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Blackhawks vs Flames - Schmancy Stats recap

We breakdown what happened in the game against the Chicago Blackhawks. Also we'll have some more numbers analysis later on today as we examine why the Flames are winning games.

dat moustache tho
dat moustache tho
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
This is going to be a straight-forward breakdown of the game last night. I've got something coming up later that I mentioned last night on the Twitters about the team and how they've been playing. Ari did a fantastic job breaking down the first 20 games, but we're going to go a little deeper into the numbers for it as well.

So, Chicago is a god damn talented team and we got to experience another back to reality game. As you'll see, the Flames relied on special teams to hang in there more than necessary. Couple that with a number of icing calls that helped pad zone starts and you have a very visible example of the weaknesses at even strength that face this team. Yes, we have injuries to key pieces but it's a hard league to play in if you can't produce at ES regularly.

Courtesy of Blackhawks vs Flames - All Situations

  • First period was a fun one, wasn't it? 7:40 into the period we get our first shot on net from Smid. So by 7:50 into the game, it was 10-1 for Chicago on the ol' Corsi chart.
  • You could make a strong case that score effects happened the 12:21 mark as the Flames doubled their shot attempts from 8 to 16 in about 2:30 minutes of play. This is great, I mean it sucks to be down that far in the opening period but they made an effort to battle back and take control.
  • This is predominately because of special teams. The Hawks being penalized so much are legitimately the only reason why they rebounded. They took advantage of dumb decisions and made it work.
  • The second period would be a back and forth battle. The Flames edging the Blackhawks at many points and taking control at times of the play.
  • The final period is arguably one of the more interesting periods of play for the Flames this season. Entering leading 38-35 in Corsi, they continued to out-chance a Chicago team who victimized themselves with penalties.
  • After the Kane goal thanks to a defensive zone breakdown on Jonas Hiller's part, the continued pursuit of drawing even continued until it was too late.
This might be one of the best samples of score effects to learn from for fans. The tenacity and play of a Calgary team to never given is one thing, but to stick it to a team like Chicago at times is interesting. Remember though, this is predominately driven because of the PP.

Blackhawks vs Flames - 5v5 Corsi

  • Same story, Flames are wrecked at even strength/5v5 in the opening frame. The visible flat-lines on the chart are from all the power plays in the game. Chicago was relentless throughout this game and it showed in the play of the game.
  • Chicago continued into the second period with several small intervals of 2-4 attempts on net through the middle of the period. As noted, compared to the all situations chart above; the Flames really relied on penalties to stay in this.
  • Calgary's only great interval of chances was near the end of the period.
I'm not going to break down Fenwick like the Corsi charts above aside from saying it was another game for Calgary being beaten on the Fenwick front. The biggest thing is finding a way around having shots blocked and maximizing shooting lanes/quality shots. Taking advantage of those situations can improve the team's underlying numbers but, I don't see it happening just yet.

Via NaturalStatTrick, let's examine the team ES data along with the period by period data too.

Blackhawks vs Flames - All Situations

  • In comparison with the breakdown below and what we've said so far, you now see the impact of having a hot power play; as well as an abundance of PP time in a game.
  • The visibility of score effects is incredibly prominent in the final period as the Flames in both all and ES situations made a huge push to tie the game again.
  • Calgary was a much better FF% team in the final two periods while Chicago's FF% suffered due to the innate and ingrained culture of shot blocking in Calgary.
  • Thanks to the hot PP, they finished at 56% CF and 54.55% FF which is quite good - albeit the byproduct of special teams.
Blackhawks vs Flames - Even Strength

