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Panthers 5, Flyers 2: Not great!

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None of it. Actually I lied, Morgan Frost was great. That’s it though.

Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

Supposedly the Flyers played a hockey game last night, but I gotta say I’m having a hard time believing that. Since you know, a game requires two teams to show up and play, not just one.

5v5 Corsi-For: 55 CF, 53.4 CF%, 50.9 CF% SVA

At first glance, these numbers aren’t terrible by any means, and are actually solid. The problem is, these numbers are inflated by a 26-8 showing in the third period. They were basically even with the Panthers in the first period, but then got killed 21-11 in the second and allowed two goals in the process.

They allowed two in the first as well, but those goals were more fluky than anything else. The two in the second however, was primarily a result of poor play and the goals were bound to come. All season seemingly, the second period has been an issue for this team, and it continued last night.

5v5 Shot Quality: 27 SCF, 7 HDCF, 2.0 xGF, 45.44 xGF%, 45.16 xGF% SVA

And this, friends, is where the 18-wheeler goes off the cliff. The Flyers may have won the raw territorial battle, but the Panthers tore them apart in the offensive zone. In the first period, the Flyers hung with the Panthers as they did in the Corsi battle, but the second was yet again where it all went to hell. Florida posted a 1.39 expected goals to Philadelphia’s 0.39, thoroughly dominating the orange and black.

It gets even worse when looking at the high danger chances, and scoring chances, where the Flyers were out-chanced 17-5 and 8-2 respectively. The third period does a lot to balance that shelling out — with the Flyers holding the Panthers to zero scoring chances in the period — but it was too little, too late.

It’s not terribly surprising the Panthers were able to put up these kinds of numbers, after all, they are eighth in the league in xGF. However, the Flyers should have been able to match them better from an offensive standpoint, and they just didn’t do that.

Five Observations

1. The effort just wasn’t there

I typically don’t like to question the effort of our teams, because none of us truly know if multiple guys are dogging it out there. But man, they sure as hell looked like they were last night. Losing games is one thing, but when they get thoroughly outworked like they did and played some of the most sloppy, uncoordinated hockey I’ve seen all year, it’s another.

They couldn’t win puck battles all night, there were maybe two or three guys all night who were forechecking with any kind of intensity, it was just so lackluster. I know we’re all tired here of dump and chase hockey but the thing is this Flyers team is built for that. They’re a bigger group who is supposed to wear down teams with their forechecking and physicality, but to do so they actually have to you, you know, do the thing

This team isn’t skilled in the way to skate through the middle and just blow past the defense, they’re just not. So I’m fine with a dump and chase mentality but for crying out loud guys there’s two parts to the system! Chase the puck, be a nuisance, be a pain in the ass to play against. We saw absolutely none of that last night.

2. Hart wasn’t as bad as the score sheet shows

Carter Hart was pulled for allowing four goals on 18 shots, which is obviously not ideal. However, it’s hard to fault him on more than two of the goals, and even two is being harsh. The first was a point shot deflected by Andy Andreoff who believe it or not actually plays for the Flyers and not the Panthers! You wouldn’t know it by what he was doing on that goal against, but the box score shows him on the Flyers so I guess it has to be true.

The second was just a ridiculous shot from Brett Connoly who probably misses that shot 99 times out of 100. Hart was pretty well in position, so I’m not sure what more he could have done. The third was absolutely on him, however. Joel Farabee does make a bad turnover that leads to the rush, but Hart has to control the rebound better than he does. It’s a long range shot that he doesn’t corrall, and Aleksander Barkov does Aleksander Barkov things to finish it off. The fourth is mostly bad defense, but I guess you could argue that it’s somewhat on Hart?

Regardless, he generally played well enough to win, but the Flyers did him positively zero favors from the jump. He was tested early and often, and without some of his saves in the early going, this game probably ends up 8-2.

3. Morgan Frost shines in debut

One of the very few positives from this game was the play of Morgan Frost, who absolutely killed it. He was a pest on the forecheck, responsible defensively, and scored his first goal in grand style. Frost looked much like Farabee did in his first game, not showing any signs of being out of place. He was able to keep up with the NHL pace, and make a few really nice plays to get the Flyers going offensively.

He was second on the team in Corsi to his fellow rookie Farabee, with a 58.62 percent along with a team best 78.78 xGF percentage. It’s only one game, but if Frost continues to play like that, he’ll be getting more than just a one or two game look.

4. Ghost, what is it you would say you do here, exactly?

It’s been like beating a dead horse this season, but it bears mentioning again. What the hell is going on with Shayne Gostisbehere? The turnovers, the inability to drive play, the lack of explosiveness, just everything. Many expected Ghost to fully turn it around once Robert Hagg was taken off his pairing, but instead it’s been more of the same. He’s shown some flashes of his old self at times, but nothing consistent enough to make us truly think he’s turned a corner.

At some point he has to get it going and keep it going. He’s paid like a top defenseman on this team, it’s time he start playing like it. This season is about no more excuses, and he is no exception.

5. BE BETTER

That’s it, that’s the observation.


All statistics courtesy of Natural Stat Trick