Remember when they said a road trip would be all the Flames need to get back into the groove of things? Yeah, about that...
As always, from hockeystats.ca
The Rangers game wasn't as bad as the score says it was. At the very least, you could argue that the Flames kept pace for most of the game, even as they started trailing. Once again, the failure lies in the fact that they pretty much kept the possession even when they needed it more than the Rangers did.
And it wasn't even a contest in the Islanders game. The Flames led in corsi for probably about thirty seconds, and that all happened within the first three minutes of the game.
And here's where we can see what's really killing the Flames. Throughout the season so far, the Flames have been around even or better than their opponents on the 5v5. This is because of penalties, which have been absolutely back breaking. The team was notable for their discipline last year, which translated to extra opportunities to score while reducing opportunities against. With that gone, the Flames' chances evaporate.
It also doesn't help that their special teams have been complete ass this year, but that's an issue for later.
Score adjusted 5v5:
Even more befuddling about the Rangers game is that the Flames also won the 5v5 score adjusted battle. The Flames should've certainly kept this game closer than it was. Defensive errors killed them.
Goals are in red. Misses are in black. Blocks are in green. Saves are in blue. Rush attempts are larger and italicized. Rebound attempts are larger.
This is more evident in the Islanders game than the Rangers game, but it's pretty clear the Flames have a problem getting shots in the danger areas. They are also unable to stop shots in their own zone. Just look at how close the Rangers are able to get to the net, or how many shots the Islanders get within the home plate area. Then compare it to the Flames, who will prefer to shoot from the blueline and the top half of the faceoff circles instead, and in small volumes. Also not preferable to have almost all of your offence come from the left side, a problem plaguing the team since last year.
|RANGERS||CF% All||OZS% All||CF% EV||OZS% EV|
|ISLANDERS||CF% All||OZS% All||CF% EV||OZS% EV|
Let's take a look at call-up Derek Grant, who has played relatively well in his short time here. Against the Rangers, he was below 50CF%, but got some brutal assignments. Against the Islanders, he received less tough assignments, and was one of the best corsi players for the Flames. I know the Flames already have tons of centre depth already, but one more surely doesn't hurt. It'd be interesting to see him on the wing. There's a certain left winger I know we'd all love to be without.
- David Jones is absolutely killing it, but only getting 10-13 minutes per night. There's a reason he's only one of three forwards to have more than one goal on this team (sad stat alert), and there's also a reason why the Flames are struggling on offence. Jones is a guy who has been producing. It might be worth it to take him away from Stajan and Bollig (more the latter than the former) and place him beside Backlund or Grant to get something else going.
- I'll come out and say it right now: Dougie Hamilton has been underwhelming. However, he is still driving play, and that's the first step towards production. His PDO currently sits at an 89.3, with a 71.4 against the Rangers and a 62.5 against the Islanders. Those are not normal numbers, and his luck will likely rebound. Criticize him now, but you'll be loving him later.
- Where is the consistency on this team? Sean Monahan is 2nd in EV CF% against the Rangers, and the worst against the Islanders. Bennett, who was given easier zone starts against the Islanders but feel flat on his face. Ditto for Wideman. It's an overplayed narrative, but the team has to be more consistent possession wise. Despite the scores of each game, they played the Rangers like they played the Red Wings, and has similar possession results. That needs to continue, not good old Hartley Hockey.
- Frolik has suddenly started to slide down the corsi rankings, which makes no sense considering he's with Mikael Backlund, possession godking. He's even dragging Backlund down, which is not very good. Maybe switching him up with Jones might actually do something.
- Wanna know what remains consistent? Kris Russell and Deryk Engelland, who are still bad.
Bonus question: What is to be done about the goalie situation?
Joni Ortio didn't get it done. Despite two solid periods, he fell apart in the third, like Hiller did against the Rangers. Of course, all of these issues stem from poor defensive play and the inability to control the puck with some regularity, but we still need a starter in Ottawa. Who's it going to be?
As I just mentioned, the Flames are in Ottawa to take on the Senators at 5:30. Hopefully, there will be some personnel considerations made, and the Flames look totally new for the next game. Hopefully.