Post-Game: Oilers Gift Flames A 4-1 Win

Lest we get too negative around these here parts about the Edmonton Oilers, let’s just lay something out here.

The Edmonton Oilers were the better team than the Calgary Flames tonight.

Alas, there aren’t any points for the “better team,” and the Flames were the team that scored more goals, en route to a 4-1 home victory over the aforementioned hockey team from Edmonton.

The Oilers generally out-played and out-shot the Flames. But they were also key contributors to three of the four goals against themselves, which made all the difference in the world.


The first period was full of pep and action! The game was mostly Oilers, with the Flames content to parry and joust with them at the blueline…until Paul Byron made a nice rush up the wing. He flung the puck at the Oilers net. It ping-ponged. Confusion abounded! Nobody (in an Oilers sweater) knew where the puck was. Joe Colborne collected the puck and calmly tucked it past Victor Fasth to make it 1-0. 1:24 later, the Flames scored again. This time, it was the product of a never-ending offensive zone shift by the Flames. Heck, the Oilers line got hemmed in and could not clear it. The Flames even changed lines mid-way through this shift. Anyhow, Johnny Gaudreau took advantage of the n-th Oilers D-zone whiff and calmly tucked the puck behind Fasth to make it 2-0. 16 seconds later, he received a nice outlet pass from T.J. Brodie off the face-off (with a nice intermediary tap by Jiri Hudler so he didn’t have to break stride), entered the Oilers zone and beat Fasth again. Ben Scrivens came in after that. It was 3-0 after 20. Shots were 9-7 Flames.

Nothing really happened in the second period, which was a monument to the concept known as “Score Effect.” The Flames had no interest in over-exerting themselves, so they dumped the puck in a lot and generally let the Oilers buzz around the perimeter and tucker themselves out. The Oilers carried the puck in and did their best to generate chances, in any way they could. Nobody scored goals. Shots were 13-3 Edmonton, but primarily due to Calgary not giving a darn about trying to score.

The third period was two periods, split in half by Edmonton’s lone goal. The Flames continued to hang back for the first chunk of the third. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tipped home a Justin Schultz shot to make it 3-1. Not interested in playing a competitive game, the Flames began to push back. In another shift where the Oilers got hemmed into their own zone, Brad Hunt chased Matt Stajan behind his net, opening up Curtis Glencross for a nice back-handed feed from Stajan for a one-timer tap-in to make it 4-1. That was basically the game. Shots were 15-7 Calgary, an indication that the Flames had the game well-in-hand and didn’t feel like letting the Oilers back into it.


The Flames took advantage of the Oilers mistakes, without making too many of their own. They managed the game pretty well and when it looked like an ember of hope existed after the visitors scored a few minutes into the third period, they did their best to extinguish those embers quickly.


Johnny “Hockey” Gaudreau bolstered his Calder chances with a pair of goals in the opening frame, including the game-winning tally.


