The Flames’ results in all game situations have been a mixed bag

The Calgary Flames’ play at even strength and on their special teams has really been a tale of two teams so far this season.

At even strength, the Flames appear to be fairly decent in the aggregate. Collectively the team has barely been outscored at even strength (29-28), which is actually pretty impressive for a team that’s 5-9-1. However, the Flames’ special teams units have been outscored 18-7 by the opposition (between power play and shorthanded goals). That’s not good, and a huge contributing factor to the team’s bad start.

Let’s dig into the specifics of just how woeful the Flames have been at special teams and how often it’s spoiled their even strength play.

AT EVEN STRENGTH

Collectively, the Flames have scored 28 goals at even strength and allowed 29. When we dig into the game-by-game breakdown, it looks like this when you ignore empty net goals:

OUTSCORED OPPOSITION

  • vs. Edmonton: 3-1
  • vs. Buffalo: 4-2
  • vs. St. Louis: 4-3
  • at St. Louis: 2-0
  • vs. Ottawa: 5-0
  • at San Jose: 3-1

OUTSCORED BY OPPOSITION

  • at Edmonton: 5-1
  • at Vancouver: 1-0
  • at Chicago: 2-0
  • at Chicago (again): 3-0
  • at Los Angeles: 5-0
  • at Anaheim: 3-0

SCORING WAS EVEN

  • vs. Carolina: 2-2
  • vs. Washington: 1-1
  • vs. Dallas: 2-2

If you ignore empty net goals, the Flames’ even strength scoring should have produced a 6-6-3 record thus far – bearing in mind that at least some of those three regulation ties probably would’ve resulted in an overtime win.

If you’re judging the team on process and not their results – their underlying numbers and not their scoring itself – the picture stays about as rosy. Based on numbers from Natural Stat Trick, the Flames had more scoring chances than the opposition at even strength in five games (they won one of them) and more high danger chances in six games (they won two of them).

SPECIAL TEAMS

The Flames’ performance looks a lot worse when you gander at their special teams scoring:

OUTSCORED OPPOSITION

  • at Edmonton: 3-1
  • at Chicago: 2-0

OUTSCORED BY OPPOSITION

  • vs. Edmonton: 3-0
  • vs. Buffalo: 1-0
  • vs. Carolina: 2-0
  • vs. St. Louis: 2-0
  • vs. Ottawa: 2-0
  • vs. Washington: 1-0
  • at San Jose: 1-0
  • at Anaheim: 2-0
  • vs. Dallas: 1-0

SCORING WAS EVEN

  • at Vancouver: 0-0
  • at St. Louis: 1-1
  • at Chicago (again): 1-1
  • at Los Angeles: 0-0

If you base it entirely off special teams results, the Flames record would be roughly 2-9-4. And again, those four “ties” would probably turn into some wins.

In terms of process, the picture is about as bad: the Flames have out-chanced the other team’s special teams units just three times (winning once) and generated more high danger chances in six games (also winning just once).

IN OTHER WORDS

The general narrative around the Flames this season has been that their good performances at even strength have been undone by bad special teams. It’s true that their special teams have been bad, but their even strength performances have been only slightly better than their results. They should probably have a win or two more than they have captured, but it’s not like they’ve been world-beaters at five on five. 

In the aggregate and game by game the Flames are a decent team at even strength, but their play in all situations needs quite a bit of work.

  • RKD

    What we need to do is fire Dave Cameron, he hasn’t made any adjustments because he has no clue out there. Why else did Ottawa fire him, because there were way better options out there. Someone suggested if GG is axed Cameron was brought in for that reason to take over. If Cameron is head coach, we riot. If only we had a shot blocking d-man, oh wait…

  • Juan Valdez

    That team sure did suck last night. They just plain sucked. I’ve seen teams suck before but they were the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked.

  • dontcryWOLF88

    So then the failing PP has nothing to do with Monahan and Gaudreau not scoring?

    How come special teams sucked last year? Was that GG and Cameron as well?

    …hmmm. I have a feeling fixing these issues is more complicated than suggested so far.

  • dontcryWOLF88

    In my opinion, last nights game didnt suck that much. Half the period was tilted towards the Stars. 2nd period was all us. Third period was going good, until they scored. Then it wasnt exactly a collapse, but way to scrambly and anxious to produce the result they needed.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    A quick check of the standings when play ended on 11 November 2015 reveals that of the 8 teams in the East that had playoff spots, only 5 actually made the playoffs. The same thing in the West.
    Montreal and Vancouver were also division leaders at this time last year. The Flames were 6 points out of a playoff spot. Also on the outside looking in were the San Jose Sharks.

    Bottom line is that no team has ever won or lost the Stanley Cup by Remembrance Day.