Last night the Flames needed to simply win. I mean it would have been nice to have a near perfect game that stuck it to Arizona just for fun. But in reality, we just needed a regulation win. We got a win but we also got more than that. We had what may have been one of the best first periods in probably a long time.
As usual utilizing four lines of hockey players with capable skill does impact the on ice product. You have to imagine Sam Bennett's potential results being quite tantalizing.
- Calgary didn't have to employ their penalty kill at all. Not once -- zilch. Everything came down to their power play which went 1/4. Calgary relied heavily last night on the PP to generate overall shot attempts.
- Concerning is the following statistic: 25.75% of the Flames overall shot attempts came on the power play last night. Their success in the first period trended downward after the first period as it almost seemed like they wanted to hold a 1-0 lead.
- Opportunistic bounces in the third definitely helped as Arizona tried to take the lead thanks to score effects driven intervals of play.
- Producing on the power play worked for the Flames as they didn't have an even strength shot attempt until shot attempt seven. The first six came from the power play. The second steady incline came from a delayed call and the PP. That stretch produced a goal however.
- To start the period in the second, the Flames had a few limited chances but not to the degree of the first period. The third period's power play produced a small volume of attempts too.
- Examining the game at even strength you see how close it was for both teams. Arizona under several circumstances throughout the game pulled ahead and controlled play.
- Calgary found struggles with lulls of play in the second and third period. Combine that with some back and forth play starting late in the second and heading into the third; and you have a recipe for a fun game.
- Calgary would not get a single shot attempt for 5:27 of play to end the game.
- I also looked at the 5v5 score adjusted Corsi and the Flames played admirably well up until late in the second period. It's a small victory on that frontier considering their inability to do so for much of the season. Check that out on Hockeystats.ca
This was definitely Calgary's game last night. Scoring chances heavily in favor of the Flames and led by Mikael Backlund with four. Backlund had been having a few rough games lately and this was a nice change of pace for him. Trailing behind Backlund, father Jiri Hudler, Joe Colborne, Johnny Gaudreau, and Josh Jooris all had three individual scoring chances.
Arizona did have a number of great opportunities and they capitalized on two of those. One including... well that Jonas Hiller decision to play the puck. Regardless, Sam Gagner (four), Tobias Rieder (three), and Craig Cunningham (three) lead the way for Arizona in the SC department.
What the Flames did well in regards to shot attempts against besides blocking heaps of shots was limiting the shot attempts from being in close. With four shots on Hiller in the low slot and a combined four (missed + blocked) shots in close they kept the Coyotes away. Much of the Arizona shot locations are sparse populated.
For the Flames, it's very much a picturesque example of needing more shots from the right side. Well the left side could have used better shot quality too. They found success from the mid and low slots generating two goals there at even strength.
Shot quality is so key here and beyond the abundant high perimeter/low risk locations is problematic long term. The best chances are when they carry the puck in and get to the low/mid slot and fire it on net.
- David Schlemko had five individual shot attempts. Corey Potter had zero. Corey Potter is also noticeably horrendous on the ice. #FreeTSpoon. Schlemko is proving why he should have SOME MORE ICE TIME. His overall game isn't Norris quality but it's stable and I would rely on him with Brodie more than Mr. Engelland. Give David some more ice time, Hartley. Cutting his shifts from seven, seven, and then three in the third was not smart.
- Backlund was the best forward measured by the underlying numbers last night. I was thoroughly impressed as mentioned: his last few games have been struggling. He looked confident, he drove play, and tried to make things happen.
- Mason Raymond led the way with six individual shot attempts and a pristine CF and FF at ES. Though I feel like going 100% CF/FF against David Moss, Jordan Szwarz, Martin Erat, and Sam Gagner had something to do with it. Raymond only struggled against Joe Vitale, B.J. Crombeen, and Tye McGinn. Everyone else was 50%+.
- If you spend all afternoon ripping on Joe Colborne on Twitter, it's typical that he has a stronger game than usual. There is probably money and a job there, but I digress. He's not the fastest, he's not the most capable, but last night he wasn't a car accident on skates. Four iCF events and three of those were listed as scoring chances.
- Jiri Hudler had a bit more ice time again than his two sons Sean and Johnny giving him a slight edge. Still, Monahan rebounded nicely from not generating any even strength shot attempts to having two in the third with two scoring chances. Gaudreau also added two individual shot attempts and scoring chances in the third.
- The pairing of TJ Brodie and atlas stone Deryk Engelland weren't completely horrendous as usual. They could be better if TOI and partners were adjusted but still I can't fault Deryk Engelland for taking chances on trying to score now. It's hard to examine Engelland's WOWY against right now as the data on Natural Stat Trick isn't showing the right numbers there.
- Matt Stajan finally got a lot of ice time at even strength last night due to line-up adjustments and the Bouma injury. He didn't have a strong game though some of it may be traced back to deployment and match-ups. Playing with Michael Ferland did impact him slightly but even without Ferland on his line, he would have still been sub-50% CF/FF.
- Lance Bouma's injury and the potential of him missing a game MIGHT impact the team positively. He's not a strong possession guy which means the likes of Drew Shore or even Sam Bennett may draw in if he's out for Thursday. A slight boost in shot generation and shot suppression may make a difference against the Kings.
- I'd love to see Josh Jooris on the wing for Backlund moving forward. In under a minute together, there were four CF events. Small sample but their abilities and style of play could create a capable tandem if Bouma is down for a game or two. Jooris had an okay game last night and by okay, he's doing better than any of us could have predicted. Jooris is arguably one of the best storylines this season and he has improved our team.
- We already know that the limited shot generation he produces doesn't provide a boost in a top four sense. Though we also know splitting up Dennis Wideman and Russell probably won't happen either. Capitalizing on adjusting TOI across the pairings is a continued flaw that has plagued the team all year. Wideman's offensive upside needs to be insulated just as much as the liabilities of Russell do.
- David Jones also can drive play but going 0% over 3:13 of play is incredible. Jones away from Russell was 39.13% CF and 53.33% FF. Remarkable. Backlund was 45.45% CF / 28.57% FF with and 81.25% CF / 90% FF without. This trend exists throughout the season.
Free Tyler Wotherspoon or Free Schlemko. One of the two. One of them at least will provide more of a positive impact and hopefully next season we can see some adjustments that provide stability and consistency beyond the top pairing. Just for fun, here is Russell's head to head: