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Photo Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Flames 2021-22 seven game segments: 5-1-1 in first segment

The Calgary Flames have completed the first seven games of their 2021-22 regular season schedule. With seven games in the books, we’re going to be reviewing seven game segments once again!

Their first segment saw them win five of seven games, with a 5-1-1 record overall.

Underlying numbers via Natural Stat Trick.

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Game by game

(Percentage stats in this table are 5v5.)

Date Opponent Result CF% SC% HDC% xGF% PP PK
Oct. 16 Oilers (@) 5-2 L 63.4 67.6 58.8 60.0 1-for-4 2-for-4
Oct. 18 Ducks (vs) 3-2 OTL 60.8 75.0 68.8 67.9 0-for-3 1-for-2
Oct. 21 Red Wings (@) 3-0 W 46.2 46.0 50.0 36.1 0-for-2 3-for-3
Oct. 23 Capitals (@) 4-3 OTW 49.4 47.4 30.8 36.0 1-for-3 4-for-4
Oct. 25 Rangers (@) 5-1 W 52.9 53.6 31.8 43.2 1-for-2 2-for-2
Oct. 26 Devils (@) 5-3 W 52.8 53.7 57.1 52.5 2-for-3 3-for-4
Oct. 28 Penguins (@) 4-0 W 45.0 45.3 41.2 39.7 0-for-2 4-for-4
All 5-1-1 52.7 55.2 47.1 48.4 5-for-19 19-for-23

The Flames scored first in six of their seven games, all but the Edmonton game. They never trailed (in-game) in six of their seven games, all but the Edmonton game. They played fairly well and were either clearly the better five-on-five team or got hot goaltending. In a few games, they had both.

Capturing 11 of the first 14 available points makes this the best Flames start, in terms of wins and points, since 2001-02.

If you place the playoff cut line at 95 points, the Flames would need about 8.1 points after seven games to be on track. They have 11 points so far.

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Team stats

Here’s how the Flames compare within the Pacific Division through seven games (all rankings out of eight teams):

  • Their goals for per game is 3.57. They’re 2nd in the division.
  • Their goals against per game is 2.14. They’re 1st in the division.
  • Their goal differential is +10. They’re 1st in the division.
  • Their power play is at 26.3%. They’re 3rd in the division.
  • Their penalty kill is at 82.6%. They’re 3rd in the division.
  • They’ve taken 9.1 penalty minutes per game. They’re 3rd in the division.
  • Their 5v5 xGF/60 is 2.24. They’re 4th in the division.
  • Their 5v5 xGF/60 is 2.39. They’re 6th in the division.
  • Their 5v5 xGF is 48.4%. They’re 4th in the division.
  • Their 5v5 shooting percentage is 8.21%. They’re 4th in the division.
  • Their 5v5 save percentage is 95.38%. They’re 1st in the division.
  • Their 5v5 PDO is 1.036. They’re 1st in the division.

The Flames’ five-on-five results are obviously a bit skewed because they had six of seven games on the road, and so they couldn’t control deployments or match-ups all that much. They’re a little bit underwater overall, but they’ve been the beneficiaries of excellent goaltending (only Carolina has been stingier at five-on-five) and effective finishing from their scorers.

On special teams, the results are mixed but also fairly positive. On the power play, they’re 13th in generating expected goals (xGF/60) and 10th in shooting percentage. Hardly elite but respectable. On the penalty kill, they’re the stingiest outfit in the league in terms of suppressing expected goals (xGA/60) but their goaltending is off-setting that a bit, by virtue of their 22nd-best shorthanded save percentage. The process work on special teams look to be fundamentally effective on both sides of the coin.

Player stats

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

Game scores: Positive values indicate positive impact, negative values reflect negative impact.

