Curtis Glencross is gone, Mark Giordano's bicep is mangled, and we managed to survive a very visible collapse in the third period. The tone and message we deliver here is not a negative one, nor a positive one. It's a realistic and logical one. The team's visible struggles last night did have a few bright moments that we covered in our recap.
I'll touch on some things I liked and didn't like as well. That said, the over-usage of Deryk Engelland is not a smart one by Bob Hartley. In fact, I think it severely made things worse in a situation that in most opinions could not get more worse by way of resource management on the roster.
- The first period would realistically be the Flames best period in terms of shot generation. When we take a look at the charts a bit further down you'll see how intervals of the period (along with the eye-test) showed the Flames finding ways to outplay the Flyers.
- With regards to Fenwick for the first period, the Flames were able to find more shots that were either missed or actually on Steve Mason. As a blocked shot often has less value, finding better shooting lanes even if it's a missed shot helps this club immensely.
- The telecast might have regarded the Flames second period successful as they had a 2-0 lead but shot attempt wise, they were outmatched clearly. The Flyers woke up late in the first period and continued despite going down another goal to find ways to pressure the Flames and hem them in.
- We'll speak more to the second and third periods in this section as the first period saw zero power play time for either team. That said, it wasn't a horrendous period by any stretch. The Flames were able to score a first period goal, keep the play relatively close for their standards, and end the period not down a goal.
- The Flames first PP on the Raffl interference call never yielded much in terms of quality shot attempts and scoring chances. The fact that the Flames were facing off against the third worst PK didn't boost their luck either.
- Though starting the final period on the PK, they finished off the PK and then some 5 on 5 time being hemmed in and being fed to the wolves. It didn't make it better once the Flyers struck to make it 2-1.
- The PP and PK would provide limited boosts in terms of CF% for the Flames but overall, it was a firing squad for Philly all night.
- Since there were no penalties call in the first period, the utilization of pure 5 on 5 play was key to the Flames finding opportunities and taking advantage of a slow start for the Flyers. With those turnovers, the Flames were able in a few instances to control the zone and get off a chance.
- The same can be said about the Sean Monahan goal. With the necessity of the team improving in terms of success zone entries by carrying the puck in, they did so on this play thanks to Jiri Hudler's smarts. Optimally once zone entries are readily available in terms of data. We will have a larger pool of information to examine when it comes to the best players for entering the zone. For now, all of it is tracked manually and time consuming.
- The Flyers quick and score effects fueled start to the second period was even more active due to a negligent icing call early on. Though the Flyers were forced out of the Flames zone, they would only need moments to come back down the ice and get a shot off. We'll touch more on the hindrances of talent that factored into the possession issues later on.
- Midway through that second period, the Flyers really started to find ways to pull ahead. Philadelphia's aggressive pursuit of the puck lead to successful battles and often found themselves heading up ice to generate shot attempts.
- The third period itself might have been one of the most horrifying of the season. The collapse was driven by score effects and a very efficient Flyers forecheck. After a strong finale to their second power play, the next offensive zone start by the Flyers allowed them to capitalize on a Flames team who were caught gawking at the puck.
- In what literally seemed like much of the period, the Flyers basically bought property in the Flames' defensive zone, built a house, and raised a family there. They never left. and if they did, it was for small, limited intervals of play. Though they returned immediately to continue to generate shot attempts.
- Calgary was definitely very successful in the first period and in the second period for one brief moment. The Flames managed to find consistency despite a very strong series of attempts just before the ten minute mark.
- Calgary's stagnant plateauing that hit midway through the period carried over to the third as the Flyers continued to chip away at every opportunity. Eventually scoring one goal, chipping away more, having a goal waved off, and then tying it.
Overall a few things stand out with the shot plot data for the Flyers. The first being the Flames penchant for shot blocking and blocking in the low slots and middle slot. Though two goals effectively were scored there, the Flames managed to block an inordinate volume there.
The second being what managed to not be blocked due to aggressive play near the net and the results that followed. Mark Streit goal of course being one and the bloodlust of about six shots that were in closer than they should.
Offensively, the Flames being exasperated by shot blocking managed a variety of shots from a lot of different areas. The weakness on the right side of the ice seemed to not be too much of a problem for them. While the left side seemingly was more far perimeter shooting that may not be regarded as quality shooting. The found success in the mid and low slots using speed to set up plays and find weaknesses though.
I like this a lot as it plays to what makes this team successful if they drive towards the net. Without strength on the blueline that they relied on in months past, strong zone entries, and driving to the net will be a potential method of success.
