This stats recap feels like an unnecessary lambasting of the Calgary Flames, salt in the wound of a season-ending playoff defeat at the hands of the Anaheim Ducks, but the stats are the stats. Perhaps we can learn something. Or at the very least, appreciate just how good a hockey team the Ducks really are.
To the Flames' credit they kept the game close, but the Ducks' relentless pressure produced the inevitable. In two and a half minutes of overtime Anaheim took 11 shot attempts, 7 of which were shots on goal and 5 of which were scoring chances. Calgary didn't produce a single shot attempt. In those two and a half minutes Anaheim produced a third of their total 5v5 scoring chances in the game. They were not going to lose.
Like I said, Anaheim was not going to lose this hockey game. They consistently stood up the Flames in the neutral zone, forcing turnovers and transitioning into the offensive zone with speed. If they didn't get an opportunity off the rush, the Ducks cycled the puck until one presented itself. When they dumped the puck in, they recovered it. Anaheim won nearly every foot race, every puck battle, and in the end the game and the series.
That's a lot of Anaheim at the top of the chart, led by Ryan Getzlaf who contributed to 16 5v5 shot attempts. Of the top 15 shot attempt contributors, 13 were Ducks' players.
Shots on Goal
Matt Beleskey contributed to more scoring chances than all of the Flames combined. He scored in every game this series.
This chart highlights the Ducks' players who generate quality offense. Namely, Getzlaf, Beleskey, Jakob Silfverberg, Corey Perry, Ryan Kesler, and Patrick Maroon. Defensemen Cam Fowler and Francois Beauchemin also contributed.
The war-on-ice Shot Plots
The Calgary Flames had a hugely successful season. It was disappointing to see them lose in this fashion, but it's a testament to how far they made it. Only the top teams in the league remain by the second round of the playoffs, the Anaheim Ducks being the best in the west.
Johnny Gaudreau exceeded expectations, tying for the rookie scoring lead during the regular season and leading the Flames with 9 points in 11 playoff games. Veteran Jiri Hudler had a career year and sophomore Sean Monahan didn't slump. The future arrived early with Sam Bennett, who for an eighteen-year old had an incredible post season. On the backend TJ Brodie proved he's an elite defenseman.
As a team the Flames demonstrated character, poise and determination. They truly never quit, winning games throughout the season and playoffs in tremendous comeback fashion. When their captain and Norris-calibre defenseman Mark Giordano went down with a season-ending injury with 20 games to go, that should have been the end of the playoff run. That could have been the end and the hockey world wouldn't have held anything against the Flames. Yet the team held on to their spot, fending off the defending champions in the Los Angeles Kings.
For such a young group, the playoff experience was invaluable. The Flames tasted success by knocking the Vancouver Canucks out of the first round, but they also experienced a matchup against a true Stanley Cup contending team. This gives both players and management a benchmark with which to approach the off-season and prepare for next season. And let's be honest, there is a lot of work to be done if the Calgary Flames want to be better.
Questions or comments about the stats I track? Let me know in the comments below.