Flames in seven games: 3-3-1 in season’s eighth segment

The Flames have had success throughout seven-game segments this season, except for two instances in which they were only able to maintain a 0.500 pace – this being the second time. It’s also been, so far, their weakest stretch of the year.

In their first seven-game segment, they were 4-3-0. In their second, they improved to 4-2-1. In their third, they were once again 4-3-0. In their fourth, they improved to 5-1-1. In their fifth, they kept it up with a 5-2-0. In the sixth, they fell to 3-2-2. In the seventh, they shot up to 6-0-1. It’s been a bit downhill since then. Will it last?

Underlying numbers via Natural Stat Trick.

Team stats

Now at 34-16-6, the Flames are still near the top of the NHL, but other teams are catching up to them. They have a 0.661 points percentage through the season so far, down from their previous 0.684. It has them second in the NHL, and first in the Western Conference and Pacific Division.

  • Their goals for per game is 3.66, down a little from their earlier 3.71. They’re third overall in the NHL, and second among all Western Conference teams and the Pacific Division.
  • Their goals against per game is 2.93, up from their previous 2.84. They’re tied for 13th in the NHL, tied for seventh among Western Conference teams, and third in the Pacific Divison.
  • Their goal differential is +38, down from +41. It has them third in the NHL, and first among Western Conference teams and the Pacific Division.
  • Their powerplay is at 22.9%, down from their earlier 23.9%. It’s eighth in the NHL. They’re fourth in the Western Conference, and second in the Pacific Division.
  • Their penalty kill is at 79.1%, up slightly from their earlier 78.6%. It’s 21st in the NHL. They’re 10th in the Western Conference, and sixth in the Pacific Division.
  • At 9:07 penalty minutes per game, they’ve taken slightly more infractions, up from 9:01 earlier. They’re 22nd when it comes to penalties taken in the NHL, 11th in the Western Conference, and sixth in the Pacific Division.
  • Their 5v5 CF/60 is 58.68, up a little from their previous 58.51. It’s the eighth highest in the NHL, fourth among Western Conference teams, and third in the Pacific Divison.
  • Their 5v5 CA/60 is 53.31, up from their previous 52.29. It’s the fifth lowest in the NHL, and third lowest among Western Conference and Pacific Division teams.
  • Their 5v5 CF is 52.40%, down a little from their previous 52.81%. It’s the seventh highest in the NHL, fourth among Western Conference teams, and third in the Pacific Division.
  • Their 5v5 shooting percentage is 8.71%, up a little from 8.66%. It’s ninth in the NHL.
  • Their 5v5 save percentage is 91.73%, down a little from 91.79%. It’s 14th in the NHL.
  • Their PDO is still 100.04. It’s tied for ninth in the NHL.

So, what’s changed?

The main thing is that they’re giving up more goals. While most every other change they’ve experienced has been a relatively minor fluctuation, that they’re surrendering more goals against is their biggest problem. They started the segment off well, only giving up two goals a game prior to the All-Star break; once that passed, they’ve given up an average of four goals in their five games so far in February.

The team’s scoring dried up some over this latest segment – they had one five-goal game, and since then it’s been mostly just three goals for – but their offence is still near the top of the NHL, whereas their ability to prevent goals has fallen off. This is somewhat in line with their corsi splits, as well – they’re still generating a fair number of corsi events for, but events against have gone up.

There still aren’t any major red flags in team-wide stats, however. They could stand to take fewer penalties overall, but none of their percentages really indicate they’re due to fall off a cliff any time soon. The Flames are still playing well overall – this just hasn’t been the best stretch for them.

Player stats

First, the forwards (all situations, ordered by ice time).

Game scores courtesy of our very own Ryan Pike: 0.950 and above is considered great; 0.450-0.950 good; 0.150-0.450 fine; -0.150-0.150 bad; under -0.150 awful.

Player TOI Goals Points P/60 SH% CF% GF% OZS% Game score
Lindholm 1147:37 24 64 3.35 17.52 56.12 62.65 52.88 +1.235
Gaudreau 1135:15 29 77 4.07 16.29 60.39 66.88 68.00 +1.505
Monahan 1099:06 29 65 3.55 17.06 60.23 64.47 69.57 +1.301
Tkachuk 982:27 24 57 3.48 17.39 61.83 67.80 65.53 +1.138
Backlund 934:24 13 30 1.93 10.48 52.57 57.45 48.23 +0.776
Neal 817:51 5 15 1.10 4.13 54.74 49.18 64.76 +0.407
Bennett 734:46 10 21 1.71 11.36 55.84 53.85 61.96 +0.532
Ryan 721:40 5 20 1.66 8.47 51.24 47.06 43.59 +0.398
Jankowski 665:27 9 22 1.98 13.04 44.80 46.67 42.50 +0.412
Frolik 500:06 11 18 2.16 14.86 51.57 54.17 51.15 +0.655
Hathaway 492:09 7 9 1.10 17.50 40.31 45.95 46.43 +0.182
Czarnik 304:54 2 6 1.18 5.56 53.69 36.00 55.36 +0.293
Dube 227:58 1 5 1.32 4.55 48.10 56.25 64.04 +0.227
Mangiapane 167:25 1 3 1.08 5.00 50.70 41.67 57.81 +0.213
Quine 85:03 3 4 2.82 50.00 48.91 57.14 52.00 +0.327
Lomberg 27:55 0 0 0 0 27.27 n/a 55.56 -0.244
Rychel 18:21 0 0 0 0 36.36 50.00 40.00 -0.268
Peluso 16:27 0 0 0 0 48.15 0.00 25.00 -0.019

Some separation is occurring. While Johnny Gaudreau has calmed down some from his earlier offensive explosion, he’s still easily the best forward on the team, and Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm are no longer quite as far behind him as they previously were. Matthew Tkachuk, on the other hand, has only registered one assist over the past seven games; while he’s still a good player, his star has dimmed over this time frame, just as his shooting percentage has suffered the most out of the top four’s (with Gaudreau’s fall being the second most dramatic, and Monahan’s barely anything at all).

Mikael Backlund remains the team’s fifth best forward, while Michael Frolik appears to still have a lock down on sixth. Sam Bennett is hanging in there for seventh, and while Mark Jankowski is playing consistently as well, a couple more players appear to be creeping up to his level. James Neal, for example, while he still hasn’t been scoring goals – and still has a bizarrely low shooting percentage – has been putting up a few more assists, and his numbers are up across the board. Derek Ryan’s performance continues to go up, as well.

The most dramatic positive change among Flames forwards, however, is without a doubt Andrew Mangiapane’s rise. Scoring his first NHL goal has likely done wonders for him, but he’s just plain been a better player over this stretch; at the very least, he’s looking like a reason to preach patience with young players.

Garnet Hathaway is the only other Flames forward to have played during these seven games; the Flames have dressed the same 12 forwards each time.

The Flames’ most common line combinations at 5v5 have been:

Gaudreau Monahan Lindholm
Tkachuk Backlund Frolik
Tkachuk Backlund Bennett

The Flames have largely had the same line group as of late. If there’s anything to be gleaned from this, it’s that Frolik is the Flames’ second line right winger – or at the very least, he has been for most of the season, and certainly over these past seven games.

Now, the defence (all situations, ordered by ice time):

Player TOI Goals Points P/60 SH% CF% GF% OZS% Game score
Giordano 1336:09 12 55 2.47 8.11 56.30 62.50 48.37 +1.147
Brodie 1228:28 7 29 1.42 9.59 52.96 56.06 46.29 +0.687
Hanifin 1176:19 5 27 1.38 5.95 50.45 50.81 49.06 +0.480
Hamonic 939:07 3 12 0.77 3.80 47.39 46.55 38.39 +0.514
Andersson 811:19 1 7 0.52 1.49 48.25 56.92 60.54 +0.171
Kylington 354:28 3 6 1.02 20.00 49.54 53.33 62.14 +0.174
Valimaki 331:58 1 2 0.36 4.35 47.80 34.62 64.71 +0.172
Stone 176:18 0 4 1.36 0 48.09 35.00 50.88 +0.364
Prout 127:25 0 0 0 0 50.65 44.44 52.78 +0.132

While Mark Giordano and TJ Brodie don’t seem to be having too much in the way of problems, Travis Hamonic and Noah Hanifin haven’t had the greatest seven-game stretch, as evidenced by their declining game scores.