- Let's start at the top: Raphael Diaz. Small sample size in a game that in the grand scheme of things is a small sample size, right? Right. So when you've got Mark Giordano out for the season you'd assume that the utilization of Diaz might increase, right? Wrong. In almost the worst thing possible, you've capped him at only 5:47 of ES time. Bad idea. The guy has a decent shot and has proven to be much more effective than Ladislav Smid.
- Corey Potter was playing? I had no idea to be honest due to the limited shades of the third pairing.
- Johnny Gaudeau was the best forward in terms of possession last night. That said, he was immensely cut down on ice time by Bob Hartley (I mean Hartley hasn't done this to rookies before) and for that he wasn't really a huge factor last night. Then again starting 25% of our starts in the offensive zone might have a drag on our numbers. Though the entire team was not exactly consistent either.
- Joe Colborne pushed Mark Streit in Karri Ramo after that second goal and he's dumb for that. I'm warming to the concept of Joe Colborne: third line winger. I think it's a roll he could do well at the NHL level for Calgary. I don't feel at this point he is much more than a bottom six guy who can jump up to the second line and earn minutes on special teams. That said, when matched against Matt Read (5:49) last night he wasn't too bad at 66.67% CF/FF. Though he struggled against Flyers leading scorer Jakub Voracek (5:19) at 42.86% CF.
- Mikael Backlund's seventh of the season was much needed. I love his game, his skill-set, and what he brings to this team. Lock him up. Of the forwards last night he had some of the most difficult matchups and starts. Of the eight players he matched up against last night at over 5:00, he went 50% or above in terms of Corsi against two. That was also with aggressively comfortable starts. Though the entire team was flat, this is something to watch for in games moving forward.
- Backlund's linemates David Jones and Lance Bouma fared no better for the most part. Bouma facing off against nine players at over 5:00 each was 50% CF and above against three. Jones facing off against ten players at 5:00 and above was 50% or above in terms of CF against two.
- TJ Brodie got to babysit the Engelland last night. For that he suffered. Of the players he was 50%+ against, three of them were below 5:00 of time on ice against and one was 10:17 against. That being Michael Del Zotto who he went 56.52% CF and 62.5% FF against. Brodie has a lot of work to do for the remainder of the season. With him literally being the only driving force remaining on the blue for possession, the team's numbers are expected to drop more.
- On the topic of Deryk Engelland, I feel like the TOI he was given was a waste of the third pairing. Though he wasn't a complete human disaster, he was trying to shoot. Brodie was feeding him passes. This was nice to see, but his shot isn't exactly something to be scared over. Still, I liked that but Craig Berube took opportunity to match his best lines against that pairing and it worked. Engelland went 7.69% CF / 14.29% FF against Claude Giroux and Michael Raffl. Though thanks to some padding from teammates, he went 81.82% CF / 88.89% FF against Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. So some positives, right?
- The newly formed top line of Sean Monahan, father-figure Jiri Hudler, and Mason Raymond was very interesting. Hudler and Monahan had existing chemistry that has carried over; and the addition of Raymond gives the line additional speed and creativity. They were rewarded with that first goal but also played some INSANELY tough competition. If you get a chance, go through the WOWY data here and see the impact. The TL;DR is this: It's not pretty.
- The second pairing that really was the top pairing of Kris Russell and Dennis Wideman were feasted upon the most out of the team. Though Wideman went 50% CF and FF + against the likes of Sean Couturier and Vorachek (huge positives there); he was prayed upon by MDZ - 16% CF / 18.75% FF, Wayne Simmonds - 25.81% CF / 30% FF, and Giroux - 30.56% CF / 40% FF. Optimal deployment by Craig Berube allowed this, though there wasn't much Bob Hartley could do except ride it out.
- Russell, the shot blocking king and often target of my concerns of his role as a top-four defenseman shared a very similar fate.
- Finally we'll close with the kids on the fourth line. Emile Poirier made a smart play entering the zone to keep the puck in play for the second goal. This was a smart play and something I hope everyone appreciated. He along with Michael Ferland and Drew Shore didn't see much time. They were given some of the rougher starts too relative to the team too. I think all three have some future in some capacity in the pro leagues. With Poirier having more of a projection of a scorer while Shore and Ferland have bottom six expectations.
- So SUPER SMALL sample but he had some positives with Brodie and Engelland; however away from them he was back around where he was all night. Still some delightful positives for the young rookie.
- Since he was given a Bollig amount of TOI, there isn't much there. He spent a lot of time with Ferland and Shore.
- Matching up against the Flyers, he was successful enough to break even against Simmonds. Though it was an extremely small sample of 1:15 played against. Against MDZ, his highest TOI against he was a 40% guy which is fine for relative to how the team was.