Every point matters, so you know, we'll take it. We'll take the majesty that is apparently now Deryk Engelland, praise him, and move on. Because the Calgary Flames didn't really have a game they deserved to win. Stupid penalties hurt, but not paying attention hurt more.
Via HockeyStats.ca, the all situations corsi chart:
The Dallas Stars pulled ahead, in part thanks to an impressive barrage of penalties against the Flames, and while the Flames ultimately did fight to get back within range, the Stars just pulled ahead again. They were simply much more in control of the game.
Check out the 5 v 5 score adjusted corsi chart, though:
The Flames really did a good job of fighting to come back when the Stars took the lead. The problem? This is all at even strength, so you can't blame penalties for the Flames falling behind. They didn't help, but they weren't really playing well enough in general circumstances, anyway. And they couldn't outplay the Stars when they weren't behind, either: the problem with romanticizing comebacks.
The 5 v 5 scoring chances, via War on Ice, does tell a bit of a different tale:
But the 5 v 5 shot plot doesn't seem to totally reflect it:
The Stars blocked 12 shots total; Kris Russell blocked 10 alone (and kept getting caught there out on the ice for goals against), and the rest of the Flames 14. You can see that in Dallas' shot attempts, as the Flames threw themselves in the slot with abandon.
Their own shot attempts, though? A couple from the middle, but mostly outside from the left corner, with all of the goals actually coming from their right side (thanks Deryk!). But while the Stars were able to get into the middle pretty easily, the Flames couldn't.
Performances did vary across the four frames, and so, period-by-period analysis, via NaturalStatTrick:
Flames vs Stars - All Situations
- Absolutely horrific way for the Flames to open the game. Markus Granlund's double minor, coupled with Lance Bouma's boneheaded penalty later on, really put the Flames in a hole. Calgary did a great job killing off the calls, but they didn't do themselves any favours otherwise. It's one thing to prevent the other team from scoring, but when you aren't allowing yourself to get into position to initiate your own offence, well, that's not good.
- The second would very well likely have been the Flames' best period of the game were it not for disastrous hiccups right at the start and end of it. Two brutal turnovers resulted in two goals against. Whether the Flames played harder to try to catch up after falling behind 2-0 or not, though, they had a much better period.
- The third was again the result of score effects, which fortunately paid off; however, the Stars remained a threat, and that penalty kill at the end was terrifying.
- And while the Flames got a few chances in overtime, the puck was on a Star's stick way more often.
Flames vs Stars -Even Strength
- Powerplay breakdown went as thus: six minutes for the Stars in the first; six minutes for the Flames in the second, four for the Stars; and four minutes for the Stars in the third, two minutes for the Flames. The Flames aren't a heavily penalized team typically, and you can complain about the reffing all you want, but fact is: they were idiots this game, plain and simple.
- So you look at the first period, and shrug it off because of how much of it Dallas spent on the man advantage. Except you don't, really, because the Flames' numbers are still bad. Point out the repeated icings, point out the Stars being more on the attack thanks to their powerplay circumstances; whatever, the Flames were insanely lucky to come out of the first tied.
- Genuinely good second period from them, but man, those goals in the first and last minutes of the frame were killers. Just horrific turnovers, and the kind of thing a playoff hopeful team cannot be making.
- Slightly worse even strength penalty for the Flames in the third, even though the Stars had more powerplay time, especially right at the end of the game. Nine additional shot attempts for the Flames when the game wasn't being played five-on-five. Getting their own powerplay just 20 seconds after Engelland tied the game probably gave them a boost in that department.
- It was, for the most part, a close game, but singular moments of pure stupidity from Calgary bogged them down and prevented them from getting that much-needed second point.
Flames Even Strength Data
- Let's start with the defence; particularly, let's start with the man of the hour: Engelland, and his friend/guide/all-around-superior-parter TJ Brodie. Look, Engelland's two goals were one thing. ... One very big, important, awesome thing. Two things, technically. But he also played some pretty heavy even strength minutes, against some pretty tough players - yes, I'm referencing Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn here - and managed to be a positive possession player. Of course, he was positive when he got away from those two, but fact is: he went up against them a lot, and overall, came away with a genuinely great game.
- As for Brodie: slightly better zone starts, but more minutes, and way more successful at creating chances. That's not a knock on Engelland. Just noting Brodie is the better defenceman, which I don't think anyone's really gonna disagree with.
