The Calgary Flames return home tomorrow for the first second round game in the Scotiabank Saddledome this season – and since 2004. The ‘Dome will undoubtedly be a loud and raucous place.
But there’s also a chance it could be filled with a small tinge of panic.
Here’s why I’m not completely worried for the Flames quite yet.
CORSI PLUS/MINUS, PER GAME (FORWARDS)
CORSI PLUS/MINUS, PER GAME (DEFENSE)
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
Well, who creates offense for Calgary? Primarily the team’s top players: Monahan, Gaudreau, Hudler and Brodie, with a smattering of depth guys here and there.
On the road, the Canucks and Ducks were both effective at isolating and frustrating Calgary’s top line, to the point where the only players that are in the black in terms of Corsi events are the fourth line and the bottom defensive pairing. All due respect to them – they have scored goals in the NHL – if I’m Vancouver or Anaheim, I’m not exactly quivering.
At home, the Flames aren’t exactly piling up the chances, but the game-to-game and line-by-line disparity isn’t nearly as massive. The Monahan line is able to generate stuff rather than getting their heads kicked in. And the Flames are able to decide who eats up the tough minutes at home, which is why you see specific players with rough home Corsi numbers. And, to the surprise of nobody, they’re largely the guys you probably don’t mind too much going up against the top guys on the other team.
Now, the challenge will be trying to shut down two really good Anaheim Ducks line. Even if you can get in the way of Getzlaf and Perry, you have to get past Ryan Kesler’s line, too.
It won’t be easy, but this season, nothing has been for this group.
Now, if the Ducks can take over the first game in Calgary, then I would start to get worried.