So, that game could have gone better. Limiting a superior team to just one goal on the road is pretty good, but not being able to get anything actually going yourself is a pretty strong counter to that. Karri Ramo playing out of his mind wasn't good enough to get his team a win, as you can't really win without scoring any goals, and against the Rangers, the Calgary Flames weren't threatening at all.
Via HockeyStats.ca, here's the 5 v 5 even strength corsi chart:
The Flames were behind all night long. It took them 4:24 to get their first shot attempt - a Deryk Engelland try that went wide - and 7:37 for their first shot actually on net, courtesy of Dennis Wideman. After that horrid start, things were much better... right until the third period, when they went down a goal and responded by completely flatlining, at least until time was almost out.
The Flames' effort was very too little, too late. Via War on Ice, the 5 v 5 even strength scoring chance chart shows little to be inspired by:
It's no wonder the New York Rangers won this one. It wasn't that Cam Talbot was better than Ramo; it was that Ramo had so much more to deal with than Talbot. The 5 v 5 even strength shot plot just further compounds this:
Almost all of the Flames' shots were non-threatening tries from so far on the outside, or way back at the point, that they hardly mattered. They rarely challenged Talbot, and most of those meaningful tries came right at the end of the game. The Rangers, on the other hand, peppered Ramo, constantly beating the Flames' defence to get in close on him. It's a testament to Ramo that the Flames only lost this game by one. The offence just was not there.
And now for period-by-period analysis via NaturalStatTrick, just to drive that point even further home:
Flames at Rangers - All Situations
- Just abhorrent by the Flames all night long, getting next to nothing going.
- The glaringly bad first period is especially the result of it taking nearly half the period for the Flames to even form an attempt at offensive pressure.
- They were simply outplayed, big time.
Flames at Rangers - Even Strength
- The penalty breakdown went as such: one for the Rangers in the first, and one for the Rangers in the third. Taking away those powerplays does put a dent into their possession stats, but nothing particularly meaningful.
- The Flames probably would have been able to get more going had the refs actually called the very legitimate penalties the Rangers committed - the one against Emile Poirier on the rookie's attempted break the most glaring omission - but this loss wasn't on the refs. It's on the Flames' inability to generate any real offensive pressure. Some credit definitely does belong to the Rangers' defence for that, though, of course.
Even Strength Flames Data
- There's a pretty massive difference between the Flames' top two pairings. While Mark Giordano and TJ Brodie had pretty great games - Giordano higher on the possession spectrum due to his better zone starts - Wideman and Kris Russell noticeably struggled, including an absolutely brutal gaffe by Wideman that led to the game winner and no points for the Flames.
- Russell, in particular, was absolutely slaughtered. The Flames definitely need help for their second pairing.
- Easier minutes for Russell might just help him out. Engelland and Rafa Diaz played primarily against the Rangers' bottom players. Diaz's numbers are slightly worse thanks to more starts in the defensive zone. They played about half the time Russell did, and while they weren't great possession-wise, they weren't the absolute black hole Russell turned out to be in this game.
- Sean Monahan was the most influential forward on the mostly dismal offence, with 19 corsi events for. While Johnny Gaudreau and Jiri Hudler were among the Flames better forwards as well, Monahan was the real driver of the line, and all the while getting the most ice time and starting slightly more often in the defensive zone.
- Curtis Glencross, he who we should soon be saying farewell too, was next on the list in trying to get something going for his team. Stupid penalty aside, Glencross didn't hurt the Flames and was definitely trying; however, he did have the advantage of very high zone starts to help him out. Maybe, with the impending trade deadline, that was by design?
- Josh Jooris was on the ice less, so he had fewer corsi events by which to judge him. He also had the best zone starts on the team, so he was very much sheltered to give him such an advantage possession-wise. Joe Colborne, meanwhile, struggled compared to his linemates, unable to generate much while giving up just as much.
- David Jones, Lance Bouma, and Mikael Backlund, as the Flames' shutdown line, were completely buried, all the while playing against the Rangers' very best. While they were able to get about as much offence going for them as Glencross' line did, they gave up so much more because the degree of difficulty they faced was much, much higher.
- And finally, the rookie line. Michael Ferland, Markus Granlund, and Poirier didn't get to see much ice at all (Poirier saw the most out of the three, resulting in his worse possession stats: his additional ice time resulted in the Flames giving up more corsi events against compared to his linemates).
- This is what I find especially interesting to note. Bob Hartley had a line full of rookies, with a combined 44 games of NHL experience between them - and a debut! - and he didn't give them the most sheltered minutes. They were given an even mixture of offensive and defensive zone starts, and faced off against semi-difficult competition.
- It was Glencross' line that got not only the easiest zone starts, but the easiest competition. Curtis Glencross, trade bait, received easier minutes than Emile Poirier in his first ever NHL game.
Player Spotlight - TJ Brodie
The rookies didn't play much last night at all, so it's probably not worth breaking down their numbers individually. So I'm going to go with the skater who stood out the most to me, and that guy is TJ Brodie. At several times, he seemed to be the only guy trying to create something for the team, and he was out there in the dying minutes for a reason (while Giordano was inexplicably replaced by Wideman? Wideman?? What a bizarre decision. Anyway). Brodie played the biggest minutes for a reason. At even strength:
- Surprise! The Flames' top players worked best together. Brodie with Giordano was able to keep the Flames well above water, and pairing the two with the top line - and Monahan in particular - gave the Flames their best offensive performers, low offensive zone starts be damned.
- He also worked rather well with the shutdown line. When Backlund's line spent time with Brodie, they were more often in the offensive zone, which definitely helped; that said, playing with the non-Brodano defencemen played a part in them being absolutely crushed overall.
- Similar ice times and circumstances with Glencross, Colborne, and Jooris, but in the extra 90 seconds-ish Glencross had with Brodie, he doubled his linemates' offensive output.
If you weren't sure if Glencross was going to be traded, then this game has to cement it. He was one of the most productive forwards for the Flames, including grossly outshowing his linemates when with the Flames' best players. Add in his comically sheltered circumstances, especially when compared to a kid's first NHL game, and man, they're desperate to make him look good for the bidders for his services. Too bad he couldn't get a goal to go with it.