A Tale of Three Cities: A Series of Charts

Updated: January 11, 2018 at 3:24 am by Ryan Pike

The Calgary Flames are a successful team, standings-wise. They enter today’s NHL action with a 16-8-2 record, good for a 65.4 points percentage despite the Flames not having an amazing Corsi For percentage, which is held by the analytics community as a predictor of wins and points.

For some added context on how the Flames are doing, let’s compare them with Edmonton and Buffalo – two truly not-good teams – on a Rolling 10 Game basis!


Okay, here’s Alberta’s PDO (shooting percentage + save percentage).

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 11.53.37 PM

As you can see, Calgary’s been above the 100 mark for basically the entire season. Edmonton? Well, they are not getting the bounces. At all. Ever. Like, to an epically comedic level.

Now, PDO is thought to be resistant to dropping/rising to 100 quickly if a team is appropriately awesome/awful. Meaning, Boston, with its excellent Corsi and good team, generally sticks above 100 PDO, while bad teams would be resistant to getting better.

Here’s a Corsi comparison!

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Calgary’s been pretty consistent, floating around the 44% mark all season. Their highest rolling 10-game segment creeped up to 46%. Edmonton? Variations between 48% and 52%. They’re a good possession team, while Calgary is below average.

One team is winning because they are getting bounces. The other team is Edmonton and has lost 10 in a row.


As with Edmonton, here’s a PDO comparison.

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Buffalo started off being fairly unlucky, and recently have gotten the bounces more and more. Calgary? They’ve been fairly consistent, particularly when compared to Buffalo.

How about a Corsi glimpse?

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 11.55.28 PM

Buffalo is bad. Like, really bad. Like, they hit 40% recently and it was insane. They’re holding parades in upstate New York for giving up “only” 60% of shot attempts in a game against. They will start losing soon. Like, sooner than Calgary might.


Are the Flames appreciably better or worse possession-wise lately?

No, not really. They’re about the same. But other teams (Edmonton) are getting terrible luck suddenly while still being good, and other teams (Buffalo) are getting incredible luck suddenly while still being fundamentally bad.