Player TOI G P P/60 SH% xGF%
OZF% PDO Game score
Lindholm 137:34 7 8 3.49 36.8 59.4 37.6 1.104 1.40
Gaudreau 129:52 1 10 4.62 5.3 58.8 52.7 1.098 1.70
Tkachuk 120:45 2 4 1.99 8.0 63.8 51.6 1.067 1.24
Backlund 120:37 1 3 1.49 9.1 47.6 37.8 0.997 0.54
Monahan 104:13 0 1 0.58 0.0 58.0 64.0 0.943 0.25
Mangiapane 103:04 7 7 4.08 35.0 50.6 54.6 1.018 1.12
Dube 99:10 1 5 3.03 5.3 45.6 70.5 1.019 0.49
Coleman 98:46 3 4 2.43 11.1 55.5 45.2 1.088 1.10
Lewis 98:25 0 0 0.00 0.0 39.6 43.6 0.932 -0.10
Lucic 84:36 2 3 2.13 18.2 46.9 57.6 0.991 0.30
Ritchie 72:37 0 0 0.00 0.0 51.3 56.3 1.078 0.34
Pitlick 64:18 0 1 0.93 0.0 46.3 43.9 1.105 0.72
Gawdin 18:28 0 0 0.00 0.0 59.5 37.5 1.000 0.10

The most common Flames forward lines were (in descending order):

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  • Gaudreau – Lindholm – Tkachuk
  • Coleman – Backlund – Pitlick
  • Lucic – Monahan – Lewis
  • Mangiapane – Dube – Ritchie

So, what’s working? The top line is doing great, even if Lindholm is sucking up all the puck luck for his line – compare his shooting percentage with Tkachuk and Gaudreau’s. The Backlund line is doing fairly well, too. Mangiapane is seemingly dragging Dube and Ritchie along, but he’s able to be a play-driver despite having linemates that aren’t quite at his level. (Dube might get there once he adjusts to centre.)

The fourth line is a bit of a mess, though. Monahan seemingly is not the player he once was, Lewis is incredibly unlucky (and limited in his usage), and Lucic is savvy but not exactly speedy. It’ll be interesting to see how Monahan’s usage evolves this season, or if he’s left on this proverbial ice flow.

Now, the defence (all situations, ordered by ice time; percentages are 5v5):

Player TOI G P P/60 SH% xGF%
OZF% PDO Game score
Andersson 164:25 0 4 1.46 0.0 54.9 50.5 1.104 1.03
Tanev 144:58 1 1 0.41 25.0 41.3 34.5 0.973 0.12
Hanifin 132:40 0 2 0.90 0.0 57.4 46.5 1.102 1.08
Gudbranson 124:45 0 3 1.44 0.0 48.5 34.1 1.002 0.66
Välimäki 110:07 0 1 0.54 0.0 45.7 46.8 0.981 0.32
Kylington 88:13 0 3 2.04 0.0 51.3 55.4 1.003 0.62
Zadorov 36:22 0 0 0.00 0.0 46.3 45.8 0.842 -0.94
Stone 17:43 0 0 0.00 0.0 29.6 50.0 1.111 0.32

The most common defensive pairings were (in descending order):

  • Hanifin & Andersson
  • Välimäki & Gudbranson
  • Kylington & Tanev

Raise your hand if you expected Oliver Kylington to be, statistically, the Flames’ fourth-best defender? Aside from Nikita Zadorov’s rough first few games, the Flames’ defensive group has been quite functional (and occasionally pretty good). They managed to work around Noah Hanifin’s absence against Pittsburgh by merely plugging in Michael Stone and spreading minutes around – that says a lot about how the coaching staff feels about the group right now.

And finally, goalies (all situations):

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Player TOI SV% ldSV% mdSV% hdSV% Game score
Markström 301:48 .952 .972 .913 .944 0.95
Vladar 122:31 .891 .962 .867 .727 -0.76

The starting goaltender got two shutouts! The backup goaltender got two wins! The netminders have been collectively quite good, and Markström has been simply excellent thus far.