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These Flyers are historically bad at giving up the first goal

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We can stop this whenever you’d like, The Flyers.

NHL: Vegas Golden Knights at Philadelphia Flyers John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

Despite winning half of their six games so far this season, the Philadelphia Flyers aren’t producing confidence among the Philly fans. There are concerns about the play of Ivan Provorov, defensive zone breakdowns, and of course the penalty kill. Another problem is the fact the team has come out flat and found themselves down 1-0 in each of the six games they’ve played.

With the exception of their 1-0 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights, the Flyers have found themselves down by a goal in the first period of every game this season. Obviously, that’s not great, but how bad is this year’s team compared to past Flyers’ teams?

Allowing first goals to start a season

Games allowing first goal Occurrences Seasons
Games allowing first goal Occurrences Seasons
6 1 2018-19
5 0 N/A
4 2 2008-09, 2001-02
3 8 2013, 2005-06, 1999-00, 1990-91, 1988-89, 1984-85, 1978-79, 1969-70
2 6 2015-16, 2014-15, 2006-07, 1996-97, 1993-94, 1976-77
1 12 2011-12, 1994-95, 1992-93, 1989-90, 1987-88, 1986-87, 1983-84, 1977-78, 1974-75, 1972-73, 1971-72, 1967-68
0 22 2017-18, 2016-17, 2013-14, 2010-11, 2009-10, 2007-08, 2003-04, 2002-03, 2000-01, 1998-99, 1997-98, 1995-96, 1991-92, 1985-86, 1982-83, 1981-82, 1980-81, 1979-80, 1975-76, 1973-74, 1970-71, 1968-69

Well...bad. Not only has no other team started the season giving up the first goal in their first six games, but no other team even started the season doing so in their first five games. The only teams to start the season giving up the first goal in their first four games were the 2008-09 Flyers and the 2001-02 Flyers.

The 2008-09 squad wound up scoring first 43 times in their final 78 games going 29-8-6 in those games and finished as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference with a record of 44-27-11. The 2001-02 team ended up scoring first in 41 of their final 78 tilts with a record of 29-11-1 in the games they scored first to help them win the Atlantic Division. Both teams lost in the first round of the playoffs. Of the eight Flyers’ teams that started the season by giving up the first goal in three straight games one team made the Stanley Cup Final, two made the Eastern Conference Final, and three missed the postseason.

It’s easy to understand why a team would want to score the game’s first goal. Add in the fact 30 of the 31 teams in the league last year won at least half of the games they scored first in, and 15 of the teams won .700 of the games they scored first in, there is an importance to score the game’s first goal. For teams with lots of high-end talent or quick-strike offenses, perhaps scoring the game’s first goal isn’t as important. However, for a team with several defensive flaws outlined in just their first six games, the Flyers may want to start opening the scoring or it could be an uneasy season. Maybe even more uneasy than some of the more pessimistic fans would have guessed heading into the campaign.

*Stats courtesy of Hockey-Reference,, and Flyers History