Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Breaking down Calgary Flames goals against this season
3 months ago
I posted a tweet on Sunday about the Calgary Flames goaltending this season and how the numbers don’t match the eye test and it got a lot of varying opinions and theories from the fan base.
According to some statistics, the Flames have had some of the worst goaltending in the NHL in the first calendar month of the season. But I think a lot of fans would agree that the goaltending hasn’t been a huge issue from an eye test perspective. But is it a case where the goaltending was so bad last season that any improvement would make the goaltending look better than it is?
I thought it would be interesting to check out every goal that has been scored against the Flames this season and see how the goaltenders performed on them.
Keep in mind that the blame for some of these goals are up for interpretation. Some might view a particular goal as a high skill play while others think it’s a defensive breakdown. So don’t hate me if we disagree on some of the categorizations of these goals.
The Flames have allowed 46 goals with the goalie in the net. Here is the breakdown of the number of goals against in each category:
Defensive breakdown/bad turnovers: 19 goals against
Goalie could have saved it: 10 goals against
29 of the goals allowed by Flames have been self induced from either poor puck management, defensive zone breakdowns, or a weak goal allowed by one of their three goaltenders.
19 of those 29 goals have come from poor play by the team in front of Jacob Markstrom, Dan Vladar, and Dustin Wolf. The Flames have hung their goalies out to dry way too many times. It’s hockey, and mistakes are going to happen. But surrendering 19 goals in 14 games from sloppy play is simply not good enough.
First and foremost, they need to clean up the turnovers in the neutral zone and in their own end. That comes down to the individual players making poor decisions. It’s something that can be fixed.
More importantly, the Flames have to do a much better job communicating in their own end, particularly the center and two defensemen. There have been quite a few moments this year when the Flames get disorganized below the hash marks in their own zone because there is confusion on who needs to cover who.
The only way to successfully play a zone defense in the NHL is to communicate who is covering who. If there is a switch, each player on the ice needs to know that. You can’t be silent when doing that. I wrote about this yesterday if you want to read more on the topic.
The Flames will be a good defensive team if they can do a better job making smart plays with the puck and communicating in their own end.
High skill play/tips: 17 goals against
In my estimation, the Flames have given up 17 goals from their opponents making high end plays with the puck, picking corners, and scoring on tips.
These are the type of goals that are scored against every team in the NHL. It’s the best league in the world for a reason.
Here is the video evidence!
Defensive Breakdowns/bad turnovers
High skill plays/tips
Goals the goalie needs to stop
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