Someone who really seems to have grown over these past seven games, though, is Oliver Kylington. He’s overtaken Juuso Valimaki in season ice time, and he seems to be making the most of it. He’s added three points in this time frame, his scoring rates have gone up (as has his shooting percentage, dramatically so), and his offensive zone starts have gone down some. While Rasmus Andersson has been steadily staying in place, Kylington’s had much more dramatic fluctuations – most of them positive – that have brought him closer to Andersson’s level.

In contrast, Dalton Prout’s numbers dropped in the two games he dressed for.

And finally, goalies (all situations):

Player TOI SV% ldSV% mdSV% hdSV% Game score
Rittich 1850:46 0.911 0.939 0.917 0.847 +0.665
Smith 1506:39 0.889 0.951 0.903 0.780 +0.156

David Rittich is no longer infallible, it would seem. His numbers dropped over this seven-game stretch, in particular his medium-danger save percentage – his low-danger actually increased slightly, while his high-danger saves dropped just a modest amount. When once he’d easily have the sixth highest game score compared to his teammates – albeit with Backlund close to him – he’s now dropped to just above eighth.

Mike Smith, meanwhile, only dressed for two games in this seven-game stretch. His numbers didn’t really change at all, so at least the consistency there is nice.

    • The Iggy complex

      Falling back to Earth implies they were playing way above themselves. Which they were not. Their PDO of just over 100 shows they were doing exactly what they were supposed to do. The reason for the last few games is goaltending. They get even average goaltending they have a couple note wins still

  • BendingCorners

    Looking at their remaining opponents, the Flames could lose to all the good teams and still finish 17-9 for a total of 104 points. Barring a total collapse they should at least open the playoffs at home, and if they tighten up their game finishing 1st in the Pacific is still achievable. They’ve beaten all the good teams already this year; they just have to bear down and do it again.

    • Albertabeef

      They boo’d him earlier so it is what it is. This time I am actually okay with it. If they hadn’t boo’d him twice earlier I would hate him for that, but I don’t. BTW it’s only been 3 games, and we were due for a few losses.

  • Justthateasy

    Let’s face it boys and girls, this team is not that good. Johnny can be defensed quite easily until it’s giveaway time. Chucky can hardly skate. Brody won’t shoot most of the time and loves the bonehead play from time to time. Frolik is energy but that’s about it. Mangiapani has got a wicked shot but ends up getting flattened too often. Backlund is well, Backlund, from brilliance to sucking. Jankowski is too slow to get his shot off and is soft. Xyl is still in school. Hanifin non-impact. Neal is taking baby steps. Goaltending can’t do it all. The coach has to do more than run the blender.
    About all that leaves is Hathaway and Bennett and of course the captain and one assistant captain.

  • Raffydog

    Even if they do somehow make the playoffs, is anyone really that interested to see them get swept out in the first round yet again? I know I’ve seen that story enough over the years.

  • Chucky

    The last few games have exposed some areas of concern and it may just be that we are in the dog days of the season. The outlook would be far better if they had been able to turn it on and fill the net in the third but recently they have been flat or in the case of Saturday unlucky. Peters is trying to shake things up and provide some energy but so far it has not worked.
    It is always possible that they lost some intensity because at the All-star break they were way ahead of expectation and as young guys the blew off a little to much steam. It will be interesting to see if they get back some mojo now that they will be playing every second night.
    If they remain in a slump then Treliving needs to do something radical at the TDL. If you were looking for a time to encounter this type of problem this is the time you would pick. They seem pretty lucky that the bad times hit at the best time.

