Thursday, October 16, 2008

Poindextering the victory

I was taking a stroll through the figurative flowers afer the Flames victory over the Avs recently. Some of the stuff was surprising and/or notable, so I figured I'd share it.

Head2head ice-time (even-strength). Click the players name to sort.

Fenwick/Corsi numbers (shots directed at the net +/-).

This game is a good one to dissect because, a.) it was a home game, meaning Keenan had more control over the match-ups and b.) the Flames won, meaning there's a good chance some of these patterns will be replicated next game.

First surprise for me was the fact that Glencross and Conroy spent the most time out of the Flames forwards against Joe Sakic. It shouldn't surprise me, because I know very well that Keenan sees Conroy as the go-to guy in tough match-ups. Still, a line consisting of Conroy, Moss and Glencross taking on Sakic is a bit of an eyebrow raiser (Conroy typically had notable linemates during the tough sledding last year). What's more is I didn't even notice it, but it makes sense since Iginla was deployed against Statstny rather than Burnaby Joe (or so I assumed). It probably helped that Sakic mostly played with Tucker and Wolski.

The second surprise is the Lombardi et al. spent about as much time against Stastny as Iginla's trio. My prevailing assumption was Iginla would be the go-to guy for that match-up, but he basically split time with Lombo Tuesday night. I dont know if this was purposeful on Keenan's part or due to aggressive management by Granato, who would probably prefer to see Statstny versus Lombardi.

Now on to the shot chart, which suggests that Calgary deserved to win this one - they "out-shot" the Avs by 14 at ES, with only two Flames players in the red (Vandermeer and...surprise, surprise!...Primeau).

Most encouraging? The numbers for Lombardi (+5), Cammalleri (+4) and Bourque (+6), especially since they played against decent competition. I also like that Conroy could spend almost his entire 10 minutes against the big boys and come out on the positive side of the ledger as well. I was rough on Craig to start the year, but he can apparently still bring it. Moss and Glencross deserve credit too, no doubt. I's one game, things can change, luck, aberrations, sample-size, lying with numbers, facts can be used to prove anything, advanced stats are for basements geeks...etc. Still I like what I see here and hope it can continue. Keenan's faith in the old man may not be misplaced (plus, this is the role I envisioned for Conroy in the off-season anyhow).

What does this mean?

Probably not too much yet. If I were to guess though, Id say we wont see Boyd move up from the 4th line any time soon and the the Flames might just have 3 relatively effective lines on their hands here. If the goaltending and defensive miscues can work themselves out eventually, that's good news (probably irrevelant otherwise, however).