Post-Game: Flames Hold On, Beat The Champs (Again)

On Saturday night, the Calgary Flames got an early lead against the woeful Edmonton Oilers and went into cruise control. The Oilers got a third period goal to make it close, but the Flames were good enough to keep them at bay without any effort.

Tonight’s game was creepily similar, except for the fact that their opponent tonight was the Los Angeles Kings, the defending Stanley Cup champions, and that the hometown team needed a much more concerted effort to hold onto their lead and get two points.

But after two first period goals in rapid succession, the Calgary Flames held on – despite a second period Kings marker – to win their 20th game of the season, this time by a 2-1 score.

THE RUNDOWN

The game was pretty back and forth until mid-way through the first, when Jiri Hudler carried the puck into the Kings zone and drew a couple defenders over to him, opening up Curtis Glencross for a pass and one shot later, it was 1-0 Calgary. The Flames struck again shortly after, as Johnny Gaudreau, Hudler and Markus Granlund had a passing clinic, ending with Granlund tapping a shot past Jonathan Quick to make it 2-0. The period ended with shots at 7-7, but the Flames made the most of their chances and had a lead.

The second period featured a Kings team that really wanted to score a goal, and a Flames team that hoped that the clock would run just a little bit faster. The Kings out-shot the Flames 10-3 in the period, and finally beat Jonas Hiller late via a Tyler Toffoli shot in the last minute of the period. The Kings honestly could’ve had a few more, but Hiller (and his sweet new black mask) were up to the task.

The third period was just like the second, except it seemed like the clock ran even slower. Heck, the final buzzer went…and then the teams were called back onto the ice as there was still another 0.8 seconds left to go. Jonas Hiller was really good. The Flames tried their darnest to keep the Kings to the outside while being out-shot 10-5 by the visitors. The Kings scored zero goals. Everyone breathed a hearty sigh of relief.

WHY THE FLAMES WON

Jonas Hiller was better than Jonathan Quick.

I mean, the Flames did make the most of their chances and did their best to play a smart defensive game afterwards – rather than going shot-for-shot with a powerhouse team. But ultimately, the reason the Flames didn’t lose this game was because Hiller was great when he had to be.

RED WARRIOR

Jonas Hiller. 26 saves and a few real beauties late in the game, allowing the Flames to capture two points against a divisional rival.

