Flames' sheer dominance over the Pacific Division why playoffs may be a reality

Ari Yanover
March 15 2015 11:00AM

Here's a handful of teams the Calgary Flames have won the season series over: the Arizona Coyotes, Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks, and Vancouver Canucks. They've probably won the season series against the Los Angeles Kings, too, although that isn't quite official yet.

It's pretty obvious what these five teams have in common: in addition to being pretty well-handled by the Flames, they're also all members of the Pacific Division.

The Anaheim Ducks are the only division opponent to win the season series against the Flames this season. And when you take into account the fact that two of their three wins came at the Honda Center - which we all know is cursed and needs to be burned down for the sake of a much-needed exorcism - does their victory actually count?

(Well, technically, yes, but they're definitely cheating.)

With just three games to go, the Flames have so far accumulated 19 wins over their divisional opponents. That's exactly one half of their 38 wins to date coming against teams they spend roughly 35% of their season playing.

Divisional match ups have been absolutely crucial as the Flames make their way towards a hopeful playoff spot.

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Why the 2014-15 Calgary Flames are not the 2013-14 Colorado Avalanche

Ari Yanover
March 12 2015 11:00AM

The comparisons are fair. This year's Flames is a garbage possession team, with an extremely poor 44.3% CF to go off of: third worst in the league. Last year's Avalanche wasn't so hot, either: 46.9% CF, sixth worst. With both teams spitting in the faces of corsi and possession metrics as a whole, the 2013-14 Avalanche ended up winning their division, while the 2014-15 Flames remain in a playoff spot with 15 games to go. Neither team was expected to do so well.

The Avs ended up losing in game seven overtime; really, a coin flip, but a first round loss nevertheless. This season, they're outside the playoffs, trying to look in. They're probably going to fail. Their statistics have dropped, leaving them at 43.5% CF, worse than the Flames.

This year's Flames fate has yet to be determined. They're right on the bubble. Next year's Flames fate is yet to be seen.

Does Treliving believe in analytics? His trade deadline performance showed he knows his team isn't a contender yet. Does he make off-season moves to improve Calgary's possession stats? Do those moves improve the team? Or will they end up falling, like the Avs?

I'd be willing to bet on the former. The comparisons are fair, but the 2014-15 Calgary Flames are not the 2013-14 Colorado Avalanche.

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The new-look Flames defence, post-Mark Giordano version

Ari Yanover
March 10 2015 10:17AM

For a while, the Calgary Flames had their defensive core figured out. Mark Giordano and TJ Brodie handled the main duties on the top pairing and Dennis Wideman and Kris Russell provided support to round out the top four. 

Then there was, well, the others: those deemed lucky enough to get maybe 10 minutes a game. They consisted of a rotation of Deryk Engelland, Ladislav Smid, and Raphael Diaz, until Smid got injured, apparently never to be seen again, and Engelland and Diaz took over full time.

It was their defence lineup. They found it all on their own. It was little and broken but still good. (Actually not really all that good, but they were winning games and scoring a lot so pretty okay. Gio and Brodie were the good ones, really.)

And then Giordano's season ended prematurely, and the Flames have had to figure out a new defensive lineup for the remaining 20-ish games, with the potential for an extra four or seven or maybe even more.

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Who are the Flames' future leaders?

Ari Yanover
March 09 2015 09:00AM

Leadership is important in most facets of life, and of course, professional sports are no exception. For a rebuilding team, it's especially crucial. After all, rebuilding teams tend to be filled with younger players, and they usually don't win a whole lot. The latter isn't quite true for the Flames this season, but the former is, as there have been tons and tons of rookie recalls.

The Flames are pretty fortunate with the group they've got, captained by Mark Giordano. Or perhaps it should be they were for fortunate. Trades, coupled with Giordano's injury, have left Kris Russell the sole survivor of the leadership group that started the season.

While his defence partner Dennis Wideman joined him with a letter, as did Jiri Hudler (who maybe should have had an "A" all along), it's possible the Flames already have their future leadership core in their lineup.

Who fits the bill?

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Jiri Hudler: The Flames' most important free agent signing

Ari Yanover
March 06 2015 10:03AM

It's the little things that help make a team.

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