- Special teams messes with things, so while Dennis Wideman and Russell were the defenders who played the most, they didn't quite at even strength. Wideman, for example, though, played more than 14 minutes either with the man advantage or down a guy, so that helps show how much that skews things. When it comes to even strength, the two kind of got their teeth kicked in, but when you play nearly as much in special circumstances as you do in the default, that's going to mess with you.
- Brodie and Engelland did get the tougher assignments, though, and they definitely fared better.
- Rafa Diaz is doing well in his own depth position, but David Schlemko looks to be floundering somewhat. More attempts went against the Flames in the nearly-minute fewer Schlemko was on the ice. It should also be noted that both players' possession stats shot up once they were separated from one another and placed with a top four guy.
- There are some really low counts in even strength minutes from last night thanks to the abundance of powerplays. One area this affected was the fourth line, as they got heavily benched. David Jones, who committed the sin of turning the puck over, got dropped down with Brandon Bollig and Matt Stajan.
- And man, things were just disastrous for that fourth line. Jones was only on the ice for as many corsi events for as he was thanks to his head start time with Mikael Backlund and Bouma. Bollig couldn't get anything going, and Stajan literally could not do a thing. Zero corsi events for. ZERO.
- When Matt Stajan was on the ice, not once did the Flames direct the puck towards the Stars' net in any context. Not a single time. That's a pretty big anomaly.
- Backlund remains king of that line, and we should note that once Josh Jooris was added to his side, the two performed very, very well together. Hartley experimented with playing them together last game, too, and they performed well. Considering how Jooris has quietly proven himself to be, at absolute minimum, a good depth player over the course of this season, it might be worth it to see the two of them together more often. More on that in a bit.
- Granlund's line quietly did a pretty good job out there. He didn't see the Stars' top dogs, of course, but he's a rookie. You shouldn't expect him to. That probably would have gone really badly, actually, since it kind of did for everyone else. In the meantime, as long as he's in the NHL, keep him sheltered.
- Mason Raymond was flying out there, and there's an easy explanation for that: look at that insane 60% zone start compared to the rest of his teammates. Nobody else was started in the offensive zone nearly as much. He was heavily sheltered; at least it paid off for him.
- I'm really not sure what to make of Joe Colborne. On the one hand, decent numbers. On the other hand, he's incredibly frustrating to watch, and that brutal hit on Ales Hemsky was uncalled for and very nearly cost his team a point. He can be an effective player sometimes, but he more than likely needs small doses to thrive. And to not viciously board people. That would be a good starting point.
- That top line is FILTHY. Jiri Hudler was on the ice less, hence fewer offensive attempts for him. Sean Monahan was on the ice more, so more attempts went against. And Johnny Gaudreau is his own level of ridiculous. One thing that helped them out big time, though? They were kept away from Dallas' top line.
Player Spotlight - Josh Jooris
Right from the preseason, Jooris has proven himself to be a pleasant surprise. As the year has gone on, he's proven himself pleasanter and pleasanter. Considering what everyone sat at, he played respectable even strength minutes, and was a combination of sheltered and then not when he left Granlund's line to join Backlund's. He was also pretty much the best Flames forward at stopping Benn and Seguin. He's exactly the kind of depth player you win with.
- Jooris' numbers with Brodie. Holy GOD.
- Note how did a good job he did with fellow (but three years younger than him) rookie Granlund, despite really poor zone starts.
- And then note how much better he did with Backlund, and that he plays a significantly harder level of competition. They got a boost from the zone starts, no doubt, but Benn and Seguin dominated pretty much everyone not named Gaudreau and Jooris.
- Bouma: ever the beneficiary of playing with Backlund. You know how Paul Byron is like a mini-Backlund? I'd like to posit Jooris may very well be trending the same direction: a guy who may not be the greatest offensively, but will not let you down defensively.
- I'm getting ahead of myself here, but in light of that, as more offensive dynamos find their way on the Flames - I'm thinking when Sam Bennett joins the team next season and whenever Emile Poirier proves himself NHL-ready - a third line of Byron - Backlund - Jooris could be an absolutely insane shutdown line.
- Less crazy numbers with Engelland than with Brodie. Not surprising. Love Engo last night, of course, but Brodie's still the guy, y'know?
Jooris has turned into a hell of a find for the Flames. His sophomore season will be interesting. In the meantime, it's entirely possible the Flames wouldn't have found their way into the playoff hunt without him.