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Penguins 7, Flyers 1: Touchdown

By the score you’d think we just witnessed the first NFL team to find a way to score just one single point.

Photo by Justin Berl/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Metrics

Do I really want to go down this rabbit hole? Alright, let’s just get it over with

5v5 Corsi-For: 37 CF, 44.58 CF%, 40.08 CF% SVA

Excuse me while I smash my head on my desk in frustration and despair. This is just ... it’s not good, folks. Not only did the Flyers lose the shot attempts battle, but they lost it embarrassingly. By no means are the Penguins a bad play-driving team to start the season, they were 12th in the league in Corsi at 51.21 coming into tonight. But the Flyers, as the top play-driving team in the league, have to be better than this.

Now it’s obvious these metrics aren’t needed to tell everyone the team straight up sucked last night. It was so obvious literally anyone could tell they played as bad as the score looked. But man, it just gets depressing diving deeper into this. Generally when teams are trailing, they’ll push harder of course and get more shot attempts and even dominate play at times.

That just didn’t happen in this game. There were so few moments where it looked like the Flyers controlled the game and even when they did, it lasted what, 30 seconds tops? To have that little pressure while trailing, and see the adjusted for score and venue Corsi percentage jump that high in a game they trailed from the start, is just depressing.

Losing badly is one thing, not showing any life while in the process of losing badly is another. There needed to be something from this game we could hang our hats on and say “At least they did that one specific thing well.” There wasn’t though. It was instead simply an ugly loss to a divisional rival, their biggest divisional rival as a matter of fact.

5v5 shot quality: 18 SCF, 7 HDCF, 1.36 xGF, 36.97 xGF%, 34.44 xGF% SVA

It really doesn’t get much better here, either. Overall this season the Flyers have done a good job keeping teams to the perimeter, henceforth keeping their expected goals allowed low. Over the past few games that number has been climbing slightly, but the past two games have been a nightmare. They gave up 25 scoring chances, 11 high danger, and the Penguins had an expected goals of 2.32 and I’m shocked it’s not higher. Especially when looking at the heat map:

If there is any positive to take away, I guess it’s the fact they tried to get to the high percentage areas? But they did it so infrequently it truly didn’t matter a whole lot. Defensively though it was a horrific showing, and a possible trend that needs to be stopped. The Flyers are not going to win many hockey games if the defense has more games like they did last night, and it’s not just one person. Robert Hagg looked awful, Shayne Gostisbehere looked ... not great, Travis Sanheim was horrible, and this isn’t even mentioning the back check.

On two Pittsburgh goals, Chris Stewart just stood and watched as the Penguins forward buried an easy goal. This isn’t a “Oh hey the problem is Stewart and Stewart alone man that guy is what’s wrong with this team” opinion. So let’s please not go down that path. But, he was especially bad last night and if he wants to stay up here, he can’t have too many more games like that.

Two Observations

1. So ah, what was that?

Nothing good, that’s for sure! The Flyers came out and I guess forgot they had a hockey game to play? Against their arch rival? After getting embarrassed the game before? I mentioned this in the BSH slack, but I was totally willing to give the team a pass on the Islanders game. They were in the second half of a back-to-back playing against a tough team, and we all know how rough the travel schedule has been. All of that is fair, and it wasn’t the biggest deal they lost that game.

But for them to come out last night and look like they did? That’s inexcusable, and should never have happened. It’s their first game vs. Pittsburgh and they’re looking to erase the memory of the Islanders game. Instead, they went out and created another memory to erase. This season is all about no more excuses, there is zero reason that period should have happened the way it did against a Penguins team that honestly, isn’t that great!

Would it get better? Hell no, it got worse somehow actually. One would presume after a monstrosity of a period like that, they’d at least show a little bit of fight and make a game out of it, lose by a goal or two. NOOOOOPE. Instead, they just continued to get shelled and there was little to no fight in them. No one got in a fight (although it almost happened a couple times), there were a few big hits which was nice, but overall the Penguins still took it to them.

When adjusting for score and venue, the Flyers fared WORSE in the Corsi and expected goals battles. To keep that in perspective, they were losing practically from puck drop, most teams at least do a little better in these departments when they’re losing the entire damn time. Barely anything was good about this game, and the players should be ashamed of that performance.

It’s two games, and two games only. Outside of these two games, the Flyers’ process has generally looked extremely good. They were the top play-driving team in hockey, and had the best expected goals percentage. They were doing so, so many things well defensively relative to last season, and it’s just fallen apart over the last two games.

They’re two very disheartening games, but this is still a team that has played well for most of the season so far, and is a very solid team on paper. The upcoming back-to-back vs. New Jersey and Toronto will be a huge test for this team, and possibly a true barometer of the team’s actual selves. Put up or shut up time.

2. Oskar scored a goal, woo

This was literally the only good thing that happened in this game, plus I felt bad putting only one observation down. But at the same time, this game is hardly worth writing about so it probably wouldn’t have mattered. The goal was nice though, as Oskar Lindblom continued his hot start to the season with his sixth goal in 11 games.

All stats courtesy of Natural Stat Trick