clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Six stats from the Flyers’ 3-2 Game 4 loss to the Islanders

Some observations for your morning...

Philadelphia Flyers v New York Islanders - Game Four Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

The Flyers dropped Game 3 in pretty spectacular fashion, but they had the benefit of being right back at it last night on the second half of the back to back, and they had a really good chance to rebound and get themselves back on track. And while we did see some strong flashes from them, they couldn’t seem to get themselves all that way back on track. After a strong start to the game, the Flyers saw that energy sort of fizzle a bit, and they weren’t able to get back to it, not with a whole lot of consistency. They fell into a two goal hole in the third, and they were able to get one back, but that was just about it. And just like that, the Flyers are on the brink of elimination.

All stats via Natural Stat Trick.

60.71—xGF% at 5-on-5

One piece of the Flyers’ game that we didn’t really care for from Game 3 was how they struggled to get to the front of the net for chances, and at the same time weren’t doing a very good job of shutting down their own slot and not bleeding high danger chances for the Islanders. It was a model that burned them, but the good news is that it’s something that they shored up some on this game. The Flyers totaled 13 high danger chances at 5-on-5 in this one, as well as an adjusted 60.71 xGF%, getting the better of the share of more dangerous scoring chances, which was a big boost to their overall process in this game.

Now, they did still allow 10 high danger chances, which is a bit more than we like to see, but the Flyers had the benefit of generating more high danger chances to help out their differential. The process was better, but the results just weren’t quite there for them in this one.

0—shot attempts on the power play

So 5-on-5 wasn’t a massive problem for the Flyers, but their special teams play was dubious to say the least. Again, the Flyers only had one power play to work with on the night, and again they didn’t really get anything out of it. They were able to do a bit of cycling, but really that was just about it, and the Flyers came out of this one without being credited with so much as a single shot attempt while on the man-advantage.

And just like that, we seem to be right back where we started. Offense is stingy in this series as well, and the Flyers really aren’t getting any help from their power play in generating some. And perhaps what makes it even more frustrating is that we’ve gotten a taste during the playoffs of how dangerous they can look when they’re clicking, but now somehow things have regressed and that was stolen away from us. The Flyers are now in do or die mode, and their margin of error is basically non-existent. They’re going to need to start generating more offense, and they’re going to need more from their power play.

7—scoring chances against on the penalty kill

On the flip side, it was also not a terribly strong showing for the Flyers’ penalty kill, process wise. The Islanders too only had one power play to work with, and while the Flyers didn’t let them score on it, they were bleeding a lot of chances, and really it was a couple of huge saves by Brian Elliott that saved them. The Flyers gave up 10 shot attempts, nine shots, and five high danger chances on that single power play, and it goes without saying that it was a pretty brutal showing. The Flyers’ penalty kill has been fine enough throughout this series, so we’re hoping that this one can be something of an anomaly, because if the Flyers keep giving the Islanders that many chances to work with on the power play, it’s going to blow up in their faces in a big way.

30—saves for Brian Elliott

And since we mentioned him already, let’s get into the all about Brian Elliott section. In perhaps a surprising move, Alain Vigneault opted to put Elliott in for the second game of the back to back, and his game was something of a mixed bag.

He had a bit of a heavier workload than Hart did on Saturday, as he faced 33 shots and made 30 stops, and had to come up with some big stops on difficult shots to keep this game from really spiraling out of control. But it’s also true that he had a couple of tough moments—he was a little leaky on the J.G. Pageau goal, and he over-committed a bit to the one side on Brock Nelson’s second goal of the night—but as was the case in Game 3, the bigger story was the defense breaking down in front of him. Many of the Flyers’ defensemen were having a tough night (are we ready to talk about how Matt Niskanen’s struggling yet?), but really we saw moments where just the whole team’s defense faltered, where the skaters all just kind of broke down, and that lead to chances against. This game probably would have gone differently if Elliott was having the night Thomas Greiss was having, but it’s hard to be too critical of him, all things considered.

73.76—CF% for Sean Couturier

Primary scoring and just general contribution from the top of the Flyers’ lineup has left something to be desired for much of this series, that’s no secret. We also know that when the Flyers are getting it, they tend to be doing well, and if we’re looking for a bit of good news coming out of this one, it would be that the Flyers did get some contributions from their big names, and this felt like a step in the right direction.

We can single out Couturier, as he picked up one of the Flyers’ two goals on the night, and had himself in general a pretty solid showing, but his line in general excelled in their matchups last night. Matched up at times (though it varies) against what’s been a dangerous second line for the Islanders through much of the post-season, they pretty well dominated in a territorial sense, picking up and 83.04 CF% and 74.44 xGF%, and overall were able to keep Nelson’s line quiet when they were out against them. It’s fair, given the result of the game, to have wanted a bit more still from this line, but they were still getting some chances, and if they keep playing like that, things should break open for them soon.

32.76—xGF% for the third line

After Game 3, we came away feeling really good about the newly configured third line of James van Riemsdyk, Scott Laughton, and Tyler Pitlick. They positively dominated in their first game together, so it seemed like the right call that they should be kept together and allowed to hopefully keep their momentum rolling. And that, well, that didn’t really happen. Instead, this line was the only one that didn’t post a shot attempt and Expected Goals differential above 50 percent, for what that’s worth, and in this one really seemed to be struggling to generate chances at the same clip that they did in Game 3.

And what do we make of this? The matchup likely has something to do with it. The Islanders had last change in this one, and they were trying to get the Pageau line out against Laughton’s whenever they could, and this was a matchup they seemed to be feasting on. The Pageau line has really been giving the Flyers fits throughout this series, and they still haven’t found a way to shut them down. The third line wasn’t getting the job done in this matchup.

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