After falling out of playoff contention on Tuesday, a win last night was crucial. A 4-1 score is pretty decisive, but did the Flames really dominate as much as that suggests?
Well, they were definitely the better team out there. Ultimately, the Flames were able to capitalize on their chances while Karri Ramo did a great job at stopping the chances the Flyers did get. Too bad we didn't get to see Jonas Hiller's special edition pads in action. Via hockeystats.ca, in all situations:
The beginning of the game was a bit slow, until the Flames took off around halfway through the first. The goals started coming in the last five minutes of the second period, when the Flyers caught up in shot attempts. The Calgary Third Periods emerged yet again, with the Flyers getting more attempts at the end, when they were down 4-1. Score-adjusted changed the curves slightly, it gets a bit closer in the first two periods, but the Flames came out just on top.
With a plethora of penalties to the Flyers in the third, Calgary's two goals were both on the powerplay. TJ Brodie's goal in the second also occurred in a 4-on-4 situation, with both Brandon Bollig and Zac Rinaldo off for roughing. The help from the special teams showed in the third period Corsi especially, when we look at the 5v5 only graph:
Dem plateaus tho.
As for quality of shots, looking at scoring chances, Calgary was the better team for the majority of the game as well. Courtesy of War on Ice:
We can also look at shot positioning, via War on Ice again:
The Flyers were able to get shots on net from just about anywhere, whereas the Flames focused more on getting into more dangerous zones (if you heard the music at the game, you'll get it), mostly in the slot, right in front of both Steve Mason and Ray Emery.
My favourite thing about the Flames this season is how they wait for better scoring chances and get into the slot as much as possible for a shot. I'd be interested in looking into possession time based on zone time, in addition to Corsi, because counting all shot attempts doesn't necessarily take into account quality, and only looking at scoring chances has the downside of smaller sample size. Maybe the Flames have the puck more than we think, they just take their time shooting
Period by period analysis, from NaturalStatTrick:
This shows more of the same. The Flames played a great first period, scored some goals in the second, and score effects kind of took over in the second half of the game. Again, adjusting for score gives the Flames the slight Corsi edge in the game.
Accounting for powerplays:
Penalties break down as follows: one for Calgary in the second, coincidental penalties in the second, four Flyers penalties in the third (including one on Emery for slashing), and one for Calgary in the last five minutes. As such, the Flames got the edge, and they took advantage with two powerplay goals and one on the 4-on-4, which translates to lower even strength stats (just look at that third, woof).
One stat the Flames didn't lead in for once? Blocked shots. Philadelphia blocked 17 to Calgary's 13.
- The first line had a great game. Especially Johnny Gaudreau, who had one goal and two assists for three points to overtake the Nashville Predator's own Filip Forsberg in the rookie scoring race. He had about four minutes of PP time, so his all situations numbers are even better. And he wasn't as sheltered this game. When he wasn't in the offensive zone, his zone entries last night proved just how good he is (if you still needed convincing). His 20th goal this season also gives the Flames back-to-back seasons with rookies scoring at least 20 goals.
Jiri Hudler and Sean Monahan had great nights themselves. It's a wonder why it took Bob so long to figure it out. Monahan scored himself a goal, to bring his NHL goal total up to 50, and Papa Huds recorded two assists, tieing his career high of 37.
- Though he wasn't given 10 minutes of ice time, Michael Ferland had himself a great game. His zone starts were 50/50, and he came out as a positive possession player. Granted, he was playing against the Flyers' fourth line, but let's not forget, he's still a rookie. He came out better than both Matt Stajan (barely) and Brandon Bollig, the players he spent the most time with, though he had the least TOI (less chances for shots against).
- Dennis Wideman and Kris Russell have firmly asserted themselves as the Flames' top defence pairing since the loss of Mark Giordano, and since Bob decided that bumping Deryk Engelland up with TJ Brodie was the best option (Ari has argued this point here, here, and here). Tonight, they were the only defencemen at or over 50%. If we are splitting hairs here, they were slightly more sheltered than the other pairings, but they also faced the Flyers top line of Michael Raffl, Claude Giroux, and Jakub Voracek. Wideman scored a goal to tie his career best 13, and Russell landed himself two assists to set his own career high with 30 points.
- The 'third line' of Mason Raymond, Markus Granlund, and Joe Colborne got decimated even though they were the most sheltered. This is mostly due to Granlund not quite being NHL-ready, and probably being a bit exhausted from being passed back and forth between two teams/cities. In all situations, Colborne was 33.33% CF with Granlund, and 57.14% CF without, and played about half his time with him. Raymond was also 33.33% CF with, and 60.00% CF without Granlund, and spent over half his minutes with him.
- My favourite line (by a slim margin and for reasons) of Lance Bouma, Mikael Backlund, and David Jones, didn't fare well according to the stats, but they were facing the top two lines and received the most defensive zone starts - very much playing the role of shutdown line trying to work the puck up. The importance of context.
It may have started off slow, but the second half of the game was great (for Flames fans anyway), and was especially what the Flames needed after the 4-0 loss to the Blues. Lots of milestones hit, or personal records broken/tied, and little Johnny got himself ahead of the rookie scoring race. What a fun season!