Here is a great example of why teams like the Kings whose ability to control the game are capable teams. They're able in most cases to dress four full lines that will find a way to generate chances, overwhelming shot attempts, and find ways to make plays happen.
This is also a great example of a game in which luck for the Calgary Flames appeared to have ran out. They've gotten lucky all season riding unfathomably logical numbers in terms of shooting percentage, save percentage, and trying to beat the odds of possession.
At the end of the day, this game had a volume of fundamental flaws on the ice (because I watched the game like everyone else) that directly translate to the numbers below. Turnovers leading to scoring chances, shot attempts, zone time, and just about everything else. The inability to stay in the Kings zone and generate stable volumes of shot attempts. It had it all.
- In terms of actual shot attempts, nothing ever ended up being in their favor. Despite scoring those two quick goals and catching the Kings briefly sleeping in the second period; the Flames were still outplayed in every sense of the game.
- Los Angeles is a team much like Chicago and Boston (from a season or two ago) whose ability to literally say you're not going to win this game -- then shut you down and relentlessly pummel you is something to aspire for. That's the type of play you want to see from your team.
- The Kings managed to continue a consistent pace regardless of the score and it paid off. Jonas Hiller being sick didn't help the situation at all. You have to wonder and question the decision to start a goalie who isn't 100%.
5 v 5 Corsi Events - Even Strength (Unadjusted) via HockeyStats.ca
- In terms of shot volumes, this is a scary example of why Calgary is not a playoff bound team. When you only manage nine shot attempts to 26 against in a period: you're probably not finished your rebuild yet.
- During the very limited interval of shot attempts that started with the David Jones PPG, the Flames quickly took advantage of some poor play and decisions by the Kings. Mason Raymond scoring despite whatever accidental contact Jonathan Quick had thanks to his teammate Jamie McBain didn't influence it that much.
- From there, the Flames only managed one more acceptable burst of attempts before the Kings went back to finding and solving Hiller. By the end of the period, it would be a tie game.
- The Kings didn't stop. Plain and simple. They were in every ounce of the word relentless in proving they were the superior team. Luck can literally only take you so far and last night the luck ran out.
- Of the two ES goals the Flames scored, one being in close on Quick and the other being in the middle slot. You can include the David Jones PPG goal in that high scoring area as well. Beyond that, the inability to enter the Kings zone consistently killed them.
- In terms of shot placement, only a handful really seem to end up in optimal shooting locations. A bulk of the shot attempts in the middle and low slot are blocked. Limited to literally only six shots from the high circle or point locations, the Flames spent their time trying to solve Quick in close.
- Without TJ Brodie and Mark Giordano this would have been a whole lot worse. The necessity of having them on the team, driving shot attempts, and playing in the toughest of situations continues to be one of the only positives from this game. This team more or less is a 25% CF ES team last night if it's not for them.
- Mikael Backlund may have been the top forward in terms of possession but like the team, he had some struggles.. Forced to play againt the likes of Drew Doughty (10:10 TOI against), Marian Gaborik (8:44), and Anze Kopitar (9:13) he didn't do well against the three elite players. His deployment varied in terms of zone starts. He managed to find success against the Kings' bottom lines and pairings like Jordan Nolan (100% CF/FF at 3:00 TOI against), Nick Shore (100% CF at 2:57 TOI), and Brayden McNabb (75% CF/100% FF at 1:33 TOI against). Though, all of those are typically low sample sizes.
- Piggybacking on the success of Backlund, David Jones wasn't completely terrible. He like the rest of the team struggled against 95% of the Kings and found semi-limited success against Tyler Toffoli hero of the game, Dwight King, and Jordan Nolan. Beyond that, the strongest positive was of course that tip for his tenth goal of the season.
- Jiri Hudler had a pretty non-existent night. I feel like the Kings did a pretty good job of keeping the primary scoring threats of the team limited. Optimally Hudler faired well against unusual samples like Robyn Regehr (61.54% CF / 55.56% FF - 6:26 TOI), Jarret Stoll (71.43% CF / 66.67% FF - 4:28), and Justin Williams (83.33% CF / 100% FF - 3:35). That said, 23% CF against Jeff Carter, 21.43% CF against Dwight King, and 38.46% CF against Jake Muzzin are less than stellar match-ups.
- Joe Colborne was relegated to disparity with Paul Byron and pugilist Brandon Bollig. Why Bollig why. Then again I'm still trying to comprehend how David Wolf on the fourth line over Bollig couldn't happen. That would have given the Flames four capable lines and maybe it could have made a difference.
- Mason Raymond put up some goals last night and he was given some ample ice time to go with it. Despite the success offensively, he was butchered in terms of playing against the Kings. The only success he had at ES was against Kyle Clifford and Nolan. It should be noted that in the less than one minute against them he was able to score. Everyone else seemingly was a scale of 20% CF against Dustin Brown to 44.44% CF against Regehr and Matt Greene. Overall the entire roster of the Kings found consistency against everyone.
- Deryk Engelland - human disaster. That's all.
- Johnny Gaudreau had a limited and underwhelming evening. That said, he's a rookie and not every night will be perfect. Was he the worst player on the ice last night? No. Did he try to make things happen? Yes. All that aside. Gaudreau had some success against guys like Dustin Brown and Williams. Though he struggled against varying scales of TOI against the likes of Gaborik, Kopitar, Nolan, and McNabb.
Player Spotlight - TJ Brodie
As I've touched on above, Brodie and Giordano are the wondertwins that keep things going. Their possession numbers this season are a bit down in comparison to last season. That said, last night the Flames would have been worse without the two. In particularly, we're going to highlight Brodie.
- His immediate impact on Wideman and their shared TOI seem to come from being stuck together post-power play and on poor line changes. In 2:15 together, of two shot attempts total it helped Brodie a bit. That said it's a small sample size from a single game that has no direct value to Brodie or Wideman's play.
- Backlund benefited immensely from Brodie last night. Backlund with Brodie was 55.56% CF / 45.45% FF at 9:42 together. Without? 31.25% CF and 25% FF. Huge boost.
- The same can be said about Hudler. With Brodie he was 53.85% CF / 37.5% FF. Without he was 28.57% CF and 25% FF.
- A final example of this boost from the ability that Brodie has in improving players around him is with Curtis Glencross. Glencross with Brodie resulted in 50% CF and 55.56% FF but without Glencross was 16% CF and 17.65% FF.
- Matt Greene was 38.46% CF and 44.44% FF against Brodie last night. Without Brodie on the ice, Matt Greene of all people was 78.95% CF and 78.57% FF. Yes, that's correct. That's also with 50% offensive zone starts as well.
- Dustin Brown against Brodie? 37.5% CF and 16.67% FF. Without Brodie on the ice? 72.73% CF and 84.62% FF. This also came with 6:27 on the ice against each other.
- Marian Gaborik against Brodie? 46.67% CF and 55.56% FF. Without Brodie? Gaborik ran wild and untamed at 88.24% CF and 81.82% FF.
Go through the rest of the data via the links in this post at your leisure, take the time to look at the impact that Brodie, Giordano, Backlund, and co have on the team. With the NHL adding these sorts of metrics and numbers to the site on February 20th, the league is transitioning into a league that respects the want to see data. This is the future of the league in a lot of ways and we should embrace change.