The Flames’ results in all game situations have been a mixed bag

Updated: November 11, 2016 at 2:32 pm by Ryan Pike

The Calgary Flames’ play at even strength and on their special teams has really been a tale of two teams so far this season.

At even strength, the Flames appear to be fairly decent in the aggregate. Collectively the team has barely been outscored at even strength (29-28), which is actually pretty impressive for a team that’s 5-9-1. However, the Flames’ special teams units have been outscored 18-7 by the opposition (between power play and shorthanded goals). That’s not good, and a huge contributing factor to the team’s bad start.

Let’s dig into the specifics of just how woeful the Flames have been at special teams and how often it’s spoiled their even strength play.


Collectively, the Flames have scored 28 goals at even strength and allowed 29. When we dig into the game-by-game breakdown, it looks like this when you ignore empty net goals:


  • vs. Edmonton: 3-1
  • vs. Buffalo: 4-2
  • vs. St. Louis: 4-3
  • at St. Louis: 2-0
  • vs. Ottawa: 5-0
  • at San Jose: 3-1


  • at Edmonton: 5-1
  • at Vancouver: 1-0
  • at Chicago: 2-0
  • at Chicago (again): 3-0
  • at Los Angeles: 5-0
  • at Anaheim: 3-0


  • vs. Carolina: 2-2
  • vs. Washington: 1-1
  • vs. Dallas: 2-2

If you ignore empty net goals, the Flames’ even strength scoring should have produced a 6-6-3 record thus far – bearing in mind that at least some of those three regulation ties probably would’ve resulted in an overtime win.

If you’re judging the team on process and not their results – their underlying numbers and not their scoring itself – the picture stays about as rosy. Based on numbers from Natural Stat Trick, the Flames had more scoring chances than the opposition at even strength in five games (they won one of them) and more high danger chances in six games (they won two of them).


The Flames’ performance looks a lot worse when you gander at their special teams scoring:


  • at Edmonton: 3-1
  • at Chicago: 2-0


  • vs. Edmonton: 3-0
  • vs. Buffalo: 1-0
  • vs. Carolina: 2-0
  • vs. St. Louis: 2-0
  • vs. Ottawa: 2-0
  • vs. Washington: 1-0
  • at San Jose: 1-0
  • at Anaheim: 2-0
  • vs. Dallas: 1-0


  • at Vancouver: 0-0
  • at St. Louis: 1-1
  • at Chicago (again): 1-1
  • at Los Angeles: 0-0

If you base it entirely off special teams results, the Flames record would be roughly 2-9-4. And again, those four “ties” would probably turn into some wins.

In terms of process, the picture is about as bad: the Flames have out-chanced the other team’s special teams units just three times (winning once) and generated more high danger chances in six games (also winning just once).


The general narrative around the Flames this season has been that their good performances at even strength have been undone by bad special teams. It’s true that their special teams have been bad, but their even strength performances have been only slightly better than their results. They should probably have a win or two more than they have captured, but it’s not like they’ve been world-beaters at five on five. 

In the aggregate and game by game the Flames are a decent team at even strength, but their play in all situations needs quite a bit of work.