  • To contrast all of that, what a bag of trash for two periods. We were decimated.
  • Third period's numbers are there because of the late push
  • Finished the game exactly where a team like Calgary is: below average but it's okay. It just means we have opportunities to grow as an organization as the season continues. We have great pieces but we need our youth to continue to grow and we need to get rid of dead weight.
Flames - Corsi ES
  • Obviously the interesting thing is zone starts here. Chicago had a hell of a time icing the puck last night. I counted 8 icings in the game data on So this definitely padded OZS% for the team.
  • I had this sorted by CF% this time to maybe make it easier for people to spot particular players who stood out. It's not a normal thing but it does look pretty.
  • So let's start with the obvious: Raphael Diaz got slaughtered tonight at ES. Best zone starts and still murdered. Why? Well, for some reason he played primarily against Joakim Nordstrom, stray dog eater Daniel Carcillo, and one of my favourite bottom six players Marcus Kruger. Those three cumulatively combined for 25-12 against Diaz on the ice. They were a decent threat on the ice too; but Diaz also played them 16.67% of the time in the OZ.
  • Sean Monahan - strong night again. Albeit OZS% helps a bit but we've seen how strong he is in his own end now too. The icings helped quite a bit. Albeit, when I say "strong night" I mean he came out not below 50%. He didn't fair as well with regards to FF% at 43.75% but this is also a byproduct of the team as a whole.
  • Bravo to Deryk Engelland for coming out with Gio as two of the best last night possession wise. Then again, it's one game. He had a turnover and got through that. He wasn't a trainwreck, I'll give him that.
  • Bollig? Not a trainwreck either.
  • TJ Brodie, strong in the sense that relative to the team he improves them 9.26% in this game. The better the team gets around him, the better he will perform. He is still fantastic.
  • Lance Bouma skated Monahan and Glencross most of the night. He wasn't bad but he doesn't generate chances like a regular top six guy. He's still growing too but he's shaping up to be the right fixture in the Flames bottom six.
  • Wideman played the most at ES than anyone else on the team and was murdered for it. With Hartley maybe trusting him a bit more than he should with zone starts and TOI. He needs to be reined back to 16-18 at ES a night until Kris Russell is healthy OR we improve the pairing.
  • Finally, Sven Baertschi. Tops on the team but TOI is low. He's getting there slowly. He needs more ice time, he needs proper linemates (IE: Keep him with Byron + Jooris but give them more TOI together), and he needs more OZS to help adjust more to the game. He's slowly improving and that's okay.
Player Spotlight - Markus Granlund aka the #SuperiorGranlund

Here is his WOWY data from the game:

  • As usual, played with Johnny Gaudreau and their father figure Jiri Hudler. They had some difficult zone starts and it showed. This line seems to get crushed often but the chemistry is there so it's (hopefully) a matter of time before it starts clicking more and more.
  • Gio and Brodie positively impacted him like they do to basically everyone.
  • Mostly played with the second pairing of Wideman and Ladislav Smid. They were slaughtered as well.
Here is his head to head data against the Blackhawks:

  • The Superior Granlund played predominately against the second line and second pairing. For that, he was thrown to the wolves at times. Patrick Kane is a world class talent and arguably is in the top ten in the league for sheer elite talent. Kris Versteeg is whatever he is now. I'm not sure but it's working for him now. Brad Richards may have lost a step or five through the last few years but he's fitting in slowly with his new team.
  • They clicked and were a more experienced line than Jiri Hudler and his children. That's all there is.
  • Oduya and Hjalmarsson definitely impacted Markus here too as opposed to playing against Keith/Seabrook with limited sample size. That said, Granlund did play against the top line limitedly and didn't do too bad for a small period of time.
Overall, he's getting there. Treliving has praised the emergence in talent in call-ups due to injuries as a good problem to have. He shouldn't be sent down to the AHL when the time comes for difficult decisions. He's proven he can hang in there and given his play, he just needs more and more NHL ice time to really showcase his talents. He's going to struggle at times but you can't complain about the numbers he is putting up now.

Later on, I'll have a novel with lots of data explaining the Flames season so far. It'll touch on points made already along with additional detail to explain why they're above .500 rather than like last year at this time.