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Flyers vs. Hurricanes by the numbers: Staal brothers trump Giroux line

Hurricanes work the match ups to their advantage with the last change.

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Full disclosure, I may nodded off at various points in this game. The scouting report on the Canes is "solid, defensive team" which is usually code for boring and uneventful hockey. They more than lived up to that billing keeping the Flyers to just nine scoring chances at evens.

That being said, the Hurricanes didn't light it up offensively by any measure. Discipline was at the heart of the Flyers issues in their own zone, with Carolina piling up eight scoring chances and two goals in the multitude of powerplay opportunities.

Home/Away Chance Locations

This may be the strongest two-way game we've seen from the Couturier and Jakub duo since Craig Berube blew up the top line. (Just pretend that turn-over by Jake at the end of the game didn't happen). They won the chance battle convincingly and contributed the only Flyers goal on the evening.

On the other hand, someone finally figured out how to slow down Claude Giroux. They had their share of offensive looks early on in the game but they were by far the Flyers biggest liability in the d-zone.

Hurricane's head coach Bill Peters aggressively worked the last change and went power against power on the Giroux line. The Staal brothers barely saw a minute of ice time away from Giroux and they won the match-up handily. Giroux didn't get victimized on the score board, but it's tough to win a game with one of your top scoring lines hemmed into the defensive zone. 

Out of sheer curiosity, I went back in time and pulled ice time numbers from the last time the Flyers hosted the Hurricanes in Philly in December. When Craig Berube had the benefit of last change, the results were the exact opposite.

Courtesy of www.naturalstattrick.com :

Just one example of how valuable home ice can be to a lineup like the Flyers.

This is the textbook definition of a mixed bag

Wildly different results to go along with wildly different usage for defenseman on the same pairings. The Flyers were guilty of some haphazard line changes. For example, Braydon Coburn spent just 2 minutes skate alongside one of Nick Schultz or Nick Grossmann and got lit up for 3 scoring chances against in that time.

  • Set Up - The primary pass on a scoring chance, including rebounds.
  • Chance - The primary shot on a scoring chance, including deflections.
  • Involved - The sum of both set ups and chances.

The most encouraging part of this game was seeing Couturier and Voracek play off each other so well. When the Flyers were still close enough to realistically mount a comeback, these two put together a string of dominant shifts. If not for some desperation saves by Cam Ward, the final score might have been a less lopsided.