Calgary Flames: Just how good have they been in the third period?

Through 18 games this season, it’s clear where the Calgary Flames have been excelling – in the third period.

I don’t know what gets put into their water bottles in the second intermission, but the Calgary Flames seem unstoppable in the third period. They’ve got some third-period magic and it’s hard to pinpoint exactly why.

Of their ten wins this season, five of them are come-from-behind wins, where they were trailing heading into the third period and won. That’s the most in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings in second place with three wins. However, of their 18 games, they’ve trailed after two periods in 13 of them which isn’t a great sign. But nonetheless, let’s look at the third period.

So why are the Flames so good in the third period? Let’s look at how well they’ve been performing.

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In the third period, the Flames have 29 goals which leads the NHL. The second highest is the Detroit Red Wings at 24. They’ve also only allowed 13 goals in the final frame, giving them a +16 goal differential, the highest in the NHL. In fact, that’s the best goal differential in any period by any team in the NHL, with the Nashville Predators coming in second place with +13 goal differential, also in the third period.

Unfortunately for the Flames, they aren’t scoring as much in the other two periods and are allowing more goals-against. But again, let’s continue to look at how well they’ve been in the third period, all stats taken from naturalstattrick.com.

In all 18 games, they’ve only had below 50% CF% in the third period in just four (5v5). None of those games have come within the last three weeks and they only lost in one of them. Among all their scoring chances, they’ve only had one game below 50% SCF% (5v5), none within their last five games, and only one in the last three weeks. Four of them were also during their games below 50% CF% and the fifth still ended in a win for the Calgary Flames.

In the Flames’ five come-from-behind wins, their CF% in the third period, in respective order, goes like: 37.5%, 83.33%, 62.5%, 58.62%, and 75%. Their SCF% in those games, in the same order, look like: 37.5%, 100%, 80%, 70.59%, 92.31%. I mean, clearly when the Flames badly outplay their opponents, it actually works sometimes. Who would have thought?

Moreso, in all the losses, there’s only one game where the Flames had bad possession numbers and allowed more scoring chances against than for in the third period. Among their other seven losses, they only had two games where they outplayed their opponents in the third period, but overall, numbers wise, didn’t. Meaning that even when they’re losing, they’re still putting up a good fight, not just necessarily in the third period.

So what does all this mean?

Basically, even though the Flames have been great in the third period, it isn’t enough. And while their comeback wins are fun and exciting, they can’t rely solely on working some third period magic. Their scoring chances have been there, but they’re not necessarily high-danger chances. They miss the net a lot too and many times, they play against some good goaltenders.

Next: Three stars of the week - Nov 5-11

TL;DR: The Calgary Flames are good in the third period, but they’re not horrible in every other period (for the most part).