Screen Shot 2014-12-27 at 10.37.31 PM

Team Period Time Note Home Away State
Away 1 18:46 Hall 1 5 7 19 20 23 2 4 14 21 35 93 5v5
Home 1 12:54 Colborne goal 1 8 21 29 32 33 10 15 19 24 29 35 5v5
Home 1 11:29 Gaudreau goal 1 4 6 13 24 60 13 19 24 26 35 57 5v5
Home 1 11:12 Gaudreau goal 1 5 7 19 20 23 2 4 14 21 30 93 5v5
Home 1 9:49 Diaz 1 8 21 29 32 33 10 15 19 24 29 30 5v5
Away 1 8:59 Perron tip 1 4 6 13 24 60 2 16 21 26 30 57 5v5
Away 1 7:43 Nugent-Hopkins 1 4 6 8 13 24 2 21 27 30 93 5v4
Home 1 6:56 Russell 1 4 6 8 13 24 5 16 23 30 84 5v4
Away 1 4:27 Yakupov 1 4 6 8 32 2 10 19 29 30 57 4v5
Away 2 18:54 Draisaitl 1 4 6 17 23 2 10 19 29 30 57 4v5
Home 2 17:00 Granlund 1 13 24 29 33 60 5 13 23 27 30 84 5v5
Away 2 15:25 Arcobello 1 4 6 13 24 60 16 19 24 26 30 57 5v5
Away 2 14:20 Purcell 1 5 7 23 32 4 14 16 24 30 93 4v5
Away 2 14:11 Piurcell 1 5 7 23 32 4 14 16 24 30 93 4v5
Away 2 10:15 Gordon tip 1 17 18 25 29 33 2 13 21 23 27 30 5v5
Home 2 8:57 Gaudreau 1 4 6 13 24 60 16 19 24 26 30 57 5v5
Home 2 7:02 Jones 1 4 6 19 20 23 2 10 15 21 29 30 5v5
Away 3 15:36 Nugent-Hopkins goal 1 4 6 13 24 60 5 16 26 30 57 84 5v5
Away 3 14:04 Yakupov 1 8 21 29 32 33 2 10 15 19 29 30 5v5
Home 3 13:22 Scrum 1 5 7 8 13 24 5 27 30 84 93 5v4
Home 3 11:59 Monahan 1 4 6 20 21 23 5 27 30 84 93 5v4
Home 3 11:56 Monahan post 1 4 6 20 21 23 5 27 30 84 93 5v4
Away 3 10:35 Yakupov 1 4 7 13 24 60 5 10 14 29 30 84 5v5
Home 3 9:44 Glencross goal 1 5 18 20 25 29 10 15 19 24 29 30 5v5
Home 3 7:24 Granlund tip 1 19 29 32 33 60 2 4 13 24 30 57 5v5
Home 3 5:06 Byron 1 5 7 19 32 60 4 14 19 26 30 84 5v5
Home 3 5:01 Brodie 1 5 7 19 32 60 4 14 19 26 30 84 5v5
Home 3 4:51 Hudler tip 1 4 6 13 24 60 16 19 26 30 57 84 5v5
Home 3 4:42 Hudler 1 4 6 13 24 60 2 16 21 26 30 57 5v5
Away 3 4:26 Nugent-Hopkins 1 4 6 13 24 60 2 16 21 30 57 93 5v5
Away 3 3:35 Eberle 1 5 7 17 18 25 4 14 19 30 84 93 5v5
Home 3 2:31 Raymond 1 8 21 29 32 33 5 10 15 29 30 84 5v5
Away 3 0:45 Nugent-Hopkins 1 4 6 17 23 4 14 16 19 84 93 4v5
Away 3 0:04 Hall 1 4 17 29 4 14 16 19 84 93 3v5
# Player EV PP SH
1 HILLER, JONAS   14 9   4 1   0 6
4 RUSSELL, KRIS 18:31 5 5 02:43 3 1 03:40 0 4
5 GIORDANO, MARK 16:45 4 2 03:17 1 0 03:16 0 2
6 WIDEMAN, DENNIS 16:48 5 4 02:59 3 1 03:07 0 3
7 BRODIE, TJ 17:19 3 3 03:01 1 0 03:24 0 2
8 COLBORNE, JOE 08:38 3 1 02:41 2 1 01:49 0 1
13 GAUDREAU, JOHNNY 13:24 5 5 03:10 2 1 00:00 0 0
17 BOUMA, LANCE 10:34 0 2 00:00 0 0 04:05 0 3
18 STAJAN, MATT 10:41 1 2 00:00 0 0 02:06 0 0
19 JONES, DAVID 13:46 5 1 00:06 0 0 00:00 0 0
20 GLENCROSS, CURTIS 12:17 3 1 02:44 2 0 00:00 0 0
21 RAYMOND, MASON 09:03 3 1 03:02 2 0 00:00 0 0
23 MONAHAN, SEAN 12:26 2 1 02:43 2 0 02:44 0 4
24 HUDLER, JIRI 12:46 5 5 02:52 2 1 00:00 0 0
25 BOLLIG, BRANDON 08:57 1 2 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
29 ENGELLAND, DERYK 13:27 6 2 00:00 0 0 00:35 0 1
32 BYRON, PAUL 12:16 6 1 00:21 0 0 02:10 0 3
33 DIAZ, RAPHAEL 11:43 5 2 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
60 GRANLUND, MARKUS 15:34 8 5 00:21 0 0 00:38 0 0
Period Totals EV PP 5v3 PP SH 5v3 SH
1 5 4 4 2 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0
2 3 5 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0
3 10 7 7 5 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 1


Screen Shot 2014-12-27 at 11.06.08 PM

Screen Shot 2014-12-27 at 11.06.17 PM


The Flames won!

