Give it up for Hudler though who had one of heck of a game last night. With 10 goals and 10 assists on the season, the fatherly veteran forward is helping nurture and assist in the development of our youth yet again this season. With the emergence of Sean Monahan this season (so far), it's optimistic that next season Johnny Gaudreau and Markus Granlund can make the same strides Monahan has this season.
That said, the continued issues of possession at even strength stand out as a topic of discussion about the Flames this season. On the TSN Analytics Podcast from the weekend, Travis Yost added to the conversation again about the track record of teams like the Flames. The comparisons of the Toronto Maple Leafs (2013) and Colorado Avalanche (2013) continue to mount up. Those are fair comparisons and justly so. That said Toronto has improved this season slightly although Colorado as many predicted have regressed.
Onto last night's game though starting with the standard possession charts from Hockeystats.ca
- The first minute of play in opening period may have been the best start I've seen from this team in the last five or six games.
- The teams continued at neck and neck pace with opportunities until the late penalties. That's when San Jose really opened up and took an edge in possession heading into the second period.
- The second period is convincing a possession victory for the Sharks. The penalty troubles allowed the Sharks to dominate the game. Fortunately Karri Ramo was there to keep the Flames in the game
- The only interval of play in the second worth noting for the Flames would be the around the 35:00 mark which lead to the first goal of the game. They would trend up a bit more but not enough to even consider this game close
- The third is just a disaster possession wise. The team clearly prepared to shell up and protect the lead as the VERY VISIBLE display of score effects kicked in. San Jose did everything possible at times to try and solve Ramo but it wouldn't work out.
- First period was essentially the same as in all situations. Nothing more notable.
- Two solid intervals of shot attempts in the second just after the 25:00 mark and near the end of the period.
- Final period made me talk to my therapist about the PTSD I suffer from after watching this club.
Flames vs Sharks - Period Breakdown Data courtesy of NaturalStatTrick:
Flames vs Sharks - All
Flames vs Sharks - ES
Flames - Even Strength - Corsi, Fenwick, and OZS%
- Brandon Bollig somehow came out at 50% with 0% OZS. One is going to assume it has something strikingly similar to Sven Baertschi's numbers, Raphael Diaz, and Ladislav Smid. All of them were given difficult starts and limited ice time but did well. Which is weird to see. Give them a bit more but within reason and compliment them with the right players.
- Monahan had a rough night. A few big giveaways and a bit too much ES TOI attributed to a lot behind his numbers. He had some of his most difficult zone starts of the season and we saw him pay for it. Sophomore season and you don't expect him to be put out there in those situations but he is. It's one bad game but let's see how he rebounds.
- Curtis Glencross had the worst night of all. Playing on that top-line with David Jones too and they didn't generate much. Instead they had the toughest competition and did not succeed in possession numbers.
- The second pairing of Kris Russell and Dennis Wideman was not good. Russell is a great 4/5 but paired with Wideman doesn't yield the right support for Brodie and Giordano. If we can find an option (say Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Scott Harrington) for the right price, it may be best to adjust the blueline that way.
- So that would give us: Gio - Brodie, Wideman - Harrington, and Russell - Engelland/Diaz/Smid in theory.
- The second line of Johnny Gaudreau, Hudler, and Granlund has been good but last night may have been one of Granlund's worst games numbers wise. He's getting there but with 16.67% OZS it's honestly not fair to put him out there like that.
- Gaudreau had a great game driving play and creating chances from his zone entries though. He needs to slow down play a bit more and think things through a bit further but he's getting there. The best moments he has are when he is in control, confident, and a bit slower with his decisions. Allowing the opponent to come to him and dangling around him or finding the right pass is what he excels at so far; along with zone entries and his fearlessness.
- Hudler had one of his best games of the season when you factor in zone starts. His goal and the empty net goal capped off a great evening.