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Flyers 4, Blues 3: Smells like playoff hockey

That was a fun game folks, and it ended with the perfect result.

Photo by Tim Spyers/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Metrics

5v5 Corsi: 38 CF, 48.1 CF%, 49.35 CF% SVA

This performance won’t be one we talk about as one of the best of the season, but the Flyers did enough in this game to get the job done. They treaded water throughout the first period at 5-on-5, but when the Blues scored on the power play it clearly pushed the momentum in their favor. But when the second period rolled around, the Flyers took that momentum back in a big way.

Corsi breakdown by period

1st: 17-13 STL

2nd: 17-12 PHI

3rd: 12-8 STL

The second period proved to be the difference in this game, as the Flyers scored the two goals to take the lead, and then Travis Konecny drew the penalty as the second was ending which lead to the power play goal to start the third. Although the third didn’t see as many shot attempts, the quality of those attempts were what gave the Blues the advantage. Defensive breakdowns happened far too often in this game, especially with a certain pairing.

5v5 Shot quality: 15 SCF, 9 HDCF, 1.61 xGF, 43.24 xGF%, 45.57 xGF% SVA

Not a lot of good stuff here, folks! This wasn’t the best performance by a long shot, and without a strong second period it would have looked even worse. The Blues took advantage of the Flyers’ missing pieces on the blue line, and the Flyers didn’t have much of an answer. As for the Flyers’ offense, they probably would have posted better numbers but absolutely no one felt like shooting the damn puck.

xGF breakdown by period

1st: 0.70-0.36 STL

2nd: 0.89-0.49 PHI

3rd: 0.92-0.37 STL

The ironic thing is, the Flyers had plenty of chances in high percentage areas. They were working the puck behind the net and generating a ton of offense from there, but shots weren’t coming. They were overpassing, looking for the perfect play way too often especially in the first period.

Possibly the most frustrating aspect of this was the fact if they would have taken some of those shots, they were sharp-angle ones that probably would have generated in a solid scoring chance. Overall this season, this hasn’t been that much of an issue, but last night it absolutely was.

Five Observations

1. Phil you make me angry, Phil

When the first goal happened I couldn’t believe just how ... clueless I guess is the right word, Phil Myers was on this play. To just leave his entire side of the ice, on the penalty kill, with Justin Faulk just hanging out is absolutely insane. I know we all wanted the kids to come up and get their chance, and we’d deal with the aggressive mistakes, but man this was tough to watch.

The second goal was poor coverage all around after Claude Giroux didn’t win a puck battle at center ice which lead to a 3-on-2 rush, so while Myers didn’t play this well, he’s not the only one to blame. The third goal on the other hand, again, where is he going? He doesn’t need to go behind the net to block a pass to the slot, in fact he’s better off not doing that. You can argue Travis Sanheim or Kevin Hayes should have been better — because they could have been — but the over-aggressiveness needs to stop.

At some point, Myers will have to realize that his physical abilities can’t always save him in the big leagues. He can get away with it in the AHL, but he needs to have better awareness if he wants to stick around in Philly.

2. Physical second period

I have to say, I did not expect this physical a game between these two teams. Obviously, the Flyers and Blues go back quite a way to the first expansion, but man this game was intense. It really started to pick up in the second, where bodies seemed to be flying everywhere and scrums were the norm after the whistle. The boiling point hit when David Perron cross-checked Konecny in the face.

Now while Konecny said in the post game interview with Brian Boucher that Perron said he “didn’t mean to do that”, I gotta admit, not buying it! Perron is lucky that he wasn’t ejected from this game, or at the very least received a double-minor. This game truly felt like playoff hockey, and it was quite enjoyable to watch.

3. Breaking the road losing streak

After four games of sheer garbage on the road, the Flyers finally looked like a competent hockey team. They definitely didn’t look their best, but it was a clear improvement over their past few performances. Not only is this a road win, but it’s a road win over the best team in hockey. Hopefully, this can jump start them into finally improving that road record which now stands at 10-13-2.

If they can get that at the very least above .500, and keep the home record where it’s at or close to it, this team will be all the more dangerous down the stretch and hopefully in the playoffs.

4. The Voracek winner

This goal was spectacular for many reasons, but it all started with a great decision by Sean Couturier. He saw the Blues were trying to get in a quick line change, and he caught them off balance with the stretch pass to Ivan Provorov. For Couturier to see this and react instantly, and make a tape-to-tape pass, was simply sensational.

The pass by Provorov will get overlooked here, but it was the sell by him that he was going to charge to the net that fooled Alex Pietrangelo. Instead, he quickly dished it off to Voracek who made the perfect toe drag move to get around Pietrangelo, and snipe on Jordan Binnington.

5. Special teams were special

After going 1-2 on the PK vs. Boston, the Flyers shut down the Blues power play stopping 5-6 of their chances. The Blues got quite a few favorable calls in this game, but the Flyers kept their heads and dominated the league’s fourth best power play. There was a huge 5-on-3 kill that really helped them retain the momentum they gained from the back-to-back goals.

The power play only got two chances, but they converted on one of them and boy was it a big one. After receiving that cross-check to the face, Konecny would score on the ensuing power play for arguably the most satisfying goal of the season.

All data courtesy of Natural Stat Trick