The Flames hadn't beat the Penguins since Sidney Crosby was a rookie, which was ten years ago. This is mostly due to the fact that the Pens have become one of the best, most consistent teams in the league while the Flames have done the exact opposite of that. Last night, the Flames came out on top by a significant margin. Surprising, considering the Flames have been hot garbage this season while the Penguins had won six in a row prior to. How did it happen? Keep reading.
As always, from hockeystats.ca
The Flames completely dominated Pittsburgh in the first twenty, and it turned out to be all they needed to win the game. The best segment of that first period is the Pittsburgh flatline, lasting from 4:06 to 10:26. Why is it so nice? Only two minutes of that flatline were spent on the powerplay.For about four minutes of game time, the Flames stifled the biggest stars in hockey. Wow.
Though it must be said that special teams certainly did help the Flames tonight, especially in the first period where the Penguins took three penalties. If you want positives, look to the second period, where the Flames were pretty much neck-and-neck with the Penguins. Again, considering who plays for the Penguins, this is not a bad result.
5v5 Score Adjusted:
That big gap on the 5v5 is much less pronounced when you remember that the Penguins were trailing by two when the third period started. Hooray for score effects, but the Flames still somehow lose this corsi battle (though it brings up their 5v5SA corsi for the whole season, somehow).
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.
Look at the nice things that happen when you get close to the net! In all situations, the Flames had eight more scoring chances by WOI's count, and six more high danger chances. That's what gets goals, and also what prevents them. The less you let your opponent into the danger zones, the better.
Individual corsi chart:
|CF% All||OZS% All||CF% EV||OZS% EV|
- That top line! Wowza. Hartley weighed his odds, and correctly bet that the offensive firepower provided by Hudreaunehan is worth much more than their defensive value, which is not a lot. Sheltering them is nice, especially when...
- ... you've got a whole other line to take their defensive responsibilities. Frolik-Backlund-Bennett (Benliklund? Frolundlett? These sound like names of Danish lakes) did work last night, which is why two out of those three were awarded stars for their efforts.
- Another weird bet Hartley made was to start Colborne-Stajan-Jones against Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Phil Kessell often, and primarily in the defensive zone. I don't know if it was confidence, or if he was trying to recreate the Vancouver playoff series, but it worked, only allowing one goal against (the best first line scoring one goal against one of the NHL's most so-so third line is very good).
- This defence is getting more confusing by the day. TJ Brodie was flying out there, but he was killed possession wise. Dennis Wideman looked poor by the eye test, but remained above the water with possession.
- Brodie certainly didn't have his best night on the ice. With Giordano, their corsi was 45.83%. Gio apart was 90.00%, while Brodie apart was 33.33%. Certainly an outlier game, but yikes.
- I guess you could say the fourth line did pretty poorly, but they weren't given significant ice time, so no real issue there.
Statistical anomaly of the night:
If you've read enough of these, you would know that I absolutely loathe Kris Russell as a hockey player. He and Dougie Hamilton shut down Sidney Crosby tonight. Crosby faced that pairing the most, and could only post a 48.48CF% against Russell, and a 46.15CF% against Hamilton. He was 58.33CF% and a 57.89CF% away from them. Russell was also on the ice for three goals with Crosby on the ice. I don't even know anymore.
Unscientific chart of the night:
Source: me (and also the Flames' website)
The Flames face the Florida Panthers, another hub of young talent and a loveable Czech winger. The Panthers are the absolute worst at HDSC +/- at 5v5, with a -45. The Flames are substantially better at that (+4), and as we saw in last night's game, that's a very good thing for the Flames. Let's hope they can pull it off.