The Flames just had one of their best months in franchise history
Photo credit:Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike1 year ago
When February began, the Calgary Flames were in a tenuous position. They were in the last Western Conference wildcard playoff spot, and only ahead of Dallas on a tiebreaker. 28 days later, they ended the month in first place in the Pacific Division and seven points clear of the best non-playoff team in the West.
What happened in between represented one of the best months in Flames franchise history
February 2022 at a glance
The Flames were originally scheduled to play just four games in February, book-ending the combined All-Star and Olympic breaks. Instead, the Flames had seven of their 10 postponed games – bumped back in the schedule due to the omicron variant – bumped into the Olympic break.
They ended up having a six day break and also played 11 games – a game ever two days outside of the break period. They went 10-1-0 overall, capturing 20 of a possible 22 points and winning every single home game that they played.
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February was the first time in the modern (overtime loss) era where the Flames posted just a single regulation loss in a game where they played 10 or more games. It was their 13th month in franchise history of 10 or more wins and their first since March 2017 – it was just their fourth month of 10 or more wins in the overtime loss era.
The Flames played 660 minutes overall – none of their games went beyond regulation. They led for nearly 360 minutes and trailed for just under 83 minutes – and 56 of those trailing minutes were in their 7-1 loss to Vancouver.
The Flames had some good results, but let’s dig into their processes a bit. [All stats cited here are via Natural Stat Trick.] They had some great scoreboard success that was reflective of some really good play on both sides of the puck.
In terms of overall percentages (at five-on-five), the Flames fared extremely well. They were first in Corsi For, second in Shots For (behind Los Angeles), first in Expected Goals For, second in Scoring Chances For (behind Los Angeles) and second in High-Danger Chances For (behind Los Angeles).
In terms of offensive rates (per 60 minutes at five-on-five), the Flames were first in Corsi For, second in Shots For (behind Florida), first in Expected Goals For, third in Scoring Chances For (behind Vegas and Los Angeles) and fourth in High Danger Chances For (behind Los Angeles, Colorado and Florida).
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In terms of defensive rates (per 60 minutes at five-on-five), the Flames were second in Corsi Against (behind Los Angeles), second in Shots Against (behind Los Angeles), second in Expected Goals Against (behind Boston), first in Scoring Chances Against and fourth in High Danger Chances Against (behind Los Angeles, St. Louis and Toronto).
(Side note: lots of Los Angeles here, so it shouldn’t be surprising to see them surge up the standings.)
In net, Jacob Markstrom went 8-1-0 in 10 appearances, posting a 2.04 goals against average, .929 save percentage, .928 five-on-five save percentage, and one shutout. Backup Dan Vladar started once and played twice in mop-up duty, picking up two wins (one as a starter, one in relief) but his .857 save percentage obviously leaves something to be desired.
Four Flames skaters averaged over a point per game in February: Elias Lindholm (17), Matthew Tkachuk (15), Johnny Gaudreau (13) and Andrew Mangiapane (12). Blake Coleman just missed the cut with 10 points. Lindholm led the team in goals, with nine, while he and Mangiapane shared the five-on-five goals lead with seven apiece.
Which Flames players stood out the most for you in February? How do you think they’ll do in March? Let us know in the comments!
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