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Flames vs. Canucks Stats Recap: Well, it started out nice

The superstars falter against Vancouver again, Michael Frolik is pretty good, and Brett Kulak impressed in his (real) NHL debut. Here's what the stats told us about last night's embarrassment.

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

You sure said it, Bob.

Corsi charts, all via HockeyStats.ca.

All situations:

It's kind of hard to pinpoint exactly where things went wrong, though that big flatline in the first period is probably a good place to start. Before that, the Flames were able to sustain pressure, and refused the Canucks any wiggle room (that big spike for Vancouver early on is a 5v4 situation).

After that flatline? Shot attempts are mostly scattered and individual. Nothing really seemed to click for the Flames offensively. Even with the eye-test, Vancouver didn't really do anything impressive on offence, but defensively, they shut Calgary down.

5v5:

5v5, the Flames didn't look all that bad. However, that's not very comforting when you remember that Vancouver scored all five goals at 5v5. Vancouver did get away from them early, but the Flames kept the corsi close towards the end...

Score-adjusted 5v5:

...probably because they were trailing for nearly the entire game. The third period bravado didn't show up in the opener. Even though that was Calgary's best corsi period, it was also Vancouver's. Maybe teams finally learned that the Flames are something to reckon with in the third, and sitting on 3-1 score may not exactly hold.

Individual corsi chart, via NaturalStatTrick:

Player CF% All CF% ES
Brett Kulak 63.33% 63.33%
Michael Frolik 52.78% 56.67%
Lance Bouma 45.16% 56.00%
Deryk Engelland 51.35% 55.88%
Mikael Backlund 48.39% 55.56%
Sam Bennett 54.17% 52.38%
Josh Jooris 50.00% 52.17%
Micheal Ferland 50.00% 50.00%
Matt Stajan 43.33% 48.00%
Dennis Wideman 40.00% 47.06%
David Jones 46.67% 46.67%
Brandon Bollig 46.15% 46.15%
Dougie Hamilton 46.67% 45.71%
Mark Giordano 41.46% 43.33%
Jiri Hudler 50.00% 42.86%
Kris Russell 37.50% 42.50%
Johnny Gaudreau 40.00% 37.93%
Sean Monahan 35.48% 36.00%

Player spotlight: Brett Kulak

Being the unknown commodity of the first game, why not take a look at Kulak, especially considering he absolutely killed it? He made Deryk Engelland look serviceable! The two had a 60% CF together. When separate, Kulak had 80% CF, and Engelland had 33%. Yes, they were sheltered (62.50% OZS), but that's pretty much what you want out of a third pairing: guys who can keep offensive pressure with easy starts while the more capable defenders take the defensive shifts. But it wouldn't be Hartley if he didn't restrict Kulak to almost 14 minutes on the ice.

The good:

  • Michael Frolik took almost every Canuck but four to the cleaners, including the Sedin twins. At evens, Frolik had a 70% CF against Daniel, and a 69.23% against Henrik. No clue on why Adam Cracknell killed him.

The bad:

  • Remember back in 2013-14 when Mikael Backlund was on the fourth line for no reason? Well that happened again, despite him being one of the top corsi producers. He was on ice for three goals against, which probably demoted him to Bollig and Bouma duty.
  • Despite Sam Bennett and Josh Jooris being positive CF Rel players, their success is kind of minor considering they started in the offensive zone 90% of the time. The third line did bully some of the Canucks bottom six players, dominating against Christopher Tanev, Alexander Edler, Jared McCann, Jannik Hansen, and Alexandre Burrows, but fell flat against most other players.
  • It's nice to see Sven Baertschi finally look like a 13th overall pick. He had a 66.67% CF, and generally looked dominant against.... the Flames? He doesn't play for us anymore? Why not?

The ugly:

  • Oh goodness, that first line. Sean Monahan managed to get killed by Derek Dorsett (0 CF, 7 CA in 1:43 of 5v5 icetime together, 0% OZS), Luca Sbisa (1 CF, 11 CA, 3:09, 20% OZS), and Ben Hutton (1 CF, 10 CA, 3:04, 42.86 OZS). Regardless of zone start, you'd figure Monahan might kill these guys. That didn't happen.
  • Johnny Gaudreau flatlined against Dorsett (7 CA), Brandon Prust (4 CA), and Cracknell (8 CA), while Jiri Hudler did poorly against the same players. Remember that this line only found success against the Canucks once in last year's playoff series (game six), so maybe this is an isolated thing. I hope so.
  • Like the top forwards, the top defenders didn't do well. Dougie Hamilton and Mark Giordano were given easy assignments, but both got absolutely killed in corsi (46.67% for Dougie, 41.46% for Gio). When you remember that these are two of the best defencemen in the game, it's kind of concerning.
  • And, surprise surprise, the worst corsi performers of the night are Kris Russell and Dennis Wideman. Even Sportsnet, who have usually beat their drums, were negative about the two tonight:
    Fun fact: after showing this infographic, Dennis Wideman scored an own-goal.

    Together, they combined for a 36.84 CF%, despite starting half of their shifts in the offensive zone. It's certainly time to break up this pairing. Although he only played 100 seconds without Russell, Wideman posted a 100 CF% at evens away from #4.

    Wideman's stats are generally better away from Russell. We can only hope T.J. Brodie returns to the lineup soon.

Moving forward:

Well, it's game one, so there's no need to CUT EVERYBODY panic. Hartley played with his lines after the Flames were down by a significant margin, so we're probably going to see something new in Vancouver on Saturday. I really hope Ferland-Bennett-Jooris stays together, should the left winger on that line get more ice time. The first line needs to remember who they are (a loving family) and remember who the Canucks are (trash from the Hell planet), and hopefully we'll see the score flipped.