clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Six stats from the Flyers 1-0 Game 3 win over the Canadiens

Some observations for your morning...

Philadelphia Flyers v Montreal Canadiens - Game Three Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

Well folks, they did it! After getting absolutely blown out of the water in their 5-0 Game 2 loss, the Flyers came into this one with a bit more jump, a bit more attention to their details, and were able to eke out a win and get themselves at least closer to back on track. Thanks to Jake Voracek, they picked up the lead in the first period, and then were able to hold on to it (just barely!) through the rest of regulation. It wasn’t the most exciting game of playoff hockey we’ve ever seen, but a win’s a win, we guess? Sure.

All stats via Natural Stat Trick.

17—shots for the Flyers

If you came out of this one feeling a little bored, that seems understandable. This is a game that we could pretty generously call “low event.” Indeed, the Flyers managed just 17 shots at 5-on-5, and 20 across all situations, but this can’t even be indicative of just a “them problem,” as the Canadiens came out of this one with 14 5-on-5 shots and 23 across all situations. It was just a low event game, gang.

And maybe the takeaway here should be a positive one. This isn’t a style that we’re used to seeing the Flyers play, and it’s certainly not one that they’re looking to play either. But we should commend them for their defensive efforts, particularly late in the game, their work to keep this game close, as it needed to be. We’re not used to seeing the Flyers play this way, but it was nice to see them win in a game where they weren’t exactly setting the terms or tone. We’d like to see them do better to dominate play and assert their own will over the game tone, but that’s an issue for another day. For now, we can just commend the Flyers for being able to do the work that was needed to pull off this win.

23—saves for Carter Hart

And a huge part of them being able to seal a win in a close game like this, of course, was Hart’s performance. He may not have had a massive volume of shots to fend off, but the Canadiens did have a couple of really good chances, and some periods where they were generating a good bit of pressure—particularly late in the game—and it was up to Hart to bail the Flyers out when the skaters were making turnovers and failing to clear the puck out of the zone. It may not have been his flashiest performance, but Hart was still huge for the Flyers in this one, and we really don’t have any complaints about his game. He got some help from the posts, as well, but he still had a really strong showing on his own.

And, with this win, he also became the youngest goalie in Flyers history to record a shutout in a playoff game, which is a pretty neat accomplishment, to boot.

56.6—5-on-5 xGF%

One area of improvement we saw from the Flyers in this one, compared to what they were able to do in Game 2, was how they were able to get to the net more to create chances. They were doing just about nothing to get high danger chances in their last game, but in this game, we saw them doing a lot more to drive the net, create traffic, and work a little bit harder and going after rebounds. They were making things more difficult on Carey Price and this is exactly what they needed to do to beat him. Voracek’s goal came from right in front of the net, and it was a direct result of that solid underlying work they were doing.

We also appreciate the work the Flyers were able to do on the defensive side to limit the number of quality chances the Canadiens were able to generate—they were held to just three high danger chances at 5-on-5—and how that made for a much more complete effort. This is exactly the type of effort the Flyers needed to put forth—if you’re going to be forced into playing a low event, grind it out type of game, you had better make sure the chances you are getting are more dangerous ones—and to see them rewarded was certainly, well, rewarding.

3—shots on the power play

The Flyers may have done some good work to get their 5-on-5 process back on track, but the same can’t really be said for their power play, which continues to flounder. The Flyers had more than their fair amount of time to make something happen on the power play (11:38 at 5-on-4 in total), and they couldn’t do it. They managed only three shots in that time, while also giving up two shots against. Nothing was working for them—they couldn’t maintain much offensive zone time, their breakouts were poor, their entries were hit or miss, their passing wasn’t sharp, they weren’t able to create many chances or test Price, and this all amounted to a big fat nothing to show for all of that time to work with on the man-advantage.

And the deeper were get into this series with the power play doing absolutely nothing, the more anxious we become. Offense is hard to come by in this matchup, and the Flyers aren’t getting a ton of space to work with a 5-on-5, so converting on the power play could be a big difference maker for them, but they’re doing nothing with those chances. The Flyers aren’t getting much practice time, so big changes may be hard to make on the fly, but they need to change something, because what they’re running just isn’t working.

65.01—CF% for the top line

At long last! We have some life from the top line! It’s no secret that the Flyers’ top line of Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, and Travis Konecny has had a quieter series, to put it delicately, but last night we finally saw them turning it on, and the results were pretty striking.

We saw them generate the only goal of the evening, but beyond that, we saw them dominating their matchup largely against Phillip Danault’s line, one which has given them a lot of trouble in the first two games of the series. Indeed, the top line’s 65.01 CF% and 90.96 xGF% at 5-on-5 are pretty remarkable on their own, but they look even better when you put them in context and note that they were the only line to win their matchup last night, the only line to come out of this game with a shot differential above 50 percent (the next closest was the third line, which managed a 34.61 CF% on the night). It was a strong performance through and through, and we’re hoping this can be a step towards establishing some momentum—primary scoring has been an issue through this series as well as the round robin, and to have these players getting back into form down the stretch would be a huge asset to have.

33.52—CF% for the fourth line

And while we really liked the contributions of that top line, on the flip side, we also saw that the fourth line of Michael Raffl, Nate Thompson, and Tyler Pitlick just was not working. The line finished the game with an adjusted 33.52 CF% at 5-on-5, but through the first two periods, the trio of forwards had recored CF%s of 25.00, 11.11, and 9.09. It’s a look the Flyers were still giving a fair amount of ice time, but looking at those numbers, how thoroughly they were caved in by the shot attempts while they were on the ice, it’s clear that it just wasn’t working.

The Flyers don’t seem afraid to make changes to their lineup, and maybe it’s time that they explore a look with Thompson taken out. And maybe it seems unfair to pick on one player when the whole line wasn’t working, but the fact remains that he’s the one piece of this line that we haven’t seen bring much of anything in terms of impact at 5-on-5 throughout the whole of this return to play period. We’ve seen very clearly that offense may well be sparse in this series, and you need to be in the best position to be generating it, and at this point, Thompson is hurting those chances, and perhaps it’s time to look elsewhere for contributions.

The only damn thing I know

We sort of danced around this point when we talked about this game’s low event style, but this one was pretty boring, huh? I mean, we’ll take it, because it ended up being a win and that’s much better than whatever we got in Game 2, but it’s also fair to admit that we just didn’t have a whole lot of fun watching this one. Yawn.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Broad Street Hockey Weekly Roundup newsletter!

A weekly roundup of Philadelphia Flyers news from Broad Street Hockey