The Calgary Flames pulled off a solid win last night against the Seattle Kraken, vaulting back into a playoff spot in the process. However, this win came on the heels of a disappointing loss to the Edmonton Oilers the night before, in a game where the Flames dominated play for the entire game but could only manage to put one of their 47 shots past goaltender Stuart Skinner.
It’s a trend that has seemed to been happening this entire season – the Flames consistently outplay and outshoot their opposition, but can’t seem to beat whatever goaltender stands in the crease. Of course, this can happen from time to time; getting goalied is just a part of hockey. Sometimes you just can’t find a way to beat the other guy. But, it seems to be happening on a nightly basis with this year’s Flames team.
We tested the theory: are the Flames actually getting goalied more than normal this season?
Shots and scoring chances
Not all teams have played the same number of games this season. The Vegas Golden Knights have played 38 games, the Buffalo Sabres have played 32 games, and all the other teams are somewhere in between. So, take this number with a grain of salt, but the Flames currently lead the entire NHL in shots on goal. However, they are middle of the pack when it comes to scoring chances and high danger chances.
It’s important to keep in mind that scoring chances and high danger chances do not necessarily have to hit the net to count. 1120/1294 of the Flames’ shots were not scoring chances; rather 1120 of their total shot attempts were scoring chances. Think of when a player hits the post or just misses wide on an odd man rush: those are scoring chances but not shots on goal.
The Flames may be leading the entire league in shots that get to the opposing goaltender, but very few of their shots are actually scoring chances, let alone high danger chances. The vast majority of their shots, and at a higher rate than other teams in the NHL, are low danger opportunities, with a very low likelihood of resulting in a goal.
This provides some more insight into why the Flames may be seeing high shot totals fail to result in high goal totals.
When you look at it on a per game basis, it’s actually slightly worse.
On a per game basis, the Flames fall to 17th in the NHL for scoring chances and high danger chances, but remain near the very top in terms of shots per game. For a team averaging 35 shots on goal per game, they should also be generating better quality opportunities.
Opposition save percentage
As a direct result of the above, the Flames are failing to convert their shots into goals at the rate they need to. They currently rank 15th in the NHL with just 114 goals on the season. Unsurprisingly, the Flames are also first in the NHL for shots saved by opposing goaltenders.
|Statistic||Shots Saved||Opposition SV%||Delta to league avg. SV%|
Goaltenders who face the Flames are putting up an average save percentage of .913. So far this season, the league average save percentage is .9005. That results in a delta of 0.0122, a significant margin. Just for comparison, the Oilers are seeing an average opposition save percentage of .899, 0.0115 below the league average mark.
Are the Flames getting goalied?
All in all, the answer is yes.
The Flames are absolutely getting goalied this season, and much more often than the rest of the league’s teams. However, this isn’t solely due to opposition goalies standing on their heads every time they line up against Calgary. The Flames are also one of the worst teams relative to their shot volume at generating high quality chances that have a higher likelihood of resulting on a goal.
Flames fans are accurate in their complaints that the Flames are getting goalied a lot this season, but also need to look in the mirror to understand why this is happening.