Calgary (19-15-3) will return to action on Monday night when they’ll host the Los Angeles Kings, the defending Stanley Cup champions, in a return engagement from that thrilling OT comeback prior to the Christmas break. Based on that alone, I bet it’ll be worth the price of admission.

  • beloch

    Just another example that advanced stats are completely useless.

    I think the advanced stats have conflicted the outcome of the game for EVERY single game the Flames have played this year.
    One of you advanced stats geeks please feel free to correct me.

    What a joke……


    • Derzie

      Whoever trashed this please enlighten us. Carrying the puck and playing keep-away around the perimeter produces glowing stats but does not win hockey games. The Oil certainly did NOT play a better game than the Flames. Not even close.

    • prendrefeu

      There’s fault on both sides. Proponents of these stats do become over-reliant and forget hockey is an extremely difficult game to predict with much success, while those skeptical of the stats assume any discrepancy between the nightly results and the numbers means the numbers must be worthless.

      The issue, as per usual, comes back to sample size. And part of the problem with these stats becoming more pervasive in hockey-talk is this term becomes a small disclaimer rather than a fundamental part of the discussion, which it should be.

      These stats CANNOT predict which team will win each night, no way. Nor can they perfectly predict the playoff landscape in a given season, either.
      But what they CAN do is give us hints that the 2012 Kings could be a much better team than their 8th-seed finish suggests, that the 2013-14 Leafs could be playing over their heads and, finally, that the old school narrative of the “young and talented” Avalanche coming off a division championship may not be as accurate as some people think.

      None of these statistics assume to ever approach a point where you can input all of a player and team’s numbers into a computer and have exactly what will happen spat out. Their use is limited to trying to paint a more accurate picture than wins and losses over an extended period of time, which they certainly do.

  • beloch

    Ryan, with respect and as you noted, the Flames made very few mistakes and they took advantage of the Oiler mistakes. By definition that means the Flames played a better game than the Oilers and the Oilers were not, therefore, the better team.

    Plus, there’s the whole 4-1 margin of victory thing.

    • beloch

      “How about “incidental” stats.”

      Well said! This season’s difference in results between the Flames and the Oilers exposes the shortcomings of so-called “advaced stats”. In statistical terms the “confidence level” of explaning game results is +/- 50%!

    • Burnward

      They’re called “advanced stats” because they are derived from discrete in-game events that can be tallied (shots, goals, hits, etc). No one’s trying to make a moral claim about their validity compared to other stats, but it’s important to remember that the stats themselves are already the product of some analysis.

  • prendrefeu

    I watched the full game, even when most people would have tuned out after the 1st period.

    By the eye test, the Flames outplayed the Oilers for 70% of the game, even when they were in their own zone the Flames had a better sense of “control” of the situation.

    The Flames also scored. Four times. They also held off of a 5 on 3 to end the game.

    They also made less mistakes.

    There was even a moment, just prior to the last Flames goal, where the puck was shot across the rink to no-one, and not a single Oiler player moved towards the puck, but Giordano very casually (as if he was bored) skated up to the puck on a line change and moved it back towards the net without a moment of being harassed by an Oiler – resulting in a goal moments later. And the Oilers outplayed the Flames tonight? What?

    Now, I read here that the Oilers were the better team. Huh.

    I also read #DIV/0!

    Someone is trying to divide by zero.

    Apt, no?

    • BIGFlamesFan

      I was at the game, and saw exactly what you did.

      Although the Oil did at times have sustained zone play, the majority of shots they took were from the outside, open lane to the net(no traffic in front) and absolutely nobody crashing the crease for a rebound.