SCORING CHANCES

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Team Period Time Note Home Away State
Away 1 16:41 Kopitar 1 5 7 19 20 23 2 11 27 32 74 77 5v5
Home 1 16:29 Monahan 1 5 7 19 20 23 2 11 27 32 74 77 5v5
Home 1 14:24 Hudler 1 13 24 29 33 60 2 10 13 27 32 71 5v5
Home 1 14:14 Granlund 1 13 24 29 33 60 2 10 13 27 32 71 5v5
Away 1 11:11 Kopitar tip 1 5 7 17 18 6 8 11 32 73 77 4v5
Away 1 9:51 Richards tip 1 5 7 17 18 5 10 22 23 27 32 4v5
Home 1 7:48 Glencross goal 1 5 7 20 23 24 6 8 10 23 32 71 5v5
Home 1 6:45 Granlund goal 1 5 7 8 21 32 6 8 22 32 70 73 5v5
Home 1 3:54 Giordano 1 5 7 13 20 24 2 27 32 70 73 5v4
Away 1 2:39 Brown 1 4 6 8 21 60 8 11 13 23 32 55 5v5
Home 1 2:14 Diaz 1 8 29 32 33 60 5 10 13 14 32 55 5v5
Home 1 0:06 Colborne 1 5 7 8 21 32 5 11 14 23 32 55 5v5
Away 2 15:51 Kopitar 1 4 6 19 20 23 2 11 14 23 27 28 5v5
Away 2 14:26 Williams 1 6 8 23 29 5 14 23 27 28 32 4v5
Away 2 12:37 King 1 6 18 19 20 29 2 10 27 32 71 74 5v5
Home 2 11:46 Bouma 1 17 18 25 29 33 5 10 13 32 55 71 5v5
Away 2 11:31 Muzzin 1 4 6 8 21 32 6 8 14 23 28 32 5v5
Away 2 10:27 Martinez 1 5 7 19 20 23 2 11 27 32 74 77 5v5
Home 2 10:20 Monahan 1 5 7 19 20 23 2 11 27 32 74 77 5v5
Away 2 9:12 Doughty 1 4 6 8 21 32 6 8 14 23 28 32 5v5
Away 2 0:51 Toffoli goal 1 5 7 13 24 60 6 8 22 32 70 73 5v5
Away 2 0:15 Toffoli 1 5 7 13 23 24 6 8 22 32 70 73 5v5
Away 3 13:39 Carter 1 5 7 20 24 60 2 11 27 32 74 77 5v5
Home 3 12:02 Bollig 1 5 7 17 18 25 6 8 22 32 70 73 5v5
Home 3 11:27 Jones 1 5 7 19 20 23 2 11 27 32 73 74 5v5
Away 3 8:21 Pearson 1 13 24 29 33 60 2 22 27 32 70 73 5v5
Away 3 4:31 Muzzin 1 4 6 17 18 20 6 8 11 32 74 77 5v5
Away 3 0:04 Carter 1 5 7 8 18 24 6 8 11 73 74 77 5v5
# Player EV PP SH
1 HILLER, JONAS   11 13   1 0   0 3
4 RUSSELL, KRIS 21:34 0 5 01:21 0 0 00:44 0 0
5 GIORDANO, MARK 19:35 7 6 02:27 1 0 02:35 0 2
6 WIDEMAN, DENNIS 22:45 0 6 01:40 0 0 00:41 0 1
7 BRODIE, TJ 19:34 7 6 02:32 1 0 02:35 0 2
8 COLBORNE, JOE 12:29 3 4 01:31 0 0 01:10 0 1
13 GAUDREAU, JOHNNY 12:26 2 3 02:38 1 0 00:00 0 0
17 BOUMA, LANCE 12:32 2 1 00:00 0 0 02:20 0 2
18 STAJAN, MATT 11:06 2 3 00:00 0 0 02:00 0 2
19 JONES, DAVID 15:32 3 4 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
20 GLENCROSS, CURTIS 15:51 4 6 02:09 1 0 00:00 0 0
21 RAYMOND, MASON 11:39 2 3 00:32 0 0 00:00 0 0
23 MONAHAN, SEAN 16:19 4 4 01:22 0 0 01:04 0 1
24 HUDLER, JIRI 13:56 3 5 02:38 1 0 00:00 0 0
25 BOLLIG, BRANDON 09:09 2 0 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
29 ENGELLAND, DERYK 11:04 4 2 00:00 0 0 01:25 0 1
32 BYRON, PAUL 10:53 3 2 00:50 0 0 00:44 0 0
33 DIAZ, RAPHAEL 09:54 4 1 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
60 GRANLUND, MARKUS 13:42 3 4 00:20 0 0 00:42 0 0
Period Totals EV PP 5v3 PP SH 5v3 SH
1 8 4 7 2 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0
2 2 8 2 7 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
3 2 4 2 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

ZONE ENTRIES

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SUM IT UP

The Flames now bring a 20-15-3 record into their final game of 2014, another home date with the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers play the Kings tomorrow night, so there’s a good chance they’ll be even more tired and demoralized than they have been when they return to Calgary for a rematch of Saturday night’s game.

    • mk

      Definitely not me, that’s for sure. Loving it!

      There’s a weird quirk of the schedule that seems to happen every year – the Flames always seem to have played more games than anyone. Am I imagining things, or is this a thing? I feel like I’m always scoreboard watching because all the other teams have games in hand.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    It’s impresive there were only 26 shots on net tonight. It could have easily been 35 shots against, particularly when the Kings generated 69 Corsi events against the good guys.

  • mattyc

    Was fortunate enough to be at the game tonight. Was pretty impressed with our transition game, especially in the first period. Stajan in particular was very effective at generating long possessions, and probably saved the flames the game with his diving poke check of Kopitar at the side of the net late.

    Also thought that over the last couple games Granlund has looked pretty lost in the D zone. He does lots of great stuff with the puck, but seems pretty raw without it.

    I should add that I also thought Russell was excellent tonight. His skating is just great, and he was very solid and generated a couple good chances.

  • The Last Big Bear

    The Oilers SUCK.

    Sooo hard. I have difficulty wrapping my head around it.

    It’s like the dude from Office Space:

    “Ever since 2006, every day for the Oilers has been worse than the day before it. Which means that every single day you see an Oilers fan, its on the worst day in franchise history. Yesterday was the worst day in Oilers history. Until today. Today is the worst day in franchise history. Tomorrow will be worse.”

