Despite the final score suggesting a close game, the Flyers were dominated by Florida for most of the night, and it is readily apparent in the analytics from last night’s game.
Flyers raw CF% leaders vs Florida
Flyers xGF% leaders vs Florida
By all accounts, the Flyers should have been shutout in this hockey game. Florida controlled the game from the jump and Brian Elliott was the main reason it was even close. Claude Giroux, Taylor Leier, and Andrew MacDonald were the only players above 50% in corsi-for, and even they weren’t blowing the competition away.
The Flyers measly 30 shot attempts is tied for third least total of the season so far, trailing 24 against Vancouver, and 27 vs. San Jose. The leading shot attempt man for Philadelphia last night was defenseman Travis Sanheim, who put in a 13 CF performance, two above second place Andrew MacDonald. Essentially, the one thing the Flyers really did well last night was the quality of their shot attempts. They didn’t get a lot, but the ones they got were good.
There were just four Flyers who failed to hit 50% expected goals-for, but otherwise they played a solid game in that department. What helped was the generally okay defense they put together from start to finish. They kept the Panthers mostly to the high slot with their shot attempts — which isn’t the most low percentage area — but it’s far out enough that it definitely softens the blow. The Flyer with the highest xGA was Jakub Voracek - a total of 0.41, which is passable on most nights.
This is the kind of game plan the Flyers should try to stick to, ideally with a few more shot attempts. For once, shot quality wasn’t the main driver of this loss. While the process was good with regard to shot attempts, in the future I’d like to see Dave Hakstol emphasize creating chances from the slot rather than just close to the net. A lot of the shots generated by the Flyers down low last night were tough angle shots, which usually are hard to score on. They’re hard to stop sometimes as well, but with the lack of finishing on this team sometimes, it might be best to stick to shots with a higher percentage of going in the net.
Flyers raw CF%: 46.15
Flyers adjusted CF%: 42.66 (lol)
Panthers raw CF%: 53.85
Panthers adjusted CF%: 57.34
1. This game was pretty darn boring, eh?
This ended up as one of the lowest event games of the year; the Panthers may as well have shut out the Flyers for how lackluster this game was. Other than the Michael Raffl fight, this one had the pace of an alumni game. The first period started out pretty fun, with a lot of back and forth opportunities, but once Florida took the lead it just seemed to take the wind out of this game’s sails.
2. What were Robert Hagg and Andrew MacDonald doing on the first goal?
Jared McCann comes flying into the offensive zone so naturally Hagg and MacDonald see the best way to defend it is to skate backwards all the way to Tampa. Hagg left a clear shooting lane for McCann and MacDonald was...well, in no man’s land, as he typically is. Just an all around ugly effort on a goal that Elliott most likely should have stopped.
3. Wait, goalies can get a tripping penalty?
I realize this isn’t a long time, but I’ve been watching hockey for about ten years now, and I think last night was the first time I have ever seen a goalie get called for a tripping penalty. I didn’t even know that could happen until last night. In typical Flyers fashion, the tripping penalty in question was, in fact, not even a trip! Aleksander Barkov started to wipe out before Elliott’s stick even touched him. If anything, it should have been a penalty on MacDonald who flailed with his stick to stop him, not Elliott.
4. Poor Shayne Gostisbehere
With just about two minutes remaining in the game, it looked like Ghost scored to bring the Flyers to within one. Not only would it have brought the Flyers closer to making the comeback, it would have given Ghost a goal in his home state, and in front of Papa Ghost who was cheering him on from the stands. However, Sean Couturier did deflect the point shot from Ghost, giving him the goal. Maybe just no one tell his dad?
5. Power play was....bad.
Four attempts, 0 goals. The Flyers had plenty of chances to get back in the game but the power play was more of a hindrance than help last night. Panthers captain Derek MacKenzie scored a short handed goal to add insult to injury, and the Flyers never seemed to be in sync on the man advantage.
All stats courtesy of Natural Stat Trick and Corsica.hockey