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Flyers 5, Hurricanes 3: Only wins now

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Some observations for your morning...

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The losing streak ends here, folks! The Flyers made it to Carolina to play a tough divisional opponent, and they came away with a pretty commanding win. Morgan Frost got his second goal. Claude Giroux looked great. Kevin Hayes snapped his goalless streak with an empty netter. Good stuff.

All stats via Natural Stat Trick and NHL.com

How’d they look out there?

5-on-5: 35 CF, 14 SF, 49 CF%, 38.96 xGF%

I think it really says something about the Hurricanes’s general game when I look at an adjusted 49 CF% for the Flyers and think ‘hey, that’s pretty good!” Objectively, it’s not great, but knowing what we do about the Hurricanes’s ability to generate a lot of shots and chances on a nightly basis, and how the Flyers got pretty well torched by them in this regard in their last meeting, we can feel okay about their overall effort. It was a little volatile, and there were stretches where the Hurricanes had possession for a good stretch and the Flyers just couldn’t seem to break up their momentum, but they also didn’t go away quietly. They did their own rallying and were able to stay in this one. It could have gotten out of hand, but it didn’t. Which feels pretty refreshing to say, all things considered.

Power play: 7 CF, 4 SF, 1 HDCF

You can have a look at that stat line and have it tell you some things about the power play. The Flyers only had four minutes of power play time, and they generated a handful of chances, and that’s not too bad! But we have two other pieces of note.

First up, Ivan Provorov scored another power play goal! We’ve had some concerns about how he’ll look as the season goes on, as he continues to get power play time despite having some other defensemen on the roster with good offensive instincts, as well as his history of not being very good on the power play in his first few seasons. But he’s been doing well, of late, to show that he’s earning this continued ice time. He’s looking more confident and just a little sharper, and it’s all paying off.

The other piece is that we had a couple of really good looks on the power play, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that when this happened, Claude Giroux was back on the left side making things happen. It’s remarkable how much better the whole unit looks when you just put him back where he’s been for forever. I’m just going to leave it at that.

Penalty kill: 12 CA, 6 SA, 2 HDCA

Overall, not the worst night for the Flyers’ penalty killers. The shorthanded goal for Morgan Frost gave us the most positivity and flash (more on that later), but mostly we’re coming out of this one feeling like they did fine. Not great but fine.

In just a hair under eight minutes on the penalty kill, the Flyers were able to pretty well limit the shots that actually made it on net, as well as the high danger chances. The real blemish is the goal by Teuvo Teravainen that they gave up, and while maybe we want one of the skaters to cut off that pass from Andrei Svechnikov, Brian Elliott just really has to make that stop. Kind of an ugly breakdown, but the overall work we can’t complain too much about.

Three standouts

1. Morgan Frost

Folks! Morgan Frost is here and he has two goals in his first two games. He’s good. He’s very good.

Frost picked up a goal and an assist last night, and seems to be getting pretty well settled in to playing at the NHL level. He registered four shot attempts across all situations, including one high-danger chance, and as was the case on Tuesday in Florida, he seemed to have no trouble remaining engaged and hunting for chances. But to look at this in a bigger picture sense, what seems to be most validating about these last two games, even if we obviously don’t expect him to keep scoring at a goal per game rate, is that he’s making swift work of putting to bed any question of his NHL readiness. He can hang, and he’s ready to make that clear.

2. Claude Giroux

We really liked Frost’s night, but he couldn’t have had quite that night without Giroux—and we mean this quite literally, because on the faceoff before Frost’s goal, Giroux moved Frost so he was in a better position and put the puck right on his tape, and all he had to do was get that shot off right away. He did the same thing later in the game, moving Travis Konecny before a faceoff so he could get the puck to him for a really good chance.

In short, with two goals and two assists, Giroux was really on his game last night. It’s worth noting that territorially, this line didn’t fare very well at all, putting up an adjusted 24.00 CF% and 31.24 xGF% at 5-on-5, and that’s a pretty tough stat line. But what was perhaps even more important about last night’s showing was that it saw Giroux looking like Giroux again. He’s back to wing and back to doing his thing, and it’s exactly what we’ve been waiting for.

3. James van Riemsdyk

Probably one of the moments that stands out about van Riemsdyk’s night is the stellar chance he had on the rush, which could have been a stellar goal, if he hadn’t held on for just a second too long and effectively took that chance away. That was tough to watch, and probably colors our overall feelings about his game, but maybe it shouldn’t.

Van Riemsdyk led the team with six shot attempts and two high danger chances on the night, and continued to look active in generating chances, even if he isn’t getting the breaks right now. He’s doing just about everything right (outside of occasionally deliberating a bit too long) to put himself in the best position to snap that goalless streak, and if he keeps with efforts like we saw last night, things are bound to start going his way eventually.

Two loose observations

1. The monkey off the back

Probably the best news to come out of this one was just that the Flyers won so maybe we can stop talking about how maybe they might actually be bad. (OK, who are we kidding, we’ll probably be back to that in the next week of so. Inevitably.) They stopped the losing streak at four games, and that should give all of us a sense of relief.

Things are likely going to look pretty different starting this weekend, with Scott Laughton cleared to return and the Flyers needing to do some shuffling both to get themselves back to being cap compliant, as well as to put together some new lines to optimize whatever personnel they’re left with. Things are still pretty fluid and will likely look a lot different tomorrow, but at least they can approach these new changes riding a high from a win, rather than trying to work through those in addition to whatever headspace they slip into while on a five game skid. Mindset matters, and this should help them get back into the right one.

2. Notes on 7D

The games where teams run 11 forwards and seven defensemen can get a little weird—just ask Carolina, they did it the last time we saw them at home—so if you came out of this one feeling like it wasn’t the Flyers’ cleanest effort of the season, you wouldn’t be wrong. As we talked about earlier, the Flyers, while they had some positive stretches of their own, also had periods where they let the Hurricanes grab ahold of the momentum of the game and couldn’t seem to maintain much time with the puck for themselves.

We’re happy about the end result in this one, but that also leaves us in something of a complicated position, feelings wise. Because, in a way, this was just a band-aid. The Flyers got a win and hopefully they can use it to build some momentum, but further muddling the bottom six in this game hasn’t solved the issue of how to actually get the bottom six to produce. Getting Laughton back helps. Hopefully they’ll be able to keep Frost up, and that will help. But they still have some things to figure out.

The only damn thing I know

Small note here: I don’t know if it’s ever going to not kill me that the Canes do the Law & Order BUM BUM sound whenever an opponent goes to the penalty box. It’s perfect. The Flyers should steal it. Please.