      Flames took the lead and then put it in cruise control, until the lucky deflection woke them up again. They then carried the play to the buzzer.

      That Oilers team is indeed broken, and it makes the whole BoA simply a nostalgic memory.

      Would be nice if “Death Valley Alberta” would make a revival sometime in the next decade, but I don’t see the Oil holding up their end; at least in Calgary we are trending the right way.

  • The Last Big Bear

    The Oilers were the better team…they lost 4-1!

    Well, when you get up 3-0 you coast all the way to the bank…and lots of perimeter shots by the Oilers after they got down 3-0.


  • prendrefeu

    I believe that mathematics and stats analysis is one means to end but it is not the be all and end all of discussion. I also believe that the practice is still in necessary development.

    So would the counter to the counter-arguments be “well, if enough games are played with the same stats line the Oilers would be more likely to win” ? Just like the old adage of a coin being flipped, eventually it will be 50% because the stats, in the case of a coin, indicate 50% chance of either heads or tails landing up?

    Unfortunately the season is not infinitely long. Nor are the playoffs.
    Can advanced stats get advanced enough to address the 82 game season and playoffs? 82 is finite. A coin flip 82 times is *not* guaranteed to come out 50% even if the stats say it will. Forget the year-to-year thing: players train in the off season, or they age over time, or they get injured – we may never be able to add up the numbers of a team by the paper trail of its players accurately enough to predict the winner by the drop of the first puck in October. Heck, is there any calculation to account for human psyche, how it is affected by things in day-to-day life or unforeseen events beyond the rink, and how that will affect performance?

    • Derzie

      Yup. Stats are a branch of basic math. They are often used to make insane claims “Now With 88% more Fun!!”. Statisticians are generally hobbyists, not mathematicians. The term ‘advanced’ is akin to people who wish to be smart inventing a thing called Mensa. Truly intelligent people don’t make up terms to describe their biological advantage over others. Just those that feel inadequate do. Long story short, the stats community/dabblers have been very “lucky” up until this season. With parity being what it is, hockey gave the illusion of being predictable. Making the stats look like they were worthy of being labelled as’advanced’. The Alberta teams have killed the illusion and exposed a basic flaw with possession based numbers. The numbers are just too incidental to be predictive. The post I’ve quoted gives fine examples of what is not being measured. The good news is most of us are not, or never will be, general mangers of professional hockey teams so the flawed stats can’t hurt us. If you play fantasy hockey (where this whole movement started) well keep on trying. That or buy a lotto ticket. Same diff (wink).

  • The Last Big Bear

    This game was men against boys. The men had already won the game half way through the 1st period, and were just going through the motions for the next 50 minutes.

    The Oilers had 2 good shifts by my count.

    My numerical analysis also confirms what some of the other commenters here have pointed out, which is that you’re on crack Pike.

  • Derzie


    I am not sure I was making a moral argument concerning “advanced” stats. In fact, I am sure I was not. Nor was I implying that they do not have their place. But the term advanced has an aloof and self-congratulatory sound to it to me.

    I believe the term incidental, meaning accompanying or secondary, is a much more meaningful and accurate reflection of what these stats represent and their true value.

    • beloch

      In Physics, electric current direction indicates the flow of a theoretical positive charge carrier. To this day, we teach kids that current flows in the opposite direction that electrons actually flow because the concept of current was developed before we learned the polarity of charge carriers. This kind of F-up happens all over the place. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. It’s called the “grandfather rule”.

      “Advanced stats” was the term coined to describe corsi, fenwick, etc.. I don’t know who coined it. I don’t care. That’s what they’re called now. You can call them something else if you really want to, but most of us won’t know what you’re talking about and will probably think you’re daft.

    • Burnward

      Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply you were saying something that you weren’t. I’m not really sure what else to call it, though — a lot of people commenting on this site seem frustrated by advanced stats proponents’ arguments that the stats don’t jive with reality. All I meant was that the term “advanced” is meant to underscore the analyzed nature of corsi, fenwick, etc. Because those numbers are derived mathematically from discrete, observable, and quantififiable in-game stats, they are “advanced” from in-game observation — not _better_, they are just a different area of hockey stats from goals, shots, etc.

