After a rough road trip in Florida, the Flyers came out strong to start their Black Friday home game against the Winnepeg Jets. First period chances were 8-1 in the Flyers favor. Overall chances were 15 to 12 for the Flyers, and with a dead tie in even strength chances 12 to 12. Despite some modest push back from the Jets in the second period, the Flyers were firmly in control and finished the game out strong. A solid rebound win for the team and some great individual performances to look at.
The Flyers transition game struggled against the Panthers forecheck. Clean breakouts were a rare commodity and as a result the Flyers got outchanced at even strength 16 to 12. Although the Flyers did slightly edge the Panthers in total chances, 19 – 18. For whatever reason, Berube’s squad couldn’t adjust to the Panthers pressuring the breakout at the Flyers blue line. It was difficult for any Flyers line to sustain offensive zone time, and puck support in the O-zone was lacking tonight. Even if a player got control of the puck, he had no open plays to make. All of this aside, this was still a winnable game for the Flyers. Florida wasn’t dominating by any stretch and the Flyers had their chances late in the game and on the powerplay. And as expected, Berube struggled to get his match-ups on the road. On to the individual line grades.
In a sign of how tough hockey players are, two weeks after breaking his tibia Stamkos is already walking without either crutches or a boot. That’s insane.
1) Hockey player.
2) Stamkos might just get back in time to help save the lightning from falling completely out of the playoff picture.
3) I won’t get into how Stamkos will affect advanced metrics at the Olympics to prove my point because even an absolute idiot could build team Canada without advanced stats. Suffice to say, this is not a good thing for Team USA. We are already decided underdogs at Sochi because our goalies have been under performing except for Ryan Miller, and Canada has us crushed on depth at every skater position. I would have to assume that Stamkos would play as Crosby’s winger in Sochi. (Leaving a top 4 center combo of Crosby-Tavares-Thornton-Toews). He’s more of a sniper than a play maker, and might actually be the best sniper in the world, so it makes sense to put him with the best passer in the world when you’re talking about the Olympic level. A powerplay of Anyone-Crosby-Stamkos at the Olympics will be all but unstoppable.
Despite the lopsided score in the Flyers favor, the Islanders outchanced the Flyers 25 – 18 total, and 19 – 16 at even strength. To really get a sense of how this game went, we cam break it down into two halves. For the first 25 minutes, the Flyers controlled even strength play and put up 11 scoring chances to only 4 for the Isles. The beginning of the second period was marked by the Flyers scoring on 3 consecutive chances. With the huge lead, the Flyers performance dipped, and the Islanders took advantage. Following Giroux’s goal, the Isles went on a 21 to 5 tear, including 2 goals of their own. Trying to sit on the 3 goal lead almost cost the Flyers but they managed to salvage a win with some solid penalty killing in the final 5 minutes of the contest. Read on for the line grades.
It was a good but not great even strength performance from the Flyers tonight. They controlled 58% of shot attempts at 5v5. Lots special teams play skewed the total chance numbers a bit but overall the Flyers out chanced the Sabres 25 to 16. At evens things were closer with a 13 to 7 edge for the home team. Now, lets see the individual line performances.
Before I can compile a big quarter season review of the Flyers scoring chance data, I need to go back and look at the dozen or so games I missed at the beginning of the season. I’ll start with the home opener against the Maple Leafs. In the interest of saving time, I’m simply going to present the data to you. Draw your own conclusions about the teams performance!
Darren Dreger kick started a little controversy in Philadelphia today by reporting that Paul Holmgren and the Flyers are quietly shopping young center Brayden Schenn. The 22 year old, former 1st round pick of the Los Angeles Kings, was acquired only 2 years ago in the infamous Mike Richards trade. The prospect of trading a young player like Schenn tends to make die hard Flyers fans squirm. We’ve seen this before with guys like Justin Williams and Patrick Sharp, who went on to became star players in a different jerseys. But shopping Schenn is potentially the smartest thing the Flyers could do right now.
Thank you Nicklas Grossmann, the man with the golden feet! Grossmann had the play of the game tonight as he made a goal line stand with Mason out of the net. The Flyers respond to the close call to finish the Senators off in convincing fashion. Overall the Flyers outchanced the Sens 20 – 13 tonight but the Flyers did most of their damage at even strength, going 16 – 5 in chances. Ottawa had the clear upperhand on special teams with 7 power play chances and 2 goals. They tacked on a short handed chance for good measure. While the Flyers were underwhelming on the PP and PK, its encouraging to see them dominate so thoroughly at 5 on 5. Read on for the line by line performances…
So my pet project this season has been tracking Flyers scoring chances. A scoring chance is defined as any play directed at the net from the scoring chance area, seen below. Anything directed at the net between the circles, as long as its not blocked by an opposing player, counts as a scoring chance. Even shots that miss the net are tracked. Occasionally I’ll give credit to a chance that happens outside of the scoring chance area if a)the goalie is heavily screen or b) there’s some stellar tic tac passing that leads to the goalie having to make a desperation save. If a player is on the ice for a chance for his team, he gets a +1, and for a chance against a -1.
Mike Richards and Claude Giroux have something in common besides wearing a C on their sweater for the storied Philadelphia Flyers franchise. Both have had their leadership unfairly questioned by a petty and fair weather Philly sports media. The Richards controversy has been fairly well documented by other writers, most notably Geoffrey Detweiler, formely of SB nation’s Broad Street Hockey blog, and Jewels from the Crown contributor Niesy.