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A look at how the Flames are performing in some key areas to start the season

by RYAN DITTRICK @ryandittrick /


The Flames have scored 28 third-period goals to lead the NHL - eight more than the Colorado Avalanche, Winnipeg Jets and Tampa Bay Lightning, who are all tied for second. Those 28 goals, combined with two overtime winners, have enabled the Flames to earn 11 valuable points by going 5-5-1 in games they've trailed after two periods.  



Through 15 games, the Flames are one of the league-leaders in this metric, generating 54.4% of the shot attempts at even strength.

But what, exactly, ARE shot attempts, and why are they important?

In simple terms, a shot attempt (or SAT) is counted every time a player shoots, whether it results in a goal, requires a save from the opposing goaltender, misses the net or is blocked. By adding those three, you get the total the number of SATs.

So far this year, the Flames have 735 SATs for, and 621 against.

Only the Carolina Hurricanes (61.1%), San Jose Sharks (58.6%) and Vegas Golden Knights (57.7%) have a higher SAT percentage.

According to, who began tracking these figures for the first time in 2015: "Comparing the number of shot attempts for and against a team helps determine which teams are best at controlling the puck. This metric can be applied to individual players, based on the team's shot attempts for and against while the player is on the ice. These statistics are typically used in even-strength situations because the majority of a game is played at even strength, and it affords the best indicator of how players or teams perform on a regular basis."

Generally, anything over 50% is a good indicator that your team is performing at a high level.

Individually, Mikael Backlund leads the Flames with an SAT% of 61.8 - the 15th-best figure among players with a minimum of 150 minutes played (or 10 minutes per game). Carolina's Justin Williams leads all skaters at 66.6%, with seven other Hurricanes occupying the Top 15.



According to the advanced-stats website Natural Stat Trick, the Flames have recorded the second-most high-danger scoring chances this season with 154 (10.3 per game), trailing only the Hurricanes.

Scoring chances, in general, are somewhat subjective considering that almost any shot from anywhere on the ice has a chance of going in.

However, what this metric intends to clarify, is that not all shots are created equal.

It's great if your team outshoots the other by more than double, but unless those shots are coming from a "high-danger" location, chances are it's a fruitless endeavor.

These chances are generally shots from point-blank range; an area that extends the width of the goal crease and up into the slot, to the bottom of the hash marks.

To illustrate this point, we'll use this past Thursday's 6-5 win over the Colorado Avalanche.

The Flames were outshot 12-11 in the third period, but outscored the Avs 5-1. How? Just look at where the shot attempts - and more importantly, goals - were coming from:


In all, with 17 shot attempts, the Flames won the HDCF battle 6-3 in the third and 19-8 overall their most dominant performance of the year in that regard.

Combining this and their Top 3 SAT%, it's clear the Flames are a high-possession, high-chance team and are full value for their place atop the Pacific Division standings.

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