It’s been a long season, obviously, but as we creep into the final 10 games of this Calgary Flames season, let’s re-visit what’s probably considered the watershed moment for the club this year.
That’s right, the absolute gong show of a night at Rogers Arena on January 18.
Five simultaneous fights, eight ejections and the Flames had to roll with just a trio of defenders for the better part of the game. And Vancouver’s coach invaded their locker room area and Bob Hartley ate a fine for starting the fourth line. The game has been held up, both by those around the team and elsewhere, as a moment were the team really came together.
But have the Flames fared markedly differently since that game as opposed to before it?
Record: [since] 14-9-0; [before] 16-26-7
Goals For: [since] 71 (3.09 per game); [before] 106 (2.16 per game)
Shots For: [since] 630 (27.39 per game); [before] 1301 (26.55 per game)
Power-Play: [since] 63 PPGF (operating at 19.05%); [before] 160 PPGF (operating at 13.75%)
Shooting Percentage: [since] 11.27%; [before] 8.02%
Goals Against: [since] 55 (2.39 per game); [before] 153 (3.12 per game)
Shots Against: [since] 583 (25.35 per game); [before] 1436 (29.31 per game)
Penalty Kill: 53 PPGA (operating at 86.79%); [before] 162 PPGA (operating at 80.25%)
Save Percentage: [since] 90.57%; [before] 89.35%
PDO: [since] 101.8; [before] 97.5
Fighting Majors: [since] 5 (0.22 per game); [before] 25 (0.51 per game, though it’s 0.42 if you take out the brawl itself)
Obviously, most metrics are experiencing an up-tick. A lot of that can be attributed to a PDO progression-to-the-mean; better shooting percentage results in more goals for, better save percentage results in fewer against. And both can be manifest in the big jumps in special teams effectiveness.
(Excluded are guys that didn’t play post-Rumble, so no Sven Baertschi or Tim Jackman here.)
It’s pretty apparent here which guys are driving the bus for the Flames lately. But the huge PDO correction seems to have a team-wide effect. Almost all of the Flames regulars are producing more now than previously.
I’m skipping a goalie comparison because the Flames used four different guys (Ramo, Berra, Ortio & MacDonald), all for such a small amount that comparisons are meaningless.
SUM IT UP
Did the brawl at Rogers Arena on January 18 turn the Flames from a rag-tag group of hockey players into a bonafide team? The numbers look good, but again, I’m not convinced it’s anything more than bad puck-luck course-correcting over a long season.
But on a certain level, it’s really funny that Brian McGrattan has more goals (2) than fights (1) since that night.