It took 16 games into the season, but the Calgary Flames finally showed what type of team they could be if they can figure things out.
Nothing has gone right for the team this season, but tonight everything seemed to go right for the Flames. Against one of the league’s best teams, the effort and results were there for once their young 2023-24 season.
Is this a sign of things to come or just an aberration?
Breaking down the numbers
The Canucks had been absolutely dominating teams to start this season but had the script flipped on them tonight against the Flames. It was a complete domination by the Flames and the numbers support it:
The Flames’ even-strength play this season has been pretty lackluster, but tonight it was far from that. After an above-average first period, the Flames took over immensely in the second period. During that period along with 5v5, the Flames sported an xGF% of 76.4%. I mean just look at the takeover:
From an individual impact perspective, the team had absolutely no slackers:
Elias Lindholm had three points, Jonathan Huberdeau ended his goal drought, Jacob Markstrom was excellent again, and the team’s top defenders negated the Canucks torrent trio of NHL point leaders.
The team’s best players were their best players tonight, and that is something they haven’t been able to say much this season. Sure the Cancuks were playing slightly tired tonight after playing late into the evening yesterday, but the Flames still brought their A game, and that needs to be applauded.
The team always appears to bring their best against the better teams in the league, and since they have one of the hardest remaining schedules in the NHL this could work to their advantage.
Hold the rebuild, or re-tool, for one more night at least.