5v5 Corsi: 45 CF, 42.86 CF%, 40.28 CF% SVA
Not a whole lot to be enthusiastic about here, folks. One of the many things that make the Vegas Golden Knights such a fun team to watch when they’re clicking, is what they showed last night in their persistent pressure. Regardless of how many goals they were up by, Vegas continually kept coming at the Flyers. Although the Flyers still managed to draw within a goal, it wasn’t because the Golden Knights turtled, which honestly made the almost comeback better.
They held their own in the first period, but surprisingly as they began to draw closer, their Corsi really didn’t improve. The breakdown by period went as so:
1st period: 21-20 VGK
2nd period: 19-13 VGK
3rd period: 20-12 VGK
Remember how in the observations for the Kings game I mentioned that it was one of those games where the eye test didn’t match up well with the metrics. Well, this game felt like one where they were totally in sync.
5v5 Shot Quality: 19 SCF, 8 HDCF, 1.72 xGF, 38.07 xGF%, 37.4 xGF% SVA
Not only did they lose the territorial battle, they were shelled in shot quality. Although their shot selection wasn’t honestly that bad, it didn’t matter with how the defense was playing. They were giving up high quality chances to the Golden Knights left and right, and that’s just not something that’s going to fly against a team like them. Here’s the period by period breakdown in expected goals:
1st period: 1.36-0.87 VGK
2nd period: 0.58-0.52 PHI
3rd period: 0.92-0.27 VGK
It’s sad that even with how poorly they performed in shot quality, they still arguably were better in this category than the overall territorial battle.
1. Defense = big yikes
I mean, I don’t know what to say at this point about that defensive effort. There’s been a lot of talk about the Flyers needing to look to add a forward at the trade deadline, and while I agree with that, Chuck may need to keep his eyes open for a defenseman. I know we all want Phil Myers to be a stud right off the bat, or for Shayne Gostisbehere to revert to his old form, but it really doesn’t look like either of those are happening sooner rather than later.
While I still believe that addressing the middle six forward position is probably still more important, this defense may need one more piece to really solidify that unit. Matt Niskanen and Justin Braun have been solid adds for this team, but if the right guy is available, Chuck might just have to pull the string.
2. Squandering an early lead (again)
This game was made all the more frustrating by the fact the Flyers actually looked ... good to start the game. Vegas came out with a boat load of energy and the Flyers matched it pretty well in the opening minutes, even scoring the game’s first goal. What followed was defensive breakdown after defensive breakdown, squandering the overall effort from the team in the early going.
3. Sean Couturier continues to be a force
This is more of a “Sean Couturier appreciation” segment, but hey, he deserves it. Couturier has come a long way from being purely used as a defensive center, and is continuing to rack up the points. He got three of them last night, including another two goal game. Although his points per game are down from last season, or the one before that, he still sits second on the team in points and is on pace for around 65 points on the season. Oh, and he continues to be, in my opinion, a top 2 defensive center in the entire league.
So although Hart gave up five goals, I feel as though he deserves a bit of a shoutout here. With how much the defense left him out to dry last night, it’s a miracle Hart even kept this game close.
5. Good fight down the stretch
Moral victory, but I did like the team’s effort throughout the game, and especially down the stretch as they tried to tie it. Marc-Andre Fleury just happened to remember he’s pretty good at this whole goalie thing, and stopped everything that came his way.