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Penguins 4, Flyers 1: At least they didn’t get shut out

Some observations for your afternoon...

Pittsburgh Penguins v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Well, that sure was a lot of fun right? Right? Can’t wait to do this all over again in a couple weeks, but this time outside, right? RIGHT?

All stats and graphics via HockeyViz, Natural Stat Trick, and NHL.com

1.Oh boy, do I love turnovers

This was an ugly start. We’ve said that before and we wish we didn’t have to keep saying it, but here we are. Needing to. The Flyers came out for the first period a little flat, and couldn’t seen to find a way to hold onto the puck. Their passes weren’t clean, they couldn’t control and entry into the offensive zone, nor could they manage much in the way of clean exit attempts. And the Penguins were just that much quicker to loose pucks. They were able to clean things up well enough for the second half of the first period, and beyond, but it was dicey for a bit there.

And we don’t want to go too far with that one, get too hindsight biased and say that they lost the game in those first few minutes, squandered their chance to get themselves the first lead and then this could have been a different game. I mean, yeah, maybe it could have been, but also maybe not. But more on that later.

2. A couple of nods

The tone of this one is bound to get a little dissonant, because this was a loss and we’re upset about that as well as the bad things that were done, but there was also some solid play buried in all that. Which we should acknowledge as well.

First up, Oskar Lindblom. He was showing a bit of buzz early, but then had to leave the ice after wiping out, sliding into the boards, and taking a Jack Johnson knee to the head, and that might have been a good excuse for his offense stagnating, had that been the case. But it wasn’t, instead, he came back and picked up right where he left off, and ended the night with a team high four scoring chances and three high danger chances. And I know I personally was really hoping for a Lindblom revenge goal to close things out, but I guess we can’t have it all.

We should also give a nod to our first pair of Travis Sanheim and Ivan Provorov. We feel compelled to note that yes they were on the ice for the first three goals against, but they weren’t directly to blame for those pucks going in the net. it wasn’t their breakdowns that allowed them. So we’ve got that out of the way. What we really want to note is how their offensive contributions helped the team, and how they were, on the whole, successful in their matchups. Sanheim and Provorov each registered three and eight shots, respectively, and the Flyers were at a 66.67 CF% with them on the ice, as opposed to a 50 CF% without them. So a bit of solid underlying work, despite the fact that they weren’t able to get themselves on the board.

3. Starter Hart

Well, folks, the time has come. We finally have to say it: it was not a banner night for our pal Carter Hart. All told, he faced 27 shots and stopped 24 of them, for and .889 save percentage. But the goals were… perhaps a bit questionable. The first saw the puck take a weird bounce and wind up behind the net, but Hart had no idea where it was. The second deflected off of someone on its way on goal, but didn’t spin enough where it was unstoppable. And the third was, well, it was a wraparound goal (need we say more?). They weren’t by any means soft goals, but they were stoppable, to be sure.

And we were bound to have one of these games eventually, and particularly given how he’s been playing recently. As the headline says, Hart is still human, he’s still 20, and he’s going to be in games where he just doesn’t quite have it. He’s been stellar recently, and we can’t really

4. Special teams rundown

All in all, though, it wasn’t an awful night for the Flyers’ special teams. We only had the one look at the penalty kill, when they were dispatched in the first period when Claude Giroux was called for tripping, and it was a good look! It wasn’t anything flashy, but they did well in being disruptive, holding the Penguins to one shot attempt and zero proper shots. So we’ll take that.

The power play got quite a few more reps (five in total) and that was something of a mixed bag. Their first go was little short of horrendous, as they couldn’t seem to get set up in the zone, or connect on a string of passes, or get a puck to so much as make its way on net. it was bleak. Their next three chances on the man-advantage saw them getting more, well, chances, getting some puck movement, some pucks finally on net, and it all seemed to be building to something. Something like this.

That’s right! The Flyers did indeed score a hockey goal. It was Jake Voracek on the power play that saved them from being shut out, and that was pretty glorious. One for five. Sure.

5. Shots and all

The Flyers were due for one of these games, right? Where they pretty handily outplay their opponent but just can’t seem to get a bounce. It’s brutal to see, but in a way felt inevitable. The timing just made it that much worse.

All told, they out-chanced the Penguins 82 to 50 across all situations (61 to 47 at 5-on-5), and out-shot them 51 to 28. The Flyers were dominant offensively, there’s really no way around it, but somehow they were only able to find a way to put on away.

But, that said, were the Flyers putting themselves in the best position to cash in on all of those shots? Maybe not.

Of their 51 shots, only 11 could be considered high danger, and that was a big issue. Matt Murray played very well last night—he didn’t leave the Flyers a whole lot of second chances to work with—but he also wasn’t tested as much as those numbers might suggest he was. There were better chances to be had, and that might have been the difference maker.

6. The only damn thing I know

If you follow me (or Adam, or anyone else who shared this) on Twitter, you saw this already. But even if you did, we need to just relive this one. Because it was perfect. I live for this stuff, the kids having moments of just being kids. It’s nice to see.

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