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Blue Jackets 4, Flyers 3: So close, and yet so far

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But hey, the Phillies got Bryce Harper and that’s what’s really important here.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jackets rained on the Flyers brief two game win streak parade, ending the fun with an overtime winner by Seth Jones. This was a game filled with highs and lows, and some quite questionable refereeing. Let’s talk about it.

1. That overtime goal: not ideal, folks

Honestly, the overtime wasn’t going poorly for the Flyers up to this point. They had generally dominated possession and just couldn’t find the open shooting lanes; but then Artemi Panarin, in the midst of his Calder campaign, made some magic happen. Panarin danced by Claude Giroux leaving Ivan Provorov as the lone defenseman back, and if you really thought Panarin wasn’t going to make a perfect pass to Seth Jones, you don’t know Flyera hockey.

If the puck bounces one or two different ways in the extra session, maybe the Flyers walk away with the win, but it didn’t. Panarin made a great play and Jones made no mistake on a tap in, and Columbus got the job done when they needed to. This was a key game for the Flyers in their playoff push, and although they did come away with a point, losing out on the potential two points against a divisional rival does sting.

2. Quantity was there, quality was not

Ah the ol’ Dave Hakstol special. Plenty of shot attempts, not a whole lot of quality. Columbus beat Philadelphia in attempts overall, but only by eight. The scoring chances, however, was where we saw the biggest disparity. The Jackets had 26 scoring chances-for relative to the Flyers’ 17, and nine high danger chances to the Flyers’ seven. If they manage to get more quality shot attempts, they possibly come away with the win in this one given how close they were with the poor quality numbers.

Despite a good amount of the shot attempts coming from the low slot/crease area, the two sides of the point saw a good amount of attempts as well. Comparing this to the Blue Jackets, the majority were clearly in the slot area and barely any coming from the point.

3. Travis Sanheim, remember when he was benched for so long last year?

Just like the Phillies signing Bryce Harper, which I am still not over and will continue to obsess over, this season for Travis Sanheim has been incredible. By no means is he lighting up the hockey world and competing for the Norris Trophy, but after last season he may as well be. Dave Hakstol quite literally forced Ron Hextall to send Sanheim to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms last season because he was never going to play hockey otherwise. After Rick Wilson came in, and Sanheim’s role began to increase this season, his play has only improved game by game.

After a 10 point season last year, Sanheim now has 27 points in 64 games with his two goal outing vs. Columbus. He’s on pace for roughly a 35 point season, which I’m not even sure the biggest proponents of Sanheim would have expected this season. Ever since he was paired with Ivan Provorov, he’s been even more exhilarating to watch. He and Radko Gudas were a fantastic pairing, but I don’t think we see this offensive production if he stays with Gudas. In a season which has been so frustrating in so many ways, Sanheim’s emergence as one of the best blueliners on this team has been quite the bright spot.

In a game where the Flyers allowed 58 shot attempts, Sanheim was the leader on the blueline in raw Corsi. His 53.85 percent was tops on the defense and on the team minus the fourth line. His chances were also high in quality as well which is even more surprising, given the Flyers’ numbers in that department in this game. His 57.89 SCF percent was second best on the team only behind Michael Raffl. In addition to all of that, he also had a 75 percent HDCF which was again second only to Raffl.

4. The other defensemen outside of the top pairing? Not so inspiring

Other than Shayne Gostisbehere, and the top pairing of Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim, the Flyers defense was an absolute mess last night. The three defensemen posted above 50 percent Corsi, but after Provorov’s mark of 51.85, the next closest blueliner to him was Radko Gudas at 38.24 percent. Phil Myers would follow at an even 35 percent, and then the low point of the night in Robert Hagg who posted a 33.33 percent.

Columbus of course has plentiful amounts of star power, with the likes of Panarin, newly acquired Matt Duchene, Pierre Luc-Dubois, Seth Jones, the list goes on and on. The Flyers defense has struggled greatly against that star power in their games vs. Columbus this season, and it happened again last night.

5. Surprisingly disappointing game for the second line

The Oskar Lindblom, Sean Couturier, and Jakub Voracek line has arguably been the Flyers best over the past few games. Last night, however, this was not the case. At 5-on-5, the line posted a 30 percent Corsi and were split up late in the game as the Flyers went for more offense. Not only did the line get torn apart in possession, their SCF percentage was a meager 25 percent, and the same percent in HDCF.

A positive to come out of the line’s struggles however, was the brief play of the Lindblom, Nolan Patrick, and Travis Konecny line. At just under three minutes of ice time, the line was a 57.14 Corsi percentage. The chances they gave up were high in quality which dampers some hype around the line, along with the fact they most likely won’t stick together, but it was a fun few minutes of hockey with them together.

A line that was reunited with the shuffling, was the Giroux, Couturier, Voracek line that dominated the early portions of last season. In just under five minutes together, that same domination was showing again. A 77.78 Corsi percentage along with three SCF and none against, made for a fantastic yet brief performance. It’s nice to have this line as a backup in need of desperate offense, knowing they’re going to at the very least give the team a great chance of scoring.

All data courtesy of Natural Stat Trick