The individual effort helped stand up a great team effort capping a hectic month of November that the Flyers certainly made the most of. More on that in a minute as we dive deeper into the win over the Canadiens with five big things from a fourth-straight win for the Orange and Black.
Five big things
Ivan the Great
Talk about an ending fit for Hollywood. You’re probably not going to see many more goals this season prettier than Ivan Provorov’s early in the overtime session, but the goal also highlights a few of the reasons why Provorov is enjoying a superb season.
The goal encapsulates everything that Provorov can bring to the table, but the decision to go and then the aggressiveness to pull off the move shows a player with supreme confidence right now and helps make him a dangerous force all over the ice. That aggression and confidence was simply not there for Provorov a year ago and he’s been enabled by the coaching staff to have the green light on those types of rushes and is paying back them back with a breakout offensive year.
Ivan Provorov with an unbelievable goal to win it. Good lord. pic.twitter.com/9qgYCqgmZ8— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) November 30, 2019
He played a game-high 27:41 and has seen his ice time really take off here lately as it has coincided with the Flyers’ terrific November. They were all strong minutes, too, as Provorov registered a Corsi-For of 55% at even strength and once again wasn’t on ice for a goal against.
The goal capped a month that saw Provorov average well over 25 minutes of ice time per game, score four goals and dish out six assists for 10 points in 16 games. The Flyers needed him to be workhorse with a packed schedule and he delivered with quality night-in and night-out.
Brian Elliott, BAMF
While a ton of credit and attention goes Carter Hart’s way, Elliott has been fantastic thus far and a big reason why the Flyers are in a playoff position at the end of November. After allowing somewhat of a clunker 19 seconds in, the veteran settled down and was quality the rest of the way to the tune of 39 saves on 42 shots to register his seventh win.
Joel Armia doing Joel Armia things and me texting my hockey buddies about it https://t.co/xA4yq2Tzqc— Erin Feral (@ef_forreal) December 1, 2019
Probably one that Elliott would like to have back as he didn’t quite have his angle right on the first rush after puck drop. Also to note that he appeared to be interfered with on a power play goal by Brendan Gallagher that the officials deemed to be okay.
But where Elliott really made his money was late in the second period when the Canadiens really turned up the pressure in the Flyers zone. Though he was mostly in survival mode, Elliott made the important saves to keep the Flyers close and end the month with another two points.
Brian Elliott ROBS Jordan Weal. pic.twitter.com/3oYDe3h7vF— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) November 30, 2019
They sunk our special teams
After not allowing a power play goal in any of their past four games the Canadiens broke through against the Flyers’ penalty kill. It wiped out two other strong kills from the Flyers, but was aided by some contact on Elliott from Gallagher leading to Tomas Tatar’s goal to even things up at 3-3. What did hurt, though, was allowing eight shots on those three power plays, an uptick after keeping the shot totals low during their recent surge down a man.
Have to think that they thought about challenging for goaltender interference here. It's close. pic.twitter.com/ZrSfjw3fnp— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) November 30, 2019
On the flip side of the coin, the Flyers couldn’t bury anything on either of their two power plays and generated just two shots. While the Flyers’ penalty kill has taken off, their power play has left much to be desired through November. That’s odd considering the firepower they can throw out there but is also being dragged down by the fact that James van Riemsdyk hasn’t been scoring much thus far, and most of his damage has traditionally been done on the power play.
Life has been pretty good for the Flyers at even strength lately, and this was one of the few times of late that they haven’t won the special teams battle and it could have cost them a win.
The Farabee/Hayes/Laughton line was: actually good
Though it’s an odd trio, the combination was the Flyers strongest at even strength in this one. Joel Farabee hit a post and had an assist, Kevin Hayes scored, and Scott Laughton had a good overall game despite not showing up much in the box score. The three drove play to the tune of a Corsi-For of 78% and were out on ice for a goal while having the unfortunate luck of being out there for the Armia goal that was on one man and one man only.
Hayes and Farabee had very good games and we’ve seen Hayes really respond with points in four of his last five games after a lengthy scoring drought. He showed his shooting ability with his snipe in the second period and frankly needs to be shooting more often. Farabee assisted on the Hayes goal but should have had at least one of his own after ringing a rising shot of the post behind Keith Kinkaid late in regulation. The assist was a good hustle play to keep the puck in the zone and find Hayes, creating extra offense from nothing.
Farabee keeps the puck in the zone and gets it to Hayes, who buries it! pic.twitter.com/s4bfwHWaCh— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) November 30, 2019
Little things like that keep have helped keep Farabee’s place in the lineup and getting minutes from Alain Vigneault and the coaching staff. Though he hasn’t always scored with eight points in 20 games, he does enough otherwise to keep the attention of the coaching staff and help his teammates. Morgan Frost, who saw less than 12 minutes against the Canadiens, should be watching Farabee closely these days to help himself.
As for Laughton, it’s clear that the Flyers are simply a better team with him in the lineup. Like Michael Raffl, Laughton can play up and down the lineup and at all three forward spots. He gives you a good penalty killer and can soak up minutes in any situation. His return has given the Flyers’ forward group more depth and the ability to keep skill guys like Farabee and Frost in while using Laughton in tougher situations.
Thankfully November is finished
The Flyers were tasked with a tortuous schedule this month with 16 games in 30 days and they responded with their best month since 1990. They managed to tie a franchise record with 24 points in the month and used it to springboard into a playoff position. We went into the month expected difficulty due to the sheer amount of games, but the Flyers instead took advantage of their opportunities and turned a difficult situation into a positive outcome.
Only the Senators, Coyotes, and Red Wings played 16 games like the Flyers, and no other team racked up more points in the month. St. Louis had 23 points in 15 games while the Sharks got to 22 points in 15 games and the Capitals got to 22 in just 14. The Flyers picked up points in 87.5% of their games, the best mark in the league during the month, though buoyed by four trips to extra time including Provorov’s beauty against Montreal.
They got superb goaltending from both Carter Hart and Brian Elliott, generally good special teams play, and often won the possession battle at even strength to buoy their success. Though they didn’t finish top-five in any one category in the month, they were outstanding in close games, a tribute to the both the players and the coaching staff. Despite going 10-2-4 in the month, the Flyers had a goal differential of just plus nine. While four of those are pretty standard given the overtimes, they also played in four other games decided by two goals or less with outliers being a 4-1 win over the Hurricanes, that ugly 5-2 loss in Florida, and a 6-1 thrashing of those Red Wings.
Winning close games isn’t easy, and it sure takes a toll given the extra grind and wears on leaning on your top players late in games to try and secure points and wins. It worked for the Flyers this month, but we’re glad it’s over because sustaining that type of play isn’t easy and the Flyers were clearly tired towards the end of the month and looked gassed at points.