The Calgary Flames have completed seven games of the 2020-21 regular season calendar. They’re 12.5% of the way through their season, and so we continue the fine tradition of examining their performances in bite-sized seven game morsels. In the first seven games of this season, they’ve gone 3-3-1.
Underlying numbers via Natural Stat Trick.

Game by game

(Percentage stats in this table are 5v5.)
Date
Opponent
Result
CF%
SC%
HDSC%
xGF%
PP
PK
Jan. 14
Jets (@)
4-3 OTL
46.8
44.0
30.8
33.8
1-for-3
3-for-4
Jan. 16
Canucks (vs)
3-0 W
54.3
61.7
71.4
61.0
3-for-6
4-for-4
Jan. 18
Canucks (vs)
5-2 W
56.5
71.4
57.1
69.0
2-for-7
4-for-4
Jan. 24
Maple Leafs (vs)
3-2 L
57.1
56.5
50.0
54.0
1-for-4
3-for-4
Jan. 26
Maple Leafs (vs)
4-3 L
58.0
56.5
57.1
58.8
1-for-4
1-for-2
Jan. 28
Canadiens (@)
4-2 L
55.6
50.0
44.4
54.0
1-for-4
1-for-3
Jan. 30
Canadiens (@)
2-0 W
40.5
34.6
19.1
31.0
1-for-6
5-for-5
All
3-3-1
52.4
52.3
45.0
50.6
10-for-34
21-for-26
The Flames are at .500 through seven games, but they probably deserve a little better. Jacob Markstrom stole them a point against Winnipeg (Jan. 14) and two points against Montreal (Jan. 30), but the Flames probably deserved better in each of their games against Toronto (Jan. 24 & 26). It’s basically a wash, though, but maybe they should have eight points instead of seven.

Team stats

Here’s how the Flames compare within the (Scotia NHL) North Division through seven games:
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  • Their goals for per game is 2.86. They’re sixth in the division (ahead of only Ottawa).
  • Their goals against per game is 2.43. They’re first in the division.
  • Their goal differential is +3. They’re fourth in the division.
  • Their power play is at 29.4%. They’re second in the division (behind only Toronto).
  • Their penalty kill is at 80.8%. They’re first in the division.
  • They’ve taken 9.3 penalty minutes per game. They’re fifth in the division.
  • Their 5v5 xGF/60 is 2.25. They’re sixth in the division (ahead of only Toronto).
  • Their 5v5 xGF/60 is 2.19. They’re second in the division (behind only Montreal).
  • Their 5v5 xGF is 50.6%. They’re fourth in the division.
  • Their 5v5 shooting percentage is 5.26%. They’re seventh in the division.
  • Their 5v5 save percentage is 94.12%. They’re first in the division.
  • Their PDO is 0.994. They’re fifth in the division.
The Flames are a decent, if unspectacular five-on-five team thus far. They’re playing with their heads slightly above water at even strength, which is actually somewhat impressive given they played four of their seven games against Toronto and Montreal, two very potent offensive teams.
The Flames’ power play is arguably over-performing – their actual goals-per-60-minutes is almost double their expected goals – but they’re making them count. Their penalty kill isn’t great, but they’re being punished a bit by bad puck luck.
In summation: the Flames are an average even strength team propped up by a hot power play right now.

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%
GF%
OZS%
Game score
Lindholm
151:34
2
8
3.2
11.1
66.1
73.3
54.7
1.116
Tkachuk
139:06
3
5
2.2
10.7
77.1
85.7
64.4
1.177
Gaudreau
133:52
5
9
4.0
29.4
70.0
80.0
72.9
1.084
Monahan
131.40
2
7
3.2
10.5
68.6
80.0
70.9
0.886
Backlund
114:07
2
4
2.1
15.4
49.6
35.7
40.3
0.269
Mangiapane
109:28
0
1
0.6
0.0
56.7
33.3
55.7
0.396
Bennett
94:22
0
1
0.6
0.0
47.8
33.3
34.9
-0.264
Leivo
87:28
0
1
0.7
0.0
49.6
25.0
53.5
-0.061
Ryan
77:16
0
1
0.8
0.0
36.9
50.0
23.1
0.197
Lucic
76:37
2
3
2.4
25.0
57.8
50.0
52.6
0.271
Simon
52:06
0
0
0.0
0.0
54.0
60.0
63.0
0.156
Nordstrom
51:31
0
0
0.0
0.0
30.5
0.0
22.6
-0.550
Dube
43:43
1
1
2.7
14.3
60.7
100
46.9
0.880
The five most common Flames forward lines were (in descending order):
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  • Tkachuk – Lindholm – Dube
  • Gaudreau – Monahan – Simon
  • Bennett – Backlund – Leivo
  • Tkachuk – Lindholm – Mangiapane
  • Gaudreau – Monahan – Leivo
The Flames’ best players thus far are their core four – Lindholm, Tkachuk, Gaudreau and Monahan – and a surprise, Dube. Dube’s sample size is super small, though, so grain of salt and all that.
The guys that appear to be struggling thus far are Bennett, Ryan, Nordstrom and Simon.
Everyone else has, so far, been just fine.
Now, the defence (all situations, ordered by ice time):
Player
TOI
G
P
P/60
SH%
xGF%
GF%
OZFO%
Game score
Giordano
151:30
1
3
1.2
5.9
44.3
50.0
44.8
-0.264
Andersson
145:03
2
5
2.1
14.3
57.7
71.4
60.9
0.041
Tanev
143:31
0
1
0.4
0.0
53.9
57.1
37.1
0.889
Hanifin
129:49
0
2
0.9
0.0
64.0
100
41.2
1.049
Valimaki
113:34
0
1
0.5
0.0
49.6
20.0
47.8
0.116
Nesterov
108:45
0
0
0.0
0.0
46.6
20.0
51.2
-0.123
The three most common defensive pairings were (in descending order):
  • Hanifin & Tanev
  • Giordano & Andersson
  • Valimaki & Nesterov
Tanev and Hanifin are the standouts here, as both have looked good. Andersson and Valimaki are about even. Giordano and Nesterov have been not great thus far.
And finally, goalies (all situations):
Player
TOI
SV%
ldSV%
mdSV%
hdSV%
Game score
Markstrom
357:07
.929
.959
.891
.917
0.382
Rittich
60:00
.810
.900
1.000
.400
-2.740
Markstrom is excellent, with two shutouts in six games (and in two of his three wins), while Rittich played one game and so his sample isn’t worth really worrying about yet.
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