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Flyers preseason finale observations

Your final preseason observations

John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

The Corsi Report

Allow me to introduce what “The Corsi Report” is going to include before diving in. I will be analyzing each of the Flyers four lines and three defense pairs on their games from a corsi perspective. Also, an evaluation of the team as a whole will be done and seeing where things went wrong/well. Without further adieu, let’s get fancy!

1st line: Giroux/Couturier/Voracek

Giroux: 16 CF/0 CA

Couturier: 14 CF/0 CA

Voracek: 15 CF/0 CA

You did in fact read that right, when these three were on the ice at 5v5, they allowed no chances from the Islanders. The first line, which was much maligned when originally put together, just put on an advanced stats show for the ages. If this line stays together — and learns how to finish — we may be looking at a line that never gets broken up throughout the course of the season. Sean Couturier may just be the perfect player to center the Flyers highest paid players.

2nd line: Weal/Patrick/Simmonds

Weal: 8 CF/6 CA

Patrick: 15 CF/5 CA

Simmonds: 14 CF/6 CA

The cycle game this line put on was extremely impressive. Nolan Patrick and Wayne Simmonds were excellent in board battles and Weal was constantly creating space for either himself or his two linemates. I’d be surprised if this isn’t another line difficult to break up during the regular season.

3rd line: Weise/Filppula/Konecny

Weise: 10 CF/6 CA

Filppula: 11 CF/7 CA

Konecny: 9 CF/7 CA

Poor Travis Konecny. His speed and high potential offensive skills are definitely dragged down by this line despite all three having a solid game. Konecny with a few bad turnovers at the blue line, but otherwise a decent game for an oddly assembled line.

4th line: Leier/Laughton/Raffl

Leier: 10 CF/6 CA

Laughton: 10 CF/ 10 CA

Raffl: 10 CF/7 CA

Scott Laughton may not be a play driving wizard, but man is he imposing on the forecheck. Whenever there was a loose puck and Laughts was on the ice, he was immediately on his horse to retrieve it. This might end up being another line that stays together for the regular season, and if it does, it could end up being one of the best 4th lines in all of hockey.

Now for the defense pairs:

1st pair: Provorov/MacDonald

Provy: 9 CF/2 CA

Mac: 14 CF/4 CA

Can’t tell if Ivan Provorov is so good that he’s somehow inflated MacDonald’s corsi numbers, or A-Mac just didn’t play all that poorly?

2nd pair: Gostisbehere/Hagg

Ghost: 16 CF/12 CA

Hagg: 19 CF/12 CA

Another solid game for Robert Hagg that earned him a spot on the Flyers opening night roster. Shayne Gostisbehere suffered a 3rd period upper body injury which will throw a wrench in the opening night lineups.

3rd pair: Manning/Gudas

Manning: 18 CF/4 CA

Gudas: 17 CF/6 CA

Despite a solid game from this pairing, it would probably be a good idea to not have them see any regular season time together.

Now onto the team performance.

This is one of those games that people who don’t believe in or like to use advanced stats point to as an example of their invalidity. The Flyers dominated the Isles in chances 47-20 and in High Danger Chances 5-2. The problem however, was that the Isles capitalized twice at 5v5 while the Flyers were only able to once. So while the Flyers dominated play for the majority of the game, they failed to take advantage of that dominance.

Five Takeaways:

1. Scott Laughton: actually good?

Laughton has been putting on a show seemingly each time he has stepped on the ice this preseason, and he continued that show setting up Michael Raffl on a beautiful 2v1 goal.

Last season one of the biggest issues of the Flyers, was the play of the fourth line featuring the likes of Pierre Edouard Bellemare and Chris Vandevelde. This season, the fourth line has a real chance to not only not be a liability, it has a chance to be one of the better fourth lines in hockey especially if Michael Raffl finds his way on Laughton’s wing as he has throughout the preseason.

2. Travis Sanheim can’t be worse than Andrew MacDonald


No matter how you spin it, MacDonald on the opening night roster instead of Travis Sanheim — I can confidently say — makes the Philadelphia Flyers a worse hockey team. The front office can cite veteran leadership all they want, but until we get a way to measure that there is no viable reason to keep Mac over a Sanehim/Hagg/Morin.

Yes, Sanheim is going to make mistakes that make you wonder if he’s ready for the NHL. He’s also going to make plays that makes you stand on your feet and wonder how he wasn’t up here sooner. These mistakes would be something to talk about if the guy he could be replacing wasn’t making these mistakes just as, if not more, often than him.

3. The top line might be here to stay

So aside from all the corsi jazz I mentioned earlier, holy butts this line looked absolutely dominant. Couturier seemed to get to every loose puck and get it back to Voracek and Giroux who simply controlled play at a crazy rate. Although the line did not crack the score sheet, they at the very least made life horrible for the Islanders sent out to face them. Giroux seems to have regained the explosiveness that made him so dangerous in his prime and Voracek (minus a few annoying turnovers) looks to be in that 2014/15 mode where as soon as he got the puck, he wasn’t letting go.

No chances against how crazy is that?

4. Too many point shots

Less of this, please

I feel like Patrick Star here, we need to take that red spot, and PUSH IT somewhere else (preferably to the slot area or in front of the net)!

This was a theme with the Flyers last season, out chancing a team but too many of their chances coming from non-optimal shooting areas. Although the cycle game was extremely strong in this game, many of those cycles resulted in a point shot which 90% of the time, don’t have a good probability of reaching the back of the net.

5. Elliott struggles in finale:

BAMF Brian Elliott has been solid the entire preseason, so he was bound to have a least that’s what I’ll keep telling myself.

Elliott started out the game shaky when Dennis Seidenberg blasted a one time knuckler by him without a screen or deflection. It’s not exactly the easiest shot to stop, but one you’d like your goalie to make. The second goal you can attribute mostly to the defense (or lack thereof) of MacDonald, and the third...let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.

I wouldn’t take this too seriously, as Elliott is coming off a game where he was very solid against the New York Rangers. Also, this is just preseason after all.

All stats courtsey of Natural Stat Trick