For the second game in a row, the Philadelphia Flyers lost in a shootout. They now have played well in two consecutive overtime periods, but have yet to seal the deal before dropping the game in a shootout.
If you've been watching the Flyers for any prolonged period of time over the last decade, this shouldn't surprise you. The Flyers are the worst team in the National Hockey League when it comes to the shootout. Here are the full NHL numbers dating back to the shootout's introduction to the league in 2005-06:
|Team||Total||W||L||Win %||Goals||Shots||Shot %||SA||GA||Save %|
|7||Jets / Thrashers||93||51||42||0.548|
It's not even really close, either. The Flyers shootout win percentage is 0.056 percentage points lower than the Florida Panthers, the next closest team to them on the list.
It's hard to pinpoint exactly what might be the cause, especially since -- obviously -- the Flyers have had a ton of roster turnover over the last nine seasons. A look at the shooting percentage and save percentage numbers might hint that it's the goaltenders, considering the Flyers all-time shooting percentage of 29.1 percent is just slightly below average, while their .573 save percentage is by far the worst of any team. Maybe there's a Flyers goalie joke to be made in there somewhere.
Luckily, the Flyers have appeared in about 15 fewer shootouts than the league average, so that mitigates the damage a bit. And only during the 2012-13 lockout-shortened season could the shootout have even potentially made a difference in the Flyers making the playoffs or not. They missed the postseason by six points that year, and they were only in three total shootouts, two of which they lost. So the extra points gained wouldn't have mattered.
Of course, the 2010 playoffs were secured by a singular shootout win against the Rangers -- one of just 27 all time the team has won. We'll have to break these numbers down season-by-season -- maybe later in the week -- to get more of any idea of what could be the culprit here.
Regardless this season, we know the Flyers are going to fight to get into the playoffs, and there's a very real chance that the two points they just lost could be the difference between the playoffs and not. Or, if not, there's a good chance that the two points plus however many more points they continue to give up via the shootout make that difference.
I don't have any answers to fixing this team's shootout woes, but something needs to change sooner than later. The thing is here to stay, and a decade's worth of ineptitude is more than enough.