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Jonas Hiller steals one for Calgary because hockey is a crazy, random game

The Calgary Flames were outshot 50-18 on Wednesday night and still won. This is because hockey is a game of madness and randomness, and sometimes great goaltending.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Blackhawks are a better team than the Calgary Flames. A significantly better team. This is a fact that is obvious to anybody that has even a passing interest in the NHL during the 2014-15 season.

The talent gap was on display for much of their game on Wednesday night, a game that Calgary somehow won in overtime, 2-1.

For long stretches it was the same type of one-sided mismatch we saw on Monday afternoon in Buffalo when Ted Nolan referred to his team as a "pee-wee team," and when Los Angeles steamrolled Edmonton on Tuesday night. After the first period Chicago had a 20-2 edge on the shot chart and had attempted 27 total shots to Calgary's 9.

At one point in the second period the shot differential reached its insane peak at 30-3 in favor of the Blackhawks, even though there was no score in the game. The Flames had such a difficult time even touching the puck that it seemed as if it was glued to the sticks of the Blackhawks skaters.

The only reason there was no score at that point was the play of Jonas Hiller in the Calgary net. He was nothing short of spectacular all night, stopping 49 of the 50 shots he faced on the night (Calgary managed only 18 shots on Corey Crawford). The two points Calgary ended up getting in the standings out of this game belong entirely to him. If he was even average in this game, the Blackhawks would have won it in a laugher.

How unlikely was a win for Calgary in a game like this? Consider that over the past 20 years there have only been 35 instances (according to the hockey-reference database) were a team allowed at least 50 shots on goal and generated fewer than 20 shots for themselves. The teams that were on the losing end of that shot disparity only won 13 of the games were outscored by a total of 125-89.

But hockey is a crazy game, especially when it comes to a single game in the middle of the schedule. And this is something that needs to be kept in mind this season when a team badly outshoots another and still comes away with a loss in the standings. With advanced stats and shot-based metrics like Corsi and Fenwick becoming a staple of the hockey lexicon and teams going all in on analytics, games like this are going to get magnified as a shortcoming of the analytical side of the sport. But those numbers, as great, meaningful and important as they are over extended periods of time, mean relatively little when it comes a single game sampling.

Sometimes in a single game goaltending will wreck you, whether it's your own goalie self destructing, or the other team's goalie playing out of his mind, and the team that controlled the game for 60 minutes (or more) doesn't come away with the result they want.

This is what happened on Wednesday at the United Center in Chicago.