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Seven Game Segments: Part Two

The second set of seven games

NHL: Calgary Flames at Anaheim Ducks Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

After the first seven games were in the books, we noticed a few things that needed improvement for this team to be better. Some of those things have improved and some have gotten worse. Much worse.

From segment to segment we will see some variance, it’s the the nature of smaller sample sizes to fluctuate wildly before leveling out in the long run, so far there are a couple of disturbing trends emerging and one has to wonder how much of that is on the coach and how much is on the players themselves.

We begin.

October 25, 2016

Game Eight: Away vs St Louis Blues

Win: 4-1

1-0-0

Starter: Brian Elliott

PDO CF% SCF% SV% SH% PP% PK%
109.9 42.25 57.14 100 9.09 33.3 75

After a hardfought overtime victory in Chicago, the Flames were back at it the next night against the same St Louis team that had more or less destroyed them just four days prior. This time around it was a completely different story. Even strength save percentage was perfect, the only goal against coming on the penalty kill (1/4). While they were outshot at even strength, their shot location was much more opportunistic than the Blues and the Flames were even able to score a rare power play goal.

Game Recap

October 28, 2016

Game Nine: Home vs Ottawa Senators

Win: 5-2

2-0-0

Starter: Brian Elliott

PDO CF% SCF% SV% SH% PP% PK%
127.78 47.31 25 100 27.78 0 50

An excellent even strength goaltending performance supported a breakout of incredible proportions as the Flames victimized the Senators' third string goalie after Andrew Hammond's injury in the first period. How they managed to do it is beyond me as they lost the special team battle by a country mile and just could not for the life of them get to the dangerous shooting areas with any regularity. All in all, despite their special teams play, the Flames are off to a good start with this segment winning the first two games.

Game Recap

October 30, 2016

Game Ten: Home vs Washington Capitals

Loss: 3-1

2-1-0

Starter: Brian Elliott

PDO CF% SCF% SV% SH% PP% PK%
100.83 48.84 50 95.83 5 0 50

Another good even strength performance wasted against a superior team. While the shooting percentage isn't quite as high as we'd like to see it, it would have been enough had the Flames special teams possessed any kind of capability at all. The Flames need their power play personnel to be able to do anything at all with the man advantage and the penalty kill simply needs to be better. After being soundly outplayed by the Senators' skaters in the previous game, this game had a much better even strength performance by the Flames' own skaters.

Game Recap

November 1, 2016

Game Eleven: Away vs Chicago Blackhawks

Loss: 5-1

2-2-0

Starter: Brian Elliott

PDO CF% SCF% SV% SH% PP% PK%
85.71 58.75 63.64 85.71 0 0 75

The Flames outplayed the Blackhawks for the majority of the game. By a wide margin. If you want to know why the Flames lost simply look at the even strength goaltending. Additionally, the Flames' penalty kill scored more goals than their power play, or even strength for that matter, and if that is going to happen in a game then you have a very small chance at winning it. With the game itself a lot closer by eye than the stats indicate it might be fair to say that Corey Crawford simply stole a game that the Blackhawks had no business winning. It might also be fair to say that if your team can't score against the League's worst penalty kill when you have four chances to do so, then the problem probably goes a lot deeper than simply running into a hot goaltender.

Game Recap

November 3, 2016

Game Twelve: Away vs San Jose Sharks

Win: 3-2

3-2-0

Starter: Chad Johnson

PDO CF% SCF% SV% SH% PP% PK%
108.41 47.37 50 94.12 14.29 0 80

Possession is still not on the right side of 50 but the scoring chances in this one were split down the middle. The skaters are working a little harder to get into those good areas of the ice and thankfully this time the shooters were rewarded for it. The goaltending was more than good enough and the penalty kill did a much better job than they had in the past 4 games. If that possession gets to and stays anywhere near the 50% mark then we are looking at a team that has a chance. This power play has got to get going though. Any day now would be nice.

Game Recap

November 5, 2016

Game Thirteen: Vs Los Angeles Kings

Loss: 5-0

3-3-0

Starter: Brian Elliott

PDO CF% SCF% SV% SH% PP% PK%
83.33 46.39 33.3 83.33 0 0 100

This was one of the ugliest games we've seen from the Flames in a long time. Elliott was left out to dry too many times, the skaters’ shot quality was very poor and while the penalty kill was perfect (3/3) the power play was once again a big fat zero (0/3). There really isn't much else to say about this game. It was just abysmal and it reflects in the numbers.

Game Recap

November 6, 2016

Game Fourteen: Away Vs Anaheim Ducks

Loss: 4-1

3-4-0

Starter: Chad Johnson

PDO CF% SCF% SV% SH% PP% PK%
90.06 62.5 50 85.71 4.35 0 33.3

Scheduled loss. Honestly the Flames were playing the Ducks at home. We all expected this. Possession was great and shot quality was right around were we want to see it but the goaltending was far below what we saw in Johnson's last start and the special teams were abysmal (PP 0/2, PK 1/3). The even strength performance from the skaters probably could have been a bit better but it seems that too many of the top scorers are gripping their sticks a little too tight.

Game Recap

The Seven Games As A Whole

PDO CF% SCF% SV% SH% PP% PK%
100.86 50.48 47.01 92.1 8.6 4.75 66.18

Segment One and Two Comparison

 photo segmentchart_zpsvrlitqkm.jpg

Remember when I said that some areas got better and some got a whole lot worse? Well, the special teams took a swan dive, somehow ending up even worse than the terrible first segment and the Flames now sit second last in the League for Penalty Killing (the Blackhawks are still last) and dead last on the Power Play.

While I was wrong in my belief that the PK was looking primed for improvement, I had no idea what to think of the PP last segment and this one is even more bewildering. Our offense on the man advantage simply needs to get going and at this point I have no clue what the answer is.

We have a somewhat normalized PDO during the second segment and if the Flames can maintain or improve this number (101.5+ would be ideal) then they could end up being a playoff team. The main reason for this improvement in PDO is the SV% side of it. The goaltenders are generally better than they were at the start of the season at even strength while the SH%, despite none of the stars actually scoring, has maintained it’s speed and keeps chugging along.

After finishing the last segment at 2-4-1 I was hoping we’d see an improvement and while we have, the Flames continue to shoot themselves in the foot with freefalling special teams play. The even strength play is doing what it’s supposed to do, maintaining perfectly acceptable numbers in this second set of seven games but the poor special teams is holding them back big time.

Last season the Flames also opened up with two losing segments (2-5-0, 2-4-1) before finally winning the third one (4-3-0) at the start of the home game winning streak. Numbers wise the Flames so far this year are better at 5v5 and do have a couple of extra standings points compared to this time last year to show for it.

If the special teams can get going at any point in the next segment then the wins should start to come a little more frequently if the 5v5 play remains the same or improves at the same time.

Game 21 is on November 21 vs the Buffalo Sabres. See you after the game!