Flyers Month in Review: Patrick, Giroux Shining Spots
Per Zack Hill, Flyers are now 2-0 when Hak wears Gritty socks.
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) November 6, 2018
Gritty’s Corsica score and advanced stats are apparently pretty good.
The first full month of play is in the books, and the statistics lean towards a negative review. Such is Flyers hockey; the team has struggled in October for several years now.
Statistics are counted from October 4 through November 5.
Record: 7-7-1, 15 points
Home: 2-4-0, 4 points
Away: 5-3-1, 11 points
After some pretty embarrassing defeats (with three of them at home)— 8-2, 6-1, 3-0, 4-1– the team was sent out west, almost a vacation of sorts. Many fans, at this point, are calling for the jobs of the coaching staff.
They proceeded to take seven of eight possible points in California, finishing with a 5-2 win in Arizona. The only blemish coming in San Jose, a game they led in the third period.
To take a team who lit you up for eight goals in your own home, turn around, and nearly beat them on the road is a step forward. The Ducks, struggling mightily, and the flustered Kings were games they had to win.
To conclude the first month of play, Nolan Patrick and Oskar Lindblom enjoy point streaks of four games, with Wayne Simmonds at three games.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) November 6, 2018
At no point in the last four games were the Flyers losing. This is directly after scoring two total goals in three games. How is this possible?
The team just simply looks better on the road. They play loosely, and aren’t worried about abuse from the fans. To be honest, it makes a ton of sense. On the other hand, the argument remains “play well and you won’t be booed”. Easier said than done, and they didn’t get much done at home this month.
A statistical difference, however, brings to the attention that the Flyers did not play from behind on the road trip. In the team’s first 11 games, they scored first once. They went on to lose that game anyway, 3-6 in Columbus.
All four matches out west saw a Flyer scoring the first goal of the game, applying pressure to the opposing team and taking excitement out of the crowds. Only one of these games slipped away.
Luckily for the Flyers, they finish red hot, as do some of the young forwards. Patrick and Lindblom were machines— the two of them, combined, assisted or scored five go ahead goals on the four game road trip. A grand total of six points for each of them.
It even goes farther than the road trip for the 20 year old center: he’s got eight points in the last eight games. After not logging a point until October 20th, Patrick is among the top in points for the Flyers (4G-4A—8P). He missed three games due to an injury early on.
As much fun as it is to go to the games, maybe an 82 game road trip is in order. Hey, whatever works.
Something that goes without saying: Claude Giroux continues to be the team’s best player. Well on his way to many places in Philadelphia history, Giroux picked up six multi point games so far and is closing in on 700 career points— all in orange and black.
He has 17 in this young season, a staple on the top forward line and powerplay group (which has admittedly struggled).
Speaking of special teams, they remain a glaring, gaping hole in this team. The penalty kill has actually regressed from last year from 75.8% to 69.1%. Both marks were good for 29th in the NHL. It’s not helping them very much, as they’ve allowed a powerplay goal in eight straight games. On the other end of the ice, they are swapping out players on both units in an attempt to find life.
There were stretches of time where the powerplay as a whole recorded multiple “one for their last 18’s”. They convert a disappointing 15.7% of powerplays (24th in NHL). Potentially offering relief is the eventual return of James van Riemsdyk. He’ll be back in the lineup in just a couple weeks, after his five to six week recovery.
Joining JvR in injury rehab is Michal Neuvirth— and recently, Brian Elliott. Both goaltenders are being evaluated in Philadelphia. Elliott may have a concussion.
Brian Elliott is down in practice. Just got trucked by Travis Konecny. He’s holding his head.
— Dave Isaac (@davegisaac) November 4, 2018
The Flyers will release an update on him Wednesday, November 7th.
This has thrust Calvin Pickard into the spotlight, as he and Alex Lyon suddenly become the NHL tandem.
Pickard has given his team opportunities to win games. He made 34 saves in Arizona on Monday night, and is 3-1-1 in his 5 games. There’s a good chance he gets the call again Thursday night, this time at home.
The Flyers are actually the 7th best team in shots against per game, at 29.5 on average. Negating that is the fact that they are among the worst at preventing high danger chances. Simply put: the shots they do allow are good ones.
A side effect of this, no team in the NHL has allowed more powerplay goals (17) than the Flyers, via ESPN. This is more than one per game.
Since 1990 only five @NHL teams have managed to PK at 80.5% or under for 5+ seasons straight:
Toronto: 2005-12: (7yrs)
Arizona: 2012-18 (6 yrs)
Edmonton: 1990-95 (5 yrs)
Hartford: 1990-95 (5 yrs)
Florida: 2011-16 (5 yrs)
— Alexander Appleyard (@avappleyard) October 26, 2018
1: Claude Giroux, 6G-11A—17P
2: Jakub Voracek, 4-11–15
3: Wayne Simmonds, 7-3–10
T-4: Nolan Patrick, 4-4–8 (12 GP)
T-4: Oskar Lindblom, 4-4–8
6: Sean Couturier, 5-2–7
Goals per Game: 3.2
Goals Allowed per Game: 3.73
The goals allowed average is on its way down. After losing 6-1 to the Islanders, that statistic was above 4.
Brian Elliott leads all Flyer goaltenders in goals against average (3.10), save percentage (.893), and wins (4). He is outside the top-25 in GAA and S% across the NHL. Elliott has more or less been hung out to dry for most of the new year.
Players to watch for November:
Claude Giroux leads the team in points, and will continue to do so barring injury for the rest of the year. He’s the obvious Flyer MVP candidate thus far.
Oskar Lindblom has, by advanced statistics, been an NHL leading play driver and chance creator on the attack. He’s red hot, and doing his thing behind the net. Any more success and the trapezoid becomes Oskar’s Office.
Bold strategy leaving Voracek alone in the slot.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) November 4, 2018
Lindblom finds Patrick for the goal! pic.twitter.com/8DQQ3Mpsvv
— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) October 31, 2018
Both goals were go ahead, the latter a game winner.
Nolan Patrick, with eight points in eight games and nearly point per game on his 20 year old season, is back in top form. He’s the leading scorer among centers on the team, if you don’t count Claude Giroux. Patrick’s defensive game has gone next level as well. He’s noticable on the backcheck on almost every opposing rush.
Month number two kicks off at home, where the Flyers look to improve showings in their own building. They allowed 26 goals in just six games at Wells Fargo Center— a 4.33 goals per game average. Every game counts.
By the way, Travis Sanheim deserves a lot more ice time.