    Its like watching an eclipse or something… just a phenomenon of nature that you can’t create or replicate, no matter how hard you were to try.

  • DoubleDIon

    Great win by the Flames. Gaudreau is awesome. Hudler is severely under-appreciated.

    Mason Raymond looks completely lost out there. I get that the guy is streaky, but he’s soft, turnover prone and not great getting the puck out. He needs a turn in the pressbox when Backlund and Jooris are back. Stempniak was streaky, but at least he did other things well when he wasn’t scoring.

  • RedMan

    the Flames were toe to toe until they were up a couple goals. then, like in the game the before, they went into a prevent-defense.

    As a team they will need to learn to keep the foot on the throat – but all in all they are really making me happy in the development and direction the team has taken.

  • RedMan

    I too was disappointing in Raymond in this game – there were a number of times he actually veered away from a hit and avoided contact at the expense of making a play.

    • slapshot444

      Dude, do you have any idea how big the Kings are? And you know he’s not playing hurt because? Sometimes better to move away and play another day, it’s not the playoffs yet.

      • DoubleDIon

        If he is hurt sit him. He’s been outperformed by every player on the roster and half the kids on the farm. No passengers or pussies. I like that he’s from Cochrane but he’s one season removed from a tryout NHLer. Gaudreau gets abused all game long and doesn’t turn away. It’s the reason we won the last 2 games. Raymond is a turnover machine. Every time he touches it the play ends up dead and coming back at us.

        • Toofun

          Cant really argue with that. He played way hungrier & aggressive earlier in the season, was getting better scoring chances & letting the play end on his stick without a decent chance. Whatever it is, he may not be 100% but if that’s the case, I agree, the young guys were way more effective than he has been since he’s been back. You have to wonder if a guy like him gets a little anxious that a team is doing so well with young talented players drooling for every minute he gets & he comes back before he should. Maybe he could see the longer he is out, the more difficult it will be to get back in. I call that natural selection. Believe me, it sucks to get old.

          During that 2nd period & even parts of the 3rd, I found I was getting frustrated with how we totally collapsed into a defensive shell again. In past years when we had the old vets & maxed out on the cap we would have been all over that saying this team doesn’t have what it takes. & rightfully so. Last night I realized, wow, the Kings have won 2 Stanley Cups in the last 3 years. This is a very good hockey team. They are big, confident(2 cups in 3 years, who wouldn’t be) they play a heavy playoff style game. I can see if they even finish 8th, who in their right mind would want to play them in the 1st round. Flames, well we were supposed to be the consensus 30th place team in the league this year. What we saw last night was the team learning how to be an elite team. Something I didn’t think would happen this year. Take the win & 2 points, don’t get too proud about it & realize to win games consistently & minimize the puck luck factor, you need to play more minutes of that game like they did in the 1st period. With so many young players in our line up, to play meaningful games like last night is so huge in their development. You could have the perspective of the Oilers for their game tonight & how much meaning that game has to their players other than good, Management want another loss so we can get a top 2 draft pick. No wonder guys are wanting out of there.

  • Toofun

    Nice to see Calgary hold on to this one. They were on the ropes in the third against one of the toughest teams in the league and they pulled it out. It’s great that we get to watch and cheer for these guys. How many posts does Monahan have to hit before they start going in? What a shot he has.

  • DoubleDIon

    Hold on everyone. /Lest we start to get to positive around here, lets not forget that the Flames were clearly, by far, without question, unequivocally the worst team on the ice last night./

    • Toofun

      It must be some new paradigm (supposed one) or perhaps because this is supposed to be an “Advanced Stats” site(?) but where oh where does anyone think the “worst team” out there is the one who won the game, clearly dominating the scoreboard (the ultimate, primo, and ONLY thing that matters at the end of the day) and then shutting down the other team for 2/3 of the game? Give your head a shake!

      If you want to make the point that the LAK dominated Corsi, dominated shots or other largely irrelevant stat then fine. But dominated the game? Please! Why don’t you put your analytical skill to better use than repeating that worthless drivel and dig into all aspects of the game and figure out why the Flames won rather than the cop-out “luck” or small sample size.

