic stats, but... evener.
Flames vs Predators - Even Strength

Game 12 CF FF ES

  • Three powerplays in this game, two for the Flames and one for the Preds. Everyone scored. The Flames had a combined 50 seconds with the man advantage, while the Preds actually led in powerplay time with 1:27.
  • So Calgary comes out looking worse in the second, when they were the only team with the man advantage, but better in the third, where the Predators had 1:20 of powerplay time on them in that period alone.
Even Strength Corsi Data

Game 12 ES Flames

  • So, the kids didn't have a super great possession night. Which is fine, they're kids. Michael Ferland and Markus Granlund saw the worst of the evening, although it's possible Ferland's numbers would have been a little better if he'd gotten to play the third - or Granlund's might have been a little worse if Johnny Gaudreau hadn't joined his line. They mostly saw players like Craig Smith and Derek Roy, who form the Preds' second line, so they weren't given super easy competition, either.
  • Speaking of Gaudreau, he had quite a night. He was one of the Flames' best forwards, and it really showed just by watching him; the numbers back it up. Since being scratched he's found his confidence and is really, really coming along. He saw a lot of Shea Weber and Roman Josi, too, so he had to work his way through some quality players.
  • Jiri Hudler was the babysitter of sorts, and although he didn't log as much ice time as Granlund or Gaudreau, he had a slightly tougher night in matchups. He still produced, and while he wasn't one of the best Flames possession-wise, he was far from the worst, especially considering who he spent time with. Great veteran to play with the kids.
  • Quick detour to the dregs, where Brandon Bollig and Brian McGrattan played fewer than nine minutes. Bollig is clearly the better of the two, so if someone is forced to sit for a non-injury-related reason, it should be McGrattan.
  • Lance Bouma, meanwhile, gets far more trust. He had the worst zone starts out of everybody, but came away pretty decent; no doubt his upgrade in linemates helped with that. He still played less than almost everyone else, but at least you can get more than 10 minutes out of the guy, plus some penalty kill time, and have him perform decently enough.
  • Notice how Devin Setoguchi is frequently scratched and Bollig gets to play? Seto got about six and a half minutes more. He got to play in the third period. And he ended up being one of the better Flames, a stronger green in overall possession with more ice time. Maybe being sat for so long is going to help him wake up and realize he needs to be better, but we'll see how long it keeps up, and if he'll be able to stick in the lineup when everyone is healthy.
  • Then there's Paul Byron, who's been forced back in the centre role. And, classic Byron, he was one of the Flames' best possession players, yet again. I know it's frustrating that the guy keeps missing on breakaways, but the fact that he gets those breakaways is a sign he's doing things right. And he managed to be one of the better Flames while seeing a lot of Weber and Josi. He's a good player, and he keeps proving it time and time again.
  • And now, what was somehow the Flames' top line of the night. David Jones played the least of the three, getting about as much ice time as Gaudreau. He faced off against the Preds' top line and top D pairing. He... had a pretty decent night, actually. He was a bit more sheltered than his linemates, but he wasn't terrible.
  • Sean Monahan, meanwhile, clocked in at just under 19 minutes, second in forward ice time. He faced top competition and performed well, especially compared to the rest of the team. Excellent sign. Monahan was a possession trainwreck in his rookie season, but that was his rookie season; if he puts in more games like this, we'll keep seeing more good things from him.
  • Finally, Curtis Glencross played just over 19 minutes, and was easily the best Flames forward when it comes to possession stats. A really good showing from him. He just needs to start putting points on the board, especially if he ends up becoming a trade target later in the season.
  • To defence. Deryk Engelland and Ladislav Smid blocked four shots apiece, so their fenwick stats come out looking a little better, although they're still near the bottom of the team. They faced off primarily against Nashville's third line, and really did not fare well at all.
  • Kris Russell and Dennis Wideman blocked 11 shots over the 22+ minutes they played. They had the most beneficial zone starts, played against the second line, and also did not have the greatest games; that said, they were still better than Engelland and Smid.
  • And then there are our saviours, TJ Brodie and Mark Giordano. Gio blocked five shots, Brodie none. They were the closest Flames to being positive possession players, and when you take out blocked shots, they were positive. And this was over the course of 22 minutes, while playing the toughest competition Nashville had to offer. The Flames have a pretty good work ethic and all, but they'd be significantly worse than the Oilers without these two.
Player Spotlight - Jiri Hudler

I've been singing Hudler's praises about working with the Flames' rookies, and he spent most of this game playing with three of them. Why not take a closer look?

Game 12 Hudler WOWY

  • First off, how friggin' great are Brodie and Giordano? Just... leagues above everyone else.
  • Hudler was used pretty much exclusively with Gaudreau, Granlund, and Ferland.
  • Gaudreau is... really rather good. And it actually looks like he helped Hudler a little, wow. At least in comparison to Ferland.
  • Hudler only spent, like, two minutes at even strength away from Granlund, so that probably explains the dramatic shift in percentages when they were together and when Hudler stepped away from him. Granlund, for the record, only saw a marginal increase in possession stats when separated from Hudler, but it was for so little time; if anything, playing with Granlund in this case may have ultimately hurt Hudler's overall numbers. Which makes sense, because he's a rookie.
  • Hudler spent about as much time with Ferland as he did without, so the numbers here are a bit more balanced and trustworthy. Again, Hudler did better when away from Ferland, but not by an extreme amount. Ferland, meanwhile, was only separated from Hudler for about a minute, and he relied on him to generate any offence towards Nashville's net, so Hudler was helpful in this case. More than anyone else was.

So Hudler with the kids? Looks like that's something that should continue. Not just because of that offensive outburst when placed with Gaudreau, either, although that's a pretty strong testament towards Johnny.