The Calgary Flames’ frustrating season encapsulated in dominant loss to Boston
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike6 months ago
The Calgary Flames deserved to get two points on Tuesday night against the Boston Bruins. The Flames wildly out-played the Bruins. They out-shot them by a country mile. Based on every shot metric, every advanced stat, every tidbit, factor or figure you could grab hold of, they were the better team.
Yet despite dominating the game throughout its duration, the Flames captured just a single point in a 4-3 overtime loss. The game encapsulated what has been a frustrating season for the club.
“Why do we have so many goalies come here and play well against us?” pondered Flames forward Jonathan Huberdeau following the game. “I feel it happens a lot of times. Is it us that can’t find the back of the net or is it the goalie who’s too good for us? It’s a question we’ve gotta ask ourselves.”
The Flames out-shot the Bruins by a 57-20 margin. Sure, Boston netminder Linus Ullmark was sharp, but the Flames couldn’t figure out a way to get more goals. Per Natural Stat Trick, in the entire game (all situations) the Flames held a 5.6-2.2 expected goals edge. They scored 2.6 fewer goals than expected and allowed 1.8 more than expected.
In the month of February, the Flames had a 39.5-27.8 expected goals edge. They were out-scored by their opponents 39-36. They scored 3.5 fewer goals than expected and allowed 11.2 more than expected.
In the entire season, the Flames have a 207.7-171.2 expected goals edge. They have out-scored their opponents by a narrow 192-188 margin. They’ve scored 15.7 fewer goals than expected and allowed 16.8 more than expected.
The Boston performance was the entire 2022-23 season, wrapped into a 65 minute package. The Flames were good. The Flames carried play. The Flames couldn’t get a big save. The Flames couldn’t get a big goal.
And so, the Flames lost, dropping to 27-21-13, with their .549 points percentage placing them 10th in the Western Conference through 61 games.
“Tonight would be a bad goal, and not scoring a big goal,” assessed Flames head coach Darryl Sutter.
The league’s average shooting percentage is 9.9%. The Flames are scoring on 8.8% of their shots. With their shot volume, the difference between their current performance and league average would be 25.2 additional goals for. The league’s average save percentage is 90.1%. The Flames are stopping 88.6% of opposition shots. With their shot volume allowed, the difference between their current performance and league average would be 24.6 fewer goals against.
That was the Flames’ experience in a dominant performance with a disappointing result against Boston that saw them lose in overtime. It was their experience during a crucial, but similarly disappointing month of February that saw them go 3-4-4. It has been their experience during a frustrating 2022-23 season that has seen them play a lot of really good hockey, but not get the results they need.
With 21 games remaining, they’re barely hanging on in the playoff mix.
“We gotta score goals,” said Flames defenceman Nikita Zadorov. “We had enough, we created enough chances. We had 57 shots. We had two breakaways in overtime. We gotta score goals. We had enough chances to finish the game.”
The Flames are back in action on Thursday evening when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs.
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