      Both teams had some great chances, the Flames beat the LAK in converting them to goals. Both goalies made some incredible stops, the Flames beat the LAK by making more than they did. And when up by 2 goals and the focus shifted to air-tight defense vs pressing offence to preserve that earned lead, the Flames won that battle too.

      Anyone watching the Flames and Oilers this year have seen first-hand that Corsi and shots on goal are virtually meaningless, or at least highly misleading as to expected/actual results, especially when taken out of context of other things. It’s time to move on and dig deeper and move the discussion to things that are truly more relevant/representative of actual results.

        • RedMan

          Well… PERHAPS that is true, but it didn’t seem so, and rings so like the many other stats heads’ comments focused almost solely on Corsi, regression…

          • DoubleDIon

            The “/” were intended to indicate the beginning and end of sarcasm. Isn’t that the accepted blogger font for sarcasm? Anyway, the sarcasm was directed directly, in a direct manner, at Mr. Pike, and his opening statement of the Oilers post game wrap up, a statement which he still has not put forth an explanation. For what its worth, the fine folks at Matchsticks and Gasoline made the same possession based observations regarding said game that Mr. Pike did, but came up with widely different analysis/ conclusions than “the Oilers were by far the better team out there”.

            All that said, witnessing a team defy the advanced stats community analysis for half a season first hand has definitely places me firmly in the camp that while useful, there is still a lot of work to do. A cursory glance at Sabermetrics, and one becomes quickly overwhelmed by the sheer volume of stats that baseball junkies possess. What do we have in hockey? Corsi, fenwick and dump ins? In baseball, they have calculated how many wins a replacement level player add to a team over the course of a season, and are able to apply that to every player on the roster to see where they stand! Now, it’s a much slower paced and individual game, but I agree that advanced stats in hockey needs to move a much more nuanced place. All that said, I can’t even begin to make suggestions on what these nuances are. After all, I work 50-60 hours a week at something completely unrelated.

            The perfect example of the disconnect that currently exists (and Pike, feel free to show me where I am wrong) is Lambert writing an article where he shows that the Flames bottom dwelling CORSI numbers are inflated by the fact that they have trailed in games so often. And not only that, while trailing, the Flames are actually only have middling CORSI numbers anyway, so again, its all smoke and mirrors!

            And then this article followed up by a game where the Flames take a 3-0 lead half way through the first, and then take there foot of the gas for 40 minutes before actually playing the final 10 minutes. In other words, the Oilers CORSI numbers were inflated by trailing for the majority of the game, and yet PIKE concludes the Oilers were the better team?????

            Surely Pike and Lambert actually don’t disagree with each other so explicitly and fundamentally, and really it is just me who does not understand something. But I am awaiting that explanation….

    • RedMan

      I know what you mean – it is so hard to swallow these crappy wins when just recently we were dominating and winning statistically in our losses…. those losses were so awesome cause how good we corsi’d

      • DoubleDIon

        It’s weird. I do buy into advanced stats when taken into context (Blocks and chase factored in) but the Flames seem to win more than they lose when they lose possession and lose more than they win when they win possession. Even factoring in the blocks and chase effect that’s still the reality.

    • prendrefeu

      Mr WW! You were doing so well until this post lately. How in hell can you make that statement???? How would BT know Bennett would get injured & not be able to play in that tournament??? How do you know if he had that Bennett wouldn’t be outperforming McDavid or Domi? Let’s see what these kids do at the NHL level before executing judgement. I feel like I am watching the Planet of the Apes movie & you are on the High Council.

      • Legend of Weevil

        If you are as big a WW fan as you proclaim to be, you would know that I have no issue with the Bennett pick.

        It’s the goalie at 34, the overage gorilla and the Trade in the second and third rounds that were brutal…..

        WW

        • DoubleDIon

          As poorly put as your post is I agree with it. Bennett was the right pick at that spot, I didn’t know much about the defenseman Hickey, but it sounds like he’s average size and very mobile so I’m fine with it.

          The two 2nd round picks were questionable. Especially the McDonald pick. McKeown was the no brainer in the McDonald slot. I had less of a problem with the Hunter Smith pick. We have a lot of smallish skilled wingers. If he develops he could be a bigger less skilled Ferland. That said, I would have taken Brycen Martin there, but I’m from Swift Current so I may be a bit biased…haha

    • DoubleDIon

      Sam Bennett will be in the NHL next year if not this year and could outperform McDavid or Eichel (may still be in college) especially if either lands in D’Edmonton!