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Flyers 4, Canucks 1: What we learned from a western Canada sweep

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Observations, #FlyersAfterDark edition.

Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Corsi Report

Flyers raw CF% leaders vs Vancouver

Player TOI CF CA CF% CF% Rel
Player TOI CF CA CF% CF% Rel
Jakub Voracek 12:16 9 9 50 21.7
Sean Couturier 12:22 11 11 50 23.47
Wayne Simmonds 12:07 10 10 50 22.55
Valtteri Filppula 11:10 9 10 47.37 18.52
Michael Raffl 10:55 8 9 47.06 17.43
Claude Giroux 12:06 10 12 45.45 16.88
Ivan Provorov 16:15 12 16 42.86 14.95
Andrew MacDonald 16:04 11 15 42.31 13.42
Shayne Gostisbehere 10:54 6 10 37.5 4.77
Travis Sanheim 12:16 5 13 27.78 -8.07
Robert Hagg 12:06 7 19 26.92 -10.85
Jordan Weal 9:12 4 11 26.67 -9.05
Taylor Leier 9:43 3 12 20 -17.5
Mark Alt 12:34 5 21 19.23 -22.99
Nolan Patrick 6:28 3 13 18.75 -19.43
Scott Laughton 10:04 3 13 18.75 -19.43
Travis Konecny 7:12 3 16 15.79 -24.6
Dale Weise 6:39 1 15 6.25 -35.57
via Natural Stat Trick

Flyers xGF% leaders vs Vancouver

Player xGF xGA xG+/- xGF%
Player xGF xGA xG+/- xGF%
MICHAEL.RAFFL 0.82 0.11 0.71 88.17%
SHAYNE.GOSTISBEHERE 0.64 0.1 0.54 86.49%
VALTTERI.FILPPULA 1.02 0.39 0.63 72.34%
JAKUB.VORACEK 0.86 0.34 0.52 71.67%
IVAN.PROVOROV 0.89 0.87 0.02 50.57%
SEAN.COUTURIER 0.53 0.57 -0.04 48.18%
ROBERT.HAGG 0.65 0.87 -0.22 42.76%
WAYNE.SIMMONDS 0.39 0.57 -0.18 40.63%
JORDAN.WEAL 0.38 0.58 -0.2 39.58%
NOLAN.PATRICK 0.36 0.55 -0.19 39.56%
ANDREW.MACDONALD 0.56 0.92 -0.36 37.84%
TRAVIS.KONECNY 0.36 0.61 -0.25 37.11%
CLAUDE.GIROUX 0.39 0.86 -0.47 31.20%
TRAVIS.SANHEIM 0.1 0.48 -0.38 17.24%
TAYLOR.LEIER 0.07 0.69 -0.62 9.21%
SCOTT.LAUGHTON 0.07 0.7 -0.63 9.09%
MARK.ALT 0.1 1.18 -1.08 7.81%
DALE.WEISE 0.01 0.66 -0.65 1.49%
via corsica.hockey

Flyers zone starts

Player TOI OZS DZS ZSR
Player TOI OZS DZS ZSR
MARK.ALT 14 5 2 71.43%
DALE.WEISE 8.3 2 1 66.67%
NOLAN.PATRICK 6.8 2 1 66.67%
TRAVIS.KONECNY 8.4 2 1 66.67%
JORDAN.WEAL 9.6 4 3 57.14%
TRAVIS.SANHEIM 14.2 5 4 55.56%
SCOTT.LAUGHTON 12 4 4 50.00%
TAYLOR.LEIER 11.7 4 4 50.00%
ANDREW.MACDONALD 17.9 4 12 25.00%
CLAUDE.GIROUX 13.3 3 9 25.00%
SEAN.COUTURIER 14.7 3 9 25.00%
WAYNE.SIMMONDS 12.8 3 9 25.00%
IVAN.PROVOROV 18.2 4 13 23.53%
JAKUB.VORACEK 14 0 5 0.00%
MICHAEL.RAFFL 12.9 0 4 0.00%
ROBERT.HAGG 14.1 0 2 0.00%
SHAYNE.GOSTISBEHERE 12.3 0 3 0.00%
VALTTERI.FILPPULA 12.3 0 4 0.00%
via Corsica.hockey

So obviously right off the bat, this game looks like a PDO-fest for the Flyers and they lucked into a win. Truth be told, they definitely got a bit lucky in this one and goaltender Brian Elliott bailed them out for essentially the entire night. But what did the Flyers do well in this game? And what did they do poorly?