      I just think it’s ridiculous to declare that advanced stats are entirely useless because they can’t predict tomorrow’s results, or because some teams manage to defy predictions over the course of a season. Paying attention to possession numbers simply helps bolster a team’s ability to measure their success (or lack thereof). It’s also important to note that Corsi and Fenwick are very rudimentary calculations that proxy a team’s actual possession to shots for/against. The EA NHL games have been tracking possession time for years, and it communicates a similar message. There’s far more interesting work to be done with zone entries, shot quality, and whatever else people are currently working on. But when I watch Wideman score on our net from 200ft away, or Gaudreau bank a pass off Douhty’s skate into the net, I can’t help but think I’m watching PDO in action.

      At the end of the day, I’m just excited to care about Flames games in the second year of our rebuild.

  • beloch

    As I said in the game thread, I suspected this would be one of those games in which the flames were out-shot, out-corsi’d, and out-fenwick’d, but would have more scoring chances. The Flames were passing a lot and not shooting much while the Oilers were lobbing the puck towards the net from very low risk areas of the ice. This padded their shots/corsi/fenwick without generating a lot of scoring chances. Thanks to Ryan, we know that stat was 14 to 9 for the Flames.

    I also said in the game thread that scoring chances are likely more predictive of goals and wins than any of the other advanced stats. This is because scoring chances are closer to the money, so to speak. Games like this are one reason why some stat-hounds are starting to collect this stat. However, everything I’ve said about scoring chance data is conjecture. At present, there simply isn’t enough of it available to prove much of anything. We don’t even have scoring chance data for every game the Flames have played this season! I hope somebody starts tracking this league-wide and publishes it in a format friendly to data crunchers.

    As for those shouting down advanced stats because a team was outshot but won one game… Do you have any idea how stats work? Even the first clue? If you did, you’d realize why, even if everything I said about scoring chance data being more predictive is bunk, one game or even one team’s season is not enough to invalidate what corsi and fenwick tell us.

  • Skuehler

    Man, that first sentence of the summary is a real downer. ‘Don’t trash the oilers, they were the better team”??!

    Our forecheck was awesome, Hiller was solid, their goalie and defence gave the game away, their offence was all from the perimeter, the flames blocked shots, we out hit them. And out skilled them. And out willed them.

    How does that make them the better team!!??

    That was a mess of an oiler team tonight. RNH was the only bright spot.
    The flames arent world beaters yet but they play hard and they play the game with discipline and commitment.

  • Skuehler

    According to the above Scoring Chances diagram:

    Flames’ scoring chances: 17
    Oilers’ scoring chances: 15

    Bizarre Conclusion: “The Edmonton Oilers were the better team than the Calgary Flames tonight.”

  • Skuehler

    The stats tell us the Oilers generated more shot attempts. A human interpreted the data to say the Oilers played a better game.

    Metrics is just information. Potentially useful information if the user is qualified.

    The so called advanced stats movement is simply an acknowledgement by the hockey world that more information is useful. The misinterpretation of the movement is that the conclusions are valid.

  • RedMan

    Ryan, the question most of us have about your post can be summed up by looking at David Staple’s notes about the game in the excellent Cult of Hockey blog:

    “Calgary outhit the visitors by a 33-11 count, including 10 straight and 24-7 overall during the decisive first period thrust. They also held a wide edge in the faceoff circle at 38 draws won to 23, and dominated scoring chances by a 20-8 margin, including 7-2 on special teams. Shots on goal were even at 27 apiece, but that was deceptive as Edmonton sent a bunch of prayers from outside in a tepid second period that saw them outshoot their hosts 13-3 while generating but a single scoring chance.”

    Based on Staple’s numbers, and based on your own scoring chance numbers, how do you explain your conclusion that the Oilers were a better? Is it based simply on CORSI, and if so why give it such weight when compared to the other statistics?