  • Spider you muda&@#ker

    These things happen teams go into slumps thats why its so huge that the team banked tons of points early and built up a cushion because in the past the team would be fighting for a WC spot and go into a slump and things would get bleak so Im definitely happy where they are sitting right now playoffs are looking like a sure bet

    • Spider you muda&@#ker

      Live or die with every game I get it for sure but the fan base has to be realistic the team has made a huge improvement from last year and they are trending in the right direction. You dont become a stanley cup contender overnight the window is just starting to open for the flames and hey all you have to do is make the playoffs and who knows what can happen. Look at VGK last year and Nashville a few years ago no reason why the flames cant have that type of success. Myself as a fan Im just hoping for a perennial playoff team for an extended period of time somewhat like SJ would be awesome. Even though SJ hasnt won a cup the amount of success they have had in the past 15-20 years would be really satisfying GFG

    • buts

      For as great as they have played there are big time weaknesses that anybody who knows hockey can see. Those weaknesses will make for a quick playoff exit if not addressed by management. We are 2 strong additions away from a possible cup.

  • Spider you muda&@#ker

    Born and raised Calgarian aswell but with the way the economy is here currently might have to move to BC. Anybody know how the construction industry is doing in Vancouver Island I did hear from some people that Victoria is booming right now but I could have some bad info.

    • Albertabeef

      Construction is booming but there are very few places to rent and rent is expensive. But it’s okay because that high price of rent includes rats, cockroaches, and bedbugs at no extra cost. Of course after you spent all your money on rent you can swing by “Our Place” for a free meal, coffee and socialize with the true scholars of Victoria. There is a safe injection site next door which must be great for all those diabetics who need insulin shots(ok that’s not what it’s for). But yes lots of jobs, but bring lots of cash with you. Maybe get a hold of companies ahead of time. Temp companies have tons of work too. TLC(better) and Labor Unlimited(not better) are two of the labor temp companies if you want to look them up. If you come out can you bring me a baked cannelloni from Manie’s Pizza on 17th ave and 8th street?(just kidding lol) God I miss Calgary’s restaurants.

      • Spider you muda&@#ker

        You paint a very interesting picture Albertabeef one worth considering might pick me up a habit when I get there. Not to fond of rats and bedbugs thats for sure but I am fond of eating and you need money to do that so I may have to suck it up. I was thinking once I got there I might get out of the construction industry all together and become a painter or an author what do you think my chances are lol

        • Albertabeef

          Hey there are arts here but I tell you they tend to really support the locally born artists. Emily Carr has almost god like status here lol. Raffi lives out here somewhere too and is apparently approachable lol. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDx9zqDpSik
          Ya, I had to get it unstuck from my head earlier lol. Hate when a chorus gets stuck in your head so you have to listen to the whole song to get it out lol.

          • Spider you muda&@#ker

            Oh brother those tunes are fresh in my head two little kids who love that guy. My wife wanted to get tickets and take the kids there but I almost choked when I saw the ticket prices. Maybe its time to pick up the old acoustic guitar and start writing children songs.

          • Off the wall

            I have a guitar you can use for busking.
            Since we’re placing, “skip the dishes orders” can you pick me up some CHEESE BUNS from Glamorgan Bakery in Calgary.

            I’v been craving them for years!?

  • Score When I like Nieuwendyk

    In 1989 the Stanley Cup winning Flames had 9 players with 20 goals or more that season. So far we have 4 but I expect we’ll have at least 9 by season’s end.

  • Score When I like Nieuwendyk

    If the Flames do trade for Stone as rumour has they might…they should try to first ensure he will sign long-term and obtain an additional asset back from Ottawa such as a second or third round pick if the cost is as high to acquire Stone as I expect.

      • buts

        Thanks SF for he update. How far away is Parsons in your eyes? Also do you know anything about this Boyle playing goal for the ducks tonight? He looks unreal as he is blanking the canucks after 2 periods.

        • Eggy

          considering we have be Andersson kyl and by the sounds of it Stockton’s defence have been a little loose I’m impressed with some of the starts parsons has had. Wish I could catch a game or a few of Stockton’s.

  • Albertabeef

    Lets shake up the lines and let the trashes begin lol
    Johnny Mony Tkachuk
    Mangiapane Bennett/Jankowski Lindholm
    Frolik Backlund Hathaway
    Jankowski/Bennett Ryan Neal

  • Skylardog

    Clean up the defensive end, which would clean up the GA, which would also help the PK, and we are top 8 in most of the important categories, exactly where I said we needed to be at the beginning of the season.

    However, I guess with this team, we need to push the targets to top 4 don’t we?