Starting off, it looks like the decision to put Jakub Voracek with Valtteri Filppula and Michael Raffl is genius. Raffl was everywhere last night, breaking up passes, retrieving loose pucks along the boards, and finally scoring a goal deflecting a Voracek pass by Jacob Markstrom. At first glance, it looked as though that line would not be able to produce much in terms of goals, the trio is proving that wrong quickly.

The pairing of Ivan Provorov and Andrew MacDonald had a solid game as well (I know, I’m just as shocked as you are). Their raw CF% totals don’t bode well but after adjusting for score and venue, Provorov was almost at 49% and MacDonald at 48%. Still not a great outing for the duo, but considering how often they were faced with a defensive zone start, I’d be encouraged. Provorov also was second on the team tonight in expected goals-for, another positive sign for the 20 year old.

Another positive came in the form of one Shayne Gostisbehere, sticking it to his haters with a power play goal and putting together a great game in the xGF% department with the lowest xGA of 0.10. Meanwhile his partner Robert Hagg came in with the fourth highest xGA of 0.86 which leads us to the negatives from this one.

The third line went missing again late in the second period and for most of the third. Unsurprisingly since all three had extremely poor games based off of their possession stats. Dale Weise had just one corsi for, ONE WHOLE UNBLOCKED SHOT ATTEMPT. I understand not wanting to move Patrick up in the lineup but at the very least, get him away from the train-wreck that is Weise.

The next comes as a positive and negative, in the form of last night’s heatmap. While the Flyers still generated most of their chances from the home plate area —the Canucks were able to do the same — and at a higher volume.

In the previous two games vs Calgary and Edmonton, the Flyers kept their opposition to the outside for the majority of the night, a key cog in their wins. Last night however the Flyers were allowing way too many chances in front of Elliott and it took an almost perfect performance from him, to escape with the win.


Five Takeaways

1. Brian Elliott was superhuman

At least when they got outshot by Calgary, most of their shots were coming from the outside which made Elliott’s night a hell of a lot easier. Tonight however, showcased how hot the 32-year old netminder has been over the course of this three game win streak. Not only did he help the Flyers secure their third win in a row, he won his 200th game of his career. That moves him into a tie with Patrick Lalime for 86th all-time in NHL history — which sure doesn’t sound like much — but for where Elliott’s career was when he went to St. Louis back in 2011? This has to be pretty cool for him.

2. Michael Raffl: actually good!

Despite a slow start to the season in the point category, Michael Raffl was lighting up the metrics scorecard. Consistently over 50% CF and driving play on quite possibly the best fourth line in hockey with Scott Laughton and Taylor Leier. Now, in an expanded role on the third line with Voracek and Filppula, Raffl has come alive on the scoresheet with five goals in his last eight games. He’s only scored more than ten goals twice in his NHL career, a 21 goal season in 2014-15 playing alongisde Giroux and Voracek, and a 13 goal season the following year. He’s got five in 29 games so far this year, so it looks like he’ll be able to reach that plateau once again.

3. The turtling needs to stop

I understand the concept of, “hey, we have a lead and we don’t wanna give it up, so let’s play conservative!”. Obviously if you’re the head coach, you don’t want your team taking too many risks that can lead to odd-man rushes and possibly goals. However I think there’s a way to do this without going to the ultra-conservative route that Dave Hakstol goes. While I liked the few chances they took in the third period, the end of the second leading to the lone Vancouver goal draws my ire. At the end of the second it was obvious, they were just playing to get to the end of the period. So what happened? Brock Boeser scores with 19.4 seconds left and the Canucks trimmed the lead to two.

4. Power play looked strong

They sure got plenty of practice at the very least. The Flyers had six power plays in this game, and although they only scored on two of them, they looked dangerous on just about all of them. There was solid puck movement, good play setups, and overall decent shot selection. The zone entries on the man advantage were especially strong, leading to most of the quality chances.

5. Poor Scott Laughton

I mean ... I’ll give you an A for effort Scotty. But seriously, why did NBCSP make this their fearless play of the game? Who made that call?

All stats courtesy of Natural Stat Trick and Corsica.hockey