    I support the use of statistics to increase our understanding of the game – but in a sensible way. What I see here unfortunately is a growing trend by Flamesnation to use data indiscriminately to support conclusions that are not warranted.

      • RedMan

        now that was a well thought out and well presented conclusion from cult of hockey. I haven’t been there before, but you can bet I will be adding the site to my bookmarks now, thanks!

        edit: should have quoted “regularstatsguy”

    • ChinookArchYYC

      It would be nice to hear from Pike on this one, because your exactly right. The interpretation of the stats is where he’s gone wrong here.

      At no time, after the 8.33 minute mark was the game in jeopardy for the Flames. Despite the Flames going into a defensive shell and allowing the Oilers to carry the play in the 2nd period (AKA score effect), the Oilers could hardly be described as dangerous. The shots they managed to generate were all from the outside, and no Oiler was willing to go to the dirty areas, in front of the net. Looking at possession alone is a mistake in any game, but is a quick way to cheat and get a glimpse of how the game went. I prefer Fenwick Close and scoring chance data, if I didn’t watch a game. Unfortunately, the game was only close for the first 8 minutes.

      There’s nothing wrong with fancy stats, but they must be interpreted correctly.

    • Bean-counting cowboy

      Agree 100%. I see a concerning trend here on FN to come to a conclusion… the data to support the conclusion… always Corsi. Lambert did it nearly every article there for a while. Makes me wonder if writers even watch all the games.


    • mk

      Well said – using the right data with the proper context says a lot more about the game than ‘they lost the shot differential battle’. I don’t know how someone can look at the game/game-data and say the Oilers were the better team.

      • ChinookArchYYC

        Looking at the game and Ryan’s initial comment my conclusion is that he added a ridiculous and controversial comment a la Lambert to stir things up and get lots of responses. Perhaps it’s the ad negotiation season? Nobody with Hockey sense and eyes in their head is going to say, seriously, that that Oilers outplayed the Flames last game. But, the more typical trashing of the Oilers as incompetent and terrible is getting old, especially as they refuse to address their issues while at least appearing to be not furiously tanking for their next “saviour”.

        What is most concerning is that we at FN allow this lazy writing to continue rather than demanding better. I would have thought that the stats hounds would be really digging in to the numbers this year to get better and prove their case rather than fall back on poorly constructed and supported claims…

  • otto

    “The Edmonton Oilers were the better team than the Calgary Flames tonight.”
    You sound like someone who didn’t watch the game.Statements like this are why its so hard for some people to accept advanced stats.

  • RedMan

    “…Alas, there aren’t any points for the “better team,”…”

    yes – there are points for the better team, it’s called “2 points in the standings” and the better team earned them.

    I’d like to know what game you were watching that you felt that the Oilers were the better team??? You see one single metric and base it on that?

    it’s conclusions like this that taint the whole stats evolution.

    Great win, and while the Oilers shot themselves in the foot with crappy goal-tending and defensive brain farts, the Flames took full advantage and buried the puck and the Oil quickly, and the game was over soon after it started. If you have any other conclusions based on any metrics, then their is something wrong with your magic decoder ring!

  • Nick24

    I was at the game last night and I think one of the funniest parts of the game was when a disgruntled Oilers fan threw his jersey on the ice. You know things are bad when fans in other buildings are ditching your colors

    • Burnward

      Yep. This is 2 games now where Bollig has looked and played effectively. The crossbar that he hit in L.A., plus drawing a penalty in the same game that started the “Johnny Hockey natty hatty.”

  • mattyc

    Honestly, people, stats do not replace interpretation, they replace lazy narratives.

    re: stats in this particular game: even Engelland was 6-2 in the chance count – in a game where the Flames led for 55 minutes. If that isn’t a definitive number for how this game went…

  • Pit Martin

    Ryan: Your credibility as a knowledgeable blogger is now zero. How in the world can you say that the Oilers outplayed the Flames? Once up 3-0 the Flames took it easy and stopped pushing. Once the Oilers scored a goal then the Flames turned it up again and the Oilers were so outclassed it was ridiculous. Give your head a shake man.