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Calgary Flames vs Boston Bruins stats recap: Just look at what the Flames can do without Brandon Bollig

I mean, I'm sure he's a nice guy and all, but when it comes to playing hockey, Bollig's not a good option.

See Paul Byron. See Paul Byron hang out with top players. Good job, Paul Byron.
See Paul Byron. See Paul Byron hang out with top players. Good job, Paul Byron.
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

If you don't love the Calgary Flames, your life is devoid of joy. This team and the way they win games is just plain silly, and also the best. The Flames are the best. They're lucky as heck to be where they are right now, but give them credit: they are where they are right now, and it's a real nice spot to be in.

Although it is a legitimate concern to wonder if they can keep it up. Last night, at least, the Boston Bruins were the better team... but it was really, really close. Here's the all situations corsi chart, via


Boston had the lead all game. At points, the Flames tied them, only for Boston to take the puck back and continue directing it towards the Flames' net. Looking at the 5 v 5 score adjusted corsi chart doesn't make things better, either:


Here, the gap is much larger, and that's with the Flames clawing their way back.

There's another chart we can look at, though: 5 v 5 even strength scoring chances, courtesy of War on Ice.


With this chart, we can see the attempts the Flames had early in the game, only to be turned away by a really good Tuukka Rask. The Bruins firmly took the lead in scoring chances as the game went on, but the Flames still did manage to tie it up, even if they weren't piling up the chances along the way.

Let's go into further specifics by taking a look at War on Ice's even strength shot plot:


In what continues to be an issue for the Flames, they had next to nothing going for them offensively down the right side. This is a team whose only actual right winger is David Jones, so... that's a spot to work on. On the flip side, most of the Bruins' offence came from the right.

Period by period analysis, with NaturalStatTrick:

Flames vs Bruins - All Situations


  • Despite going down by two in the first thanks to some brutal giveaways, the Flames had a pretty decent period.
  • Disastrous second.
  • And down by two again, this time going into the third, an absolutely hell of a final regulation frame to pull themselves right back in it. Boston sat back, but weren't able to defend well enough to stop the juggernaut force known as the Calgary Third Periods.
  • The Bruins had the advantage in overtime, but not by a lot. Overtime's only five minutes anyway, so. Or in last night's case, four minutes and 58 seconds. Hahaha.
Flames vs Bruins - Even Strength


  • Powerplay breakdown: one for the Flames in the first, two for Boston in the second (double minor, because Johnny Gaudreau is now a goon, it would seem), and one for the Flames in the third. Nothing in overtime, which would have probably been scary.
  • There was literally one shot attempt on the Flames' powerplay in the first, and it was Brad Marchand's shorthanded goal. Haha. That's... sad.
  • The Flames' poor second gets a little better once you factor out the 3:59 powerplay the Bruins had to work with, not to mention their four shot attempts.
  • There was literally one shot attempt on the Flames' powerplay in the third, and it was Jiri Hudler's goal. That made up for the first, eh?
Flames Even Strength Data


  • That is an absolute hell of a fourth line. No offensive zone starts, and right there at the top. Paul Byron, Matt Stajan, and Joe Colborne click. I know we've all said numerous times that Stajan isn't a fourth line centre, but with linemates capable of actually playing, it doesn't really matter as much. The trio completely demolished the Bruins' fourth line, not letting them generate a single shot attempt of their own.
  • Byron remains the guy called upon to play a spot up the lineup. Gonna keep emphasizing this: for all the jokes about his inability to score, he's reliable enough elsewhere on the ice that it doesn't really matter so much.
  • Further highlight the Bruins' lack of depth is just how well Deryk Engelland and Rafa Diaz fared. Further highlight the Flames' lack of depth is just how little time they were granted, as the top four played huge minutes.
  • Mark Giordano and TJ Brodie performed well, helping keep the Bruins' top players in check. It helps that they primarily started from the offensive zone, but they were still able to take on the Bruins' best and come out on top, and that's what you need from your top pairing.
  • Kris Russell and Dennis Wideman had less friendly nights, although that's to be expected. They didn't play the Bruins' best, but damn near close, and started more often from a position of disadvantage. They aren't the Flames' top pairing, and they certainly could have been better on the defensive side of things, but they did take on huge minutes against pretty good players so to see them at the bottom of the possession chart isn't surprising.
  • Also down at the bottom: the Flames' top line of Gaudreau, Hudler, and Sean Monahan . High offensive performances from those three certainly helps make up for it, though. They also played the same competition as Russell and Wideman while getting roughly the same zone starts, so them being down near the bottom makes sense. The Bruins' secondary guys were just better at pushing the puck towards the opposition's net, although when Hudler got the chance, he definitely did make them pay.
  • Jones, alongside Mikael Backlund and Lance Bouma, remain pretty effective shutdown guys. The high offensive zone starts definitely helped their possession rates - if you switched them with the top line, things would be different - but they're still working pretty well together.
  • (Although I gotta say, I'd be down for switching Bouma and Byron's spots in the lineup, and seeing how that goes. That top six forward move Bouma pulled in the game aside. Though that was pretty awesome. Still, he leads the Flames in hits for a reason, and Byron's the bottom guy regularly trusted with moving up the lineup, so...)
  • Josh Jooris, Curtis Glencross, and Mason Raymond performed relatively well considering their zone starts. Raymond was a bit more active in the offence, but considering how the guy's been healthy scratched while in a dry slump and is currently in the midst of a goal-scoring burst, you can't blame him for trying to keep on cashing in off of that.
Player Spotlight - Paul Byron

Alright, back to this guy. Byron's current role on this team is to be on the fourth line, and yet, he gets to spend a fair amount of time with a guy like Monahan. That's gotta mean something.


  • Holy crap, that fourth line was excellent.
  • Don't take too much stock in how much better Byron fared when split apart from Brodano. After all, while he was putting up such great numbers alongside Stajan and Colborne, he was also seeing an inferior level of player, while the top defence pairing typically handles top players. (Byron spent about twice the time with Giordano and Brodie than his linemates did at even strength.)
  • Colborne spent about half his ice time with Byron. With Byron, he was at 100% CF. Without, 25%.
  • Stajan was a little less dramatic - he only dropped from 100% CF with to 57.14% without.
  • Byron is the king of that line, hence why he gets to be the one bumped up to play with Monahan every now and then.
  • Byron tends to quietly make his linemates better, though - something Backlund does as well. That's why I'd love to see the two of them together.
  • Byron did get a little more going with Monahan than with Hudler, but he also spent a lot more time with Monahan. Still - defensively, not as bad.
  • Remember those "withouts" are comparing Byron's time on the first line with his time on the fourth line. Fourth line's easier to play on, so of course he looked better there. This game, he didn't work quite as well up top, but hey, the Flames did score with him there, so of course we'll take it.

Can't believe we once faced the realistic risk of Byron being a healthy scratch for Brandon Bollig. (And then Jooris unfairly fell victim instead.) Byron can play literally anywhere within the Flames lineup and at best, succeed; at worst, look like a competent hockey player who just doesn't quite have the hands. He's valuable and should be re-signed. The Flames did end up getting something for ol' Robyn Regehr after all.