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Film Study: Joel Farabee flies under the radar with strong performance in postseason debut

Joel Farabee showed why he deserves to be in the lineup with a great game against the Capitals.

Washington Capitals v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

The Philadelphia Flyers have one of the deepest rosters in the league, and that will come in handy during the playoffs. It already has during the round-robin tournament with Joel Farabee filling in for an injured Michael Raffl in Thursday’s win against the Washington Capitals.

Farabee was a healthy scratch for the first round-robin game, but didn’t miss a beat as he joined the third line for Thursday’s game.

Carter Hart and Philippe Myers made the most of their NHL postseason debuts against the Boston Bruins on Sunday, and now it was Farabee’s turn.

If you just look at the stat sheet – 0 points, -1, two shots on goal, two takeaways, and one giveaway in 11:30 of icetime – Farabee doesn’t stand out. But the plays he made throughout the game showed why he deserves to be in the lineup.

He had the third-highest individual Expected Goals (0.27) for the Flyers, was tied for the second-most scoring chances with three, and was the only Flyer besides Scott Laughton (3) to have more than one high-danger scoring chance. He also set up multiple chances for his linemates.

At 5-on-5 play, Farabee and his linemates led the team in Corsi-For Percentage. Farabee had a 66.67 CF% (8-4 shot attempts) and an Expected Goals-For Percentage of 57.96%.

The game started out a bit slow for everyone involved, Farabee included.

He didn’t see much action during his first shift, but after an icing he took a hit to make a play and get the puck to Nicolas Aube-Kubel. That would be the first of many times that those two wingers connected on Thursday.

Here’s another look at the hit, just because the National broadcast was raving about Ovechkin throwing his body around.

It looked like Farabee bounced off the hit quite easily.

Farabee got more into the action on his second shift. He played the final 42 seconds of the power play, and while the Flyers really couldn’t get anything going, he did his job by crashing the net on the rush and setting up in front of Braden Holtby for a deflection or rebound.

There were a lot of penalties early on, which provided the Flyers with some power-play chances. Farabee saw 30 more seconds of power-play time on his third shift, and he nearly converted.

Matt Niskanen entered the zone on the far side of the ice then regained the puck in the corner. Farabee was behind the defense on the near side, and got to the front of the net all alone. Niskanen tried to get it to him, but they couldn’t connect.

That’s some great instinct and positioning by Farabee. If he keeps doing that, he’s bound to get on the score sheet.

Farabee got back to some 5-on-5 play on his next shift and he made a simple, but effective, play. He kept himself available for a pass, moved up the ice, and fed it to Aube-Kubel for a two-on-two rush.

They weren’t able to get past the defenders or get anything going on that rush, but it was a sign of things to come.

Farabee was disrupted in the neutral zone at the end of his shift, but he was able to redeem himself and get the puck in deep after Justin Braun collected it.

Farabee and Aube-Kubel went back to work late in the period. After Aube-Kubel got the puck up ice, the Capitals turned it over in large part to the two rookies.

Aube-Kubel hit Richard Panik along the wall and then ran him over, allowing Farabee to dig the puck out and get a shot on net. He then crashed the net to force an offensive zone faceoff. That was it for Farabee in the first period. Quiet, but effective.

Farabee didn’t get too much ice time in the first period due to three penalties being called on both sides. He ended up playing just 3:52 in the first period: 2:40 at even strength and 1:12 on the power play. The latter periods are when Farabee’s game was on full display.

Farabee showed off some of his forechecking and tenacity on his first shift of the second period. He worked to get past Nick Jensen along the wall, helping win a battle.

Less than 10 seconds later he was back at it again. He was stood up by Jonas Siegenthaler in the circle, but once again used his body and stick to hamper Jensen along the wall.

The Flyers were able to retain possession and keep the pressure on. One of Farabee’s best offensive shifts of the game came next with some more time on the power play.

After receiving a short pass from Sean Couturier to enter the zone, Farabee dropped it back to Ivan Provorov as the Flyers’ mixed unit got set up (Provorov, Couturier, and Jakub Voracek remained from the top unit, with Kevin Hayes and Farabee from the second unit).

Farabee drifted to his spot near the net and positioned himself to make a quick one-touch pass to Couturier in the slot.

It was a great play, but didn’t result in a goal.

Couturier returned the favor less than 20 seconds later. Farabee got behind the defense and was all alone on the backdoor, but it didn’t go.

Those were two great chances that both directly involved Farabee. It’s a shame he wasn’t rewarded with a point on either of them.

Per Money Puck, Couturier’s chance was 0.13 xG, with Farabee’s adding another .131 xG.

Farabee saw some action during 4-on-4 play with Nate Thompson, and his hard work resulted in another steal and chance for the Flyers.

He pestered Jensen in the corner, got