Flyers CF% vs. NYR
Flyers xGF% leaders vs. NYR
Let us all just take a moment and try to understand how Jori Lehtera lead the team in corsi-for percentage and expected goals-for percentage in the same game.
Alright, now that I definitely still do not understand it, let’s get into this wild game.
It was a very good game for the bottom six who accounted for six points and all members posted a CF% above 54%. One of the finer plays by the fourth line, was the Andrew MacDonald goal. Lehtera stole the puck away from J.T. Miller attempting to exit his own zone, made a pass to Valtteri FIlppula, and ... well, he failed to redirect the puck but that’s besides the point. MacDonald’s shot went by Henrik Lundqvist and Lehtera was a big part of that.
Scott Laughton had an exceptionally good game, scoring a nice redirect goal and being the epitome of a shut-down third-line center. The shift from the fourth to the third line for Scotty Laughts has been one of Dave Hakstol’s most underrated moves with the lineup. Arguably, this was the best game from the Flyers’ bottom six all season long, they’ll need these kind of performances on occasion should they make the playoffs.
While the second line of Jordan Weal/Wayne Simmonds, Nolan Patrick, and Jakub Voracek wasn’t lights out by any means, they did contribute a goal as Patrick tallied his sixth goal of the season on a beautiful rebound goal. Brandon Manning fed Patrick the pass in the middle of the ice, Patrick dished it off to Simmonds and flew straight to the net for a redirect that was stopped by Lundqvist but followed his rebound and went top shelf.
The first line was solid as per usual by the metrics but truly took over on the scoresheet. Giroux buried a perfect sauce from Konecny on a 2-on-1 and Konecny later fired a shortside shot on Hank that somehow made its way by.
Other than the MacDonald and Robert Hagg pairing, the defense was strong. Hagg even ended up being the only skater to not be on the ice for a goal-for.
By no means were the Flyers perfect in this game, but they out-corsi’d, and won the shot quality battle in an arena where they have struggled in for seemingly the past decade. While the Rangers are in full-on sell mode, they’re still a division rival and picking up the win in regulation was huge as the Flyers moved to within four points of the division lead.
1. We need to talk about the goaltending situation
Sooo Michal Neuvirth is hurt. Again. The Flyers lost Neuvirth after the first period presumably because of the third goal scored by the Rangers. Neuvirth tried to slide across to stop a Mats Zuccarello shot but failed to do so. The Flyers called it a lower-body injury and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear it was his groin as he went to the splits on the attempt. Alex Lyon performed very well in relief, but let’s be real, if Neuvirth is out long-term, this team needs a goalie and they need one now. Ron Hextall doesn’t like giving up future assets, but with a team fighting to stay in a playoff spot, you need a proven NHL goalie. Even if Neuvirth isn’t out long-term, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hexy pull the trigger knowing Neuvirth’s injury history.
2. Shayne Gostisbehere ... fought?
This game started with quite the antics as just 15 second into the game as Gostisbehere answered a hit on Travis Konecny by partaking in his first NHL fight. Ghost wouldn’t be the only one to drop the gloves in this one, as Dale Weise and Wayne Simmonds scrapped. Simmonds easily had the most enjoyable fight as he pummeled known garbage human Tony DeAngelo. I’ll let the video tell the story for that one.
3. This was arguably the most fun Flyers game of the season
For how surprisingly successful this season has been up to this point, I feel like there hasn’t been a whole lot of “fun” games. There was the Islanders game earlier in the year, the comeback on Lindros jersey retirement night, and ... I’m sure I’m forgetting some, but there haven’t been many! This game, however, was your quintessential Flyers vs. Rangers game and I loved it. Minus the Neuvirth/defensive screw ups, this was a thoroughly enjoyable game. Let’s have more of these, shall we?
4. The first line continues to show off
Three point games for Claude Giroux and Travis Konecny, and a point from Sean Couturier and you have yet another fantastic game from the first line. As great as the Giroux/Couturier/Voracek line was, this line is giving them a run for their money as of late. It especially helps when factoring in the secondary scoring it has created. Voracek and Patrick have been great for each other, and Weal/Simmonds can help out the third line. If this team continues to play well and reach the postseason with the top-9 performing, it’s not entirely crazy to believe they can do some things in the playoffs with solid goaltending.
5. Brandon Manning, Andrew MacDonald, and Jori Lehtera all scored in one game, what is life?
So...what the hell did we witness yesterday? Three of the ... well, not so great players on this team scored goals against one of the greatest goalies of our generation, in MSG. This isn’t something that happens, especially not for the Flyers in the Garden. I mean MacDonald didn’t even mean to score, he was hoping Lehtera would redirect it, Manning fired one of his miracle snipes, and Lehtera ... I mean what...what was that goal? By far one of the strangest, yet most amazing games I’ve seen from the Flyers in the past few years.
All stats courtesy of Natural Stat Trick and Corsica.hockey