Not going to add a ton of commentary to this one. Just going to provide one chart, showing a number of on-ice categories, the percentage of those types of categories that had been going the Flyers' way this season in the 16 games up until November 14, the percentage of those that have been going the Flyers' way in the eight games since November 14, and the change in each of those categories. The numbers in parentheses are the team's rank across all 30 NHL teams in each category.
All data via war-on-ice.com, all at 5-on-5.
|Category||Up to 11/13||11/14 to now||Change|
|Team Record / Points %||5-8-3, 40.6%||4-2-2, 62.5%||+21.9%|
|Scoring Chance %||45.5% (29)||54.7% (6)||+8.9%|
|High-Danger Scoring Chance %||44.1% (28)||57.1% (4)||+13.0%|
|Fenwick %||47.5% (25)||50.0% (13)||+2.5%|
|Score-Adjusted Fenwick %||46.0% (28)||49.5% (18)||+3.5%|
|Corsi %||48.6% (20)||52.0% (9)||+3.4%|
|Score-Adjusted Corsi %||46.8% (27)||51.3% (11)||+4.5%|
|Shots On Goal %||46.2% (27)||48.5% (20)||+2.3%|
|Goals %||43.5% (23)||46.7% (21)||+3.2%|
Of course, the selection of that date -- November 14 -- isn't a coincidence.
Alright, so I will actually add some commentary here, in the way of caveats: we're talking about eight games' worth of data. There's still potential for a lot of statistical noise in a timeframe about this size, so we can't get too carried away with conclusions from this. And obviously, the improved underlying numbers haven't always translated to goals, with the team still only getting just under 47 percent of the even-strength goals scored during this time.
Shayne Gostisbehere has been excellent in his time up here, but it's unlikely that the entire improvement in performance as depicted above can be attributed to his presence -- that kind of difference is one typically befitting of the league's very best players, and as much as we all love Ghost, I think we can agree he's not there yet. There's probably a lot to unpack here -- getting more accustomed to a coach's new system, secondary players stepping up more, good players getting healthy, not-as-good players getting taken off the ice, etc.
But whatever the cause is, and however much of it can be pinned to the ascendance of their talented rookie defenseman, there's no denying that the Flyers have been a much better team in the past couple of weeks. They've gone from undeniably looking and playing like one of the very worst teams in the NHL to, at least, playing like an average team and getting results as such. We can see it in their record, and the underlying numbers have more than backed it up.
Will it last? That's anyone's guess. But there's reason for hope. And we could all probably use some hope right now.