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Why have the Flyers struggled lately?

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We've all been frustrated by the recent results (or lack thereof). After the jump, a quick look at some shooting trends points out one pretty clear problem.

I started with data on how the Flyers' Corsi percent has changed over the course of the season. It didn't show much change at all, and I suspected the reason was score effects: teams tend to shoot a lot more when they're losing, so any dropoff in the Flyers' play recently might be somewhat covered up by the score effects.

There's a simple solution to this problem: break things down and look at their Corsi when they're ahead, tied, or losing. That gives us the following chart, which shows a moving average of their recent performance in each of those scenarios.

Corsi_trends_medium

Data this complicated is like a Rorschach test; everyone can come away with their own interpretation. But here's what I see:

  • For most of the season, the Flyers' Corsi when trailing (56.8% for the year) and tied (52.2%) have been reasonably steady. There was a little slump in the middle of the season, but all things considered, they look pretty consistent.
  • The Flyers Corsi when winning (43.5% for the year) tells a different story. It's been pretty steadily dropping all year long, leaving the fans increasingly frustrated at how this team can't hold a lead.
  • The recent play has been decidedly mediocre. What the heck changed to make this team suddenly drop from getting ~53-55% of the shots in tied games to getting ~48%?

Let me make one small addition to this chart and see if I can answer that last question.

Corsi_trends_and_the_pronger_effect_medium

Get well, Prongs. We need you.

Edit: Great addition from zot22 -- Pronger also missed games 34-46, which happens to be right where that mid-season slump happened.