Alberta hasn't won a hockey game since I left— SJ (@stace_ofbase) December 17, 2014
Everyone can blame my friend Stace, a member of the amazing Battle of California team on her recent visit to Calgary and then Edmonton for the misfortunes of the Flames. She was up here in Edmonton on the 7th and we all know how the Flames have been since their loss to the Sharks on the 6th.
I figured it might be worthwhile for those who don't care about the underlying numbers to see a quick summary of the not so "fancy stats". That way if you're curious about the other numbers you can scroll down further and see what happened in last night's loss to the New York Rangers.
|Power Plays||1/3 (33%)||1/4 (25%)|
|Faceoff Wins||27 (45%)||33 (55%)|
|Winner||These Dudes||Not these dudes|
Coming into last night's game, the Flames were trending in a downward spiral, the likes we haven't seen all season. Five straight losses going in and a SH% that has plummeted beyond comprehension. Goaltending that has been shaky at best in even strength situations and well, yet better than usual possession numbers. So what gives?
Nothing really, it was expected this would happen. Not in a six game losing streak necessarily, but that the SH% and SV% would dry up and the team would struggle, finding themselves amongst the middle or lower-middle of the pack. The possession numbers may have increased lately but much of it is related to them giving up goals, the other team going into a defensive shell to hold the lead, and the Flames just not getting any luck - if you want to call it that.
Courtesy of Hockeystats.ca we have our visual graphs showing Corsi events in all situations and ES play.
Rangers vs Flames - Corsi All Situations
- You know, when the Flames hold you to a shot attempt (albeit a slow and boring first period for the most part) until 8:12 of the first period, you may need to reconsider your game plan.
- That said, 4 shot attempts total and 1 goal by the Rangers is a damn good way to start. The first period was marked with large swaths of nothing really happening.
- With that all in mind, being down 1-0 marked the Flames actually making attempt ala score effects to draw even although the Kris Russell misplay lead to Chris Kreider's goal may have been an early nail in the Flames coffin.
- The Rangers would start the second period in better form, with the 2-0 lead they would make strides early on to dominate possession for a fair portion of time. The Flames flatlined literally, even that power play that Rick Nash would score a shothanded goal on. They couldn't get anything going.
- The PP late in the second period stood out as one of their better minus the inability to score. Once they gained the zone and established some control, they moved the puck around well only generating a few chances but it worked.
- Perhaps one of the best periods of time in Calgary Flames possession happened in this game. At the 30:09 mark and ending at the 34:52 mark in the second period. In that large spike, the Flames amassed 14 shot attempts on net. Of which counted for the Jiri Hudler goal and they continued. SCORE EFFECTS.
- The third period was marred with more and more chances due to the fleeting concept of maybe trying to try harder. The Rangers adding the empty net goal didn't help matters.
Rangers vs Flames - Corsi Even Strength (5v5)
- The Flames for much of the beginning of the first period were the better even strength team. Though later on, the Rangers battled back to surge well into the second period.
- In that aforementioned interval of shot attempts, 11 of which happened to be at even strength which is a huge step up from the Flames regular play. This time, much like against the Sharks they had stretches like this that. Though the game against the Sharks was much more consistent.
- Of course, it wouldn't be a Flames' third period without some epic increase in the volume of chances. With 10 shot attempts, 4 of which were blocked and 3 registered shots on net. Not bad, but it could be worse.
- This flurry in the third period needs to stop as the Flames spend far too much time trailing. It adds a level of excitement for the fans of course when they battle back but it was just a clear symptom that things would end up this way.
Courtesy of NaturalStatTrick.com, we have our period by period breakdowns and player data.
Rangers vs Flames - All Situations
- Despite being down 2-0, Calgary proved to be a competent team at generating chances but failing to capitalize. Score effects are the hugest factor here.
- Their luck is running out though when you really look at this SH% and SV% over the last few games. Notably as predicted the Flames PDO is regressing back to what may be their norm very quickly.
Rangers vs Flames - Even Strength
- Because of their "quick" start in the first and limiting the Rangers to chances in the latter half of the first, the Flames ended up coming out on top. The score is one story, the underlying numbers being the other details and nuances of this game.
- This may go down as one of the most disappointing losses this season because of how the Flames responded with shot attempts. That said, the SH% and SV% regression all of which many predicted is coming true.
- SH% and SV% combined make up PDO, which is a good temperature gauge of measuring teams' performance. It's not the end-all-be-all, but it's a fantastic way of examining the teams that perform well regularly, teams struggling, and teams performing at unsustainable levels.
- This is a great guide on understanding PDO from January 2013.
- Calgary's PDO from last night's game? 86.7 at ES. Chicago loss? 101.4. Loss to the Penguins? 88.1
- It's a weird thing to see a team coached by AV "defensively shell up" like they did and Calgary did virtually everything possible to try and score more than 2 goals. Henrik Lundqvist, along with Rick Nash are mainly the reasons why the Flames couldn't win. Well that and some disappointing special teams.
Flames - Even Strength Corsi/ Fenwick/ Shots For/ Zone Start Data
- The first thing you'll notice is a heavy sway of offensive zone starts for the Flames. Despite the loss, their persistence allowed them to spend a lot of their starts in the offensive zone. That said, nothing really came of it.
- Of the "toughest" starts, Curtis Glencross, rookie Markus Granlund, and Matt Stajan all started 57.14% of their starts away from the OZ. They fared pretty well much like the majority of the team thanks to the Rangers shelling up at times. That said, they lost 5-2 and if you're looking at this game in a high level view that's all that matters. But we don't like high level views because it's unfairly portraying a different story.
- Lance Bouma had the roughest night of all besides his quick fight with Tanner Glass. He spent the majority of the night facing off against Marc Staal, Kevin Klein, and Matt Hunwick on defense. Forward wise, he faced off against Glass, Kevin Hayes (Johnny Hockey's BFF4EVA), and Masterton winner Dominic Moore. All of which destroyed him possession-wise. 20% CF / 14.29% FF against Klein for example didn't help either. Notably due to the deployment and starts the Flames found themselves in, Bouma had 100% OZS at ES. No excuses. Bad night.
- Paul Byron was the only other Flames player to be an overall negative possession play by way of current underlying numbers. He spent the bulk of the night against Hunwick, Dan Boyle, and Dan Girardi. Only against Matt Hunwick was Byron below 50% CF posting 37.50% FF (3-5). He was predominately successful against the Rangers' fourth line in Jesper Fast, Glass, and Moore with a 71.43% CF and 50% FF at ES on 0% OZS which is fantastic.
- David Jones was the top possession player last night by way of Corsi and Fenwick. Once again the noticeable mention is his SF% metric. The fact that he has spent the last few games being on ice for the majority of the shot being produced (besides defensemen) is something positive here. CF% against the Rangers' top talent like Chris Kreider, Carl Hagelin, Marty St. Louis, and Derek Stepan; he was 100% CF against them. His toughest situations involved Mats Zuccarello (0% CF), Rick Nash (0% CF), and J.T. Miller (33.33% CF) on the top line. Also 0% FF against those three.
- Josh Jooris continues to have some padded numbers thanks to playing with Johnny Gaudreau and Jiri Hudler. The line looks great together but we may need to consider moving the tandem to play with Monahan for the next game. That said, Jooris with Hudler: 74.91% CF/ 58.33% FF but without? 0% on both. Albeit small sample size in the game, but it does happen often enough in previous games.
- The same goes with Gaudreau on this. With: 70.83% CF/ 50% FF, without: 0% CF/FF. I'm optimistic that Jooris can be a potential driver of shot attempts but a lot of the time he is along for the ride.
- Sean Monahan does a lot of little things right. He's made a 360 about 3x already compared to his rookie season too. In particular is his ability to match against tougher competition. Last night he played the top pairing for much of the night going 60% CF/ 60% FF against Girardi and 50% CF / 50% FF against Ryan McDonagh. Not bad.
- He was slaughtered like many against the top line though; yet faired exceptionally well against the rest of the roster. For example: Monahan had 100% CF/ 100% FF against Hates, Boyle, Stepan, St. Louis, Lee Stempniak, Staal, Hagelin, and Kreider. Though a majority of a team was like this too.
- Finally let's end on the positive note of Deryk Engelland last night who at times looked capable and not a human disaster. I counted 2 scoring chances last night that looked decent. Which is on the heels of the game prior when he did something good defensively. His TOI was what it was and he was a drag on possession (and usually is) but his numbers looked good for once because of starts, TOI with team members like Raphael Diaz, and usage.
- Is he great overall? No. Does Diaz help him out? Yes. Should we play Diaz more? Yes. Do we still need help on the blueline? OH GOD YES.
Player Spotlight - Joe Colborne Esq.
The curious case of Joe Colborne is a good one. A guy who has chemistry so it seems with Monahan and yet an abundance of the team flourish without him on the ice. So what gives? Here is his season WOWY located here. It breaks down very simply the following:
- Joe Colborne's individual stats (goals, assists, points, shots, and corsi)
- When on ice together and the underlying numbers like GF20 (Goals For per 20 minutes of play), TOI, GA20, CF20 (Corsi For per 20 minutes of play), CA20, and the CF%
- Colborne when apart from the aforementioned person and the stats above
- The teammate when away from Colborne.
A few key notes about the data from this season:
- Sample size is still a few games short + he was injured. Only 15GP so far.
- TOI is skewed at times
- He has 9 assists, 0 goals :(
So last night was interesting for a one game sample. He's on the top line and he's primarily playing against the top line and top pairing. He was above average against Girardi and McDonagh, but abysmal (like many) against Zuccarello/Nash/Miller. Playing with Dennis Wideman and Kris Russell seemed to have padded him nicely as he was on the ice with they put up 100% CF and FF but was about 45% FF without them on the ice.
From a skill perspective, he's able to put up SOME numbers albeit much of his young career seemed to be derailed due to health injuries. The eye test seems to show he is capable of using his size at times and he has decent hands at times. He is capable of being capable in battles along the boards and carry the puck in at times. Though I feel like we're seeing others carry/dump it in more and using him to retrieve it.
I still think long term he could be a drag on much of the top six forwards on our team possession wise. Plus I don't know what he is. Is he a top six forward who is slowly getting there? Or is he an optimal third/fourth line guy who can put in 20-30 points a year no problem? The organization wants him to be like David Backes but I don't see it yet. He doesn't play at all. It's still early on and I'm sure my opinion will be more settled by the end of the season.