Hi friends, as you might have seen I'm back from my trip to Japan in October. It was cool and all that fun stuff but you know what's cooler? When the Flames beat the snot out of the Habs in the Bell Centre by a score of 6-2. What's even better than that you may ask yourself? Seeing a bunch of nerdy numbers to examine the game and get better insight into what happened! I do apologize if there is a hint of jet-lag in this post, I'm not quite 100% adjusted yet.
The Flames played a great first period. That being said, the Habs did bounce back noticeably in periods two and three which we'll examine in detail further down. We rode a power play that went 1/6 although it was generating lots of chances. In all situations, Calgary looked very good and during ES situations the Flames continued for the most part this trend.
Let's take a look at the even strength charts from HockeyStats.ca; here is the even strength Corsi and Fenwick charts at ES to see how well the Flames played last night:
Corsi - Even Strength
As mentioned, great first period and Montreal pushed back in the second and third. The most noticeable interval was a portion of the second period where the Habs had 7 ES Corsi events to the Flames 0. With 39 attempts at ES by the end of the game, it's not a bad showing for the team who are down several veterans who do make a difference. That being said, the kids and the remaining veterans put up a great showing against an elite team who didn't play like one.
It should be noted that at even strength, the Flames did rely on short intervals of attempts in the offensive zone, while in all scenarios they had more consistent pressure due to the PP. The Habs pressure due to score effects (which we'll get to in a moment) eventually lead them out on top in the third with more Corsi events at ES than the Flames.
Fenwick - Even Strength
This reinforces what we've examined so far: strong first period, very good, and a difficult third. Although we're not looking at "quality shot" data and "scoring chance" data as well (though we will try to add them in later this season), Calgary played a pretty great game.
That being said, with the aforementioned push from Montreal in the second and third periods that forced the team to adjust. Score effects plays a huge part on this. Jen LC did a fantastic piece explaining score effects for PuckDaddy and I recommend you check it out here. If you don't feel like reading it, here is the core principle behind it:
The idea behind Score Effects: When a team has a lead of two or more goals in the first or second period or even just one goal in the third period, it tends to protect that lead. Often, the leading team will go into a defensive shell and be much less aggressive offensively. The leading team takes fewer risks in order to avoid giving up a goal. The team trailing in these situations tends to be much more aggressive offensively, taking more risks to score and get back in the game.
Montreal, ES Corsi-wise versus Fenwick is definitely not as glaring due to Calgary's necessity to block shots and limit pucks on net as much as possible. Still, Montreal pushed back more so than in the first, yet Calgary continued to come out on top.
Courtesy of the amazing NaturalStatTrick, we have our period data breaking down Corsi and Fenwick as well:
Flames vs Canadiens - All Situations
- Calgary started to heat up about five minutes into the first period which continued for most of the game as mentioned. By the end of the first period, with the 2-0 lead courtesy of Josh Jooris and Markus Granlund, it appeared as the Flames would start the second doing the same thing.
- The most visible difference you'll see is the effects of shot blocking that impacts the second period for Calgary. It played a huge factor along with the power play.
Flames vs Canadiens - Even Strength
- See? I told you. Montreal's Fenwick was improved. Probably because they got yelled at during the intermission.
- During the third period in all situations, the Habs opened up considerably. They continued a focus on pushing to break the shutout bid and they did right away with Max Pacioretty's goal. The Habs showed up for sure generating more chances than Calgary despite the score. Fortunately the Jooris breakaway PPG helped increase the lead to 4-1.
- PK Subban falling and Mark Giordano's pass to Bouma at the side of net didn't help the Habs' cause either. Even though Lars Eller would clean up the garbage in front of Hiller, it would not be enough. The Habs continued pressure wasn't enough and Giordano putting in the empty net goal was another nail in their coffin. Montreal was easily a better team in the third but they failed to beat Hiller and his shot blocking corps.
Even Strength Corsi Data
- Zone starts played a huge factor in some of these numbers for sure. We're not using zone-adjusted data to showcase players just yet here since we want to ease any readers on the fence about this stuff into it.
- That being said, it's a road game and Hartley had to do what he could to maximize zone starts when he could. That's why Johnny Gaudreau has some very nice numbers. Plus you can't forget Hudler, David Jones, and Sean Monahan as well.
- Jones' numbers may be a bit padded with the amount of time he played with Monahan last night. That being said, he had a good night.
- Giordano and Brodie continued to play tougher competition playing predominately the Habs' top pairing and their top line. So that's why they don't look "super godly" but to examine further with zone adjusted start data, it might tell a different story.
- Sven Baertschi's call up this afternoon warmed hearts of fans since he was a late cut from training camp. He hadn't been performing statistically well in Adirondack and he didn't do too hot either against Montreal. He had a great scoring chance in the first from Paul Byron but other than that he was not super visible. He had tougher zone starts and played predominately on the third line with very low TOI and no PP time.
- Sven deserves an opportunity on the powerplay above Setoguchi for sure. He has great hands and vision, plus he has speed. He has more versatility on the PP and with more ice time than the Gooch.
- Lance Bouma, Brandon Bollig, and Raphael Diaz all had rough nights. Zone starts, ice time, and competition all played factors there.
- Markus only had 13:45 TOI last night including 0:36 of PP time and 0:35 PK time. He was 36% in faceoffs and had the team's second goal of the night.
- With the limited sample size examination within WOWY for one game, he did play quite well with a lot of players with a decent amount of TOI.
- Factoring in Granlund's zone starts as well against an elite team like Montreal is worth noting. Starting 42.86% of the time outside of the OFZ is a great way to gauge how well this young center held up. That being said, playing in tougher minutes with Brodie and Giordano did impact him possession wise a bit.
- However like I had mentioned, we'll soon start adjusting based off zone starts on these recaps.
- Granlund was a bit of a drag on numbers with Brodie and Giordano based off their WOWY data but it's not a concern. But he did do well with others around his age and NHL tenure.
- For example, with a 25% OZS and 4:30 TOI with Gaudreau while on ice they were 60% Corsi at ES which is pretty good for young players. It should be noted that at 8:38 TOI in scenarios with Gaudreau they were also 60% while 55.56% apart with 40% OZS.
- Granlund was the de-facto 2nd line center for the game, so he did by nature face some tougher competition including Subban, Markov, Pacioretty, and Plekanec. All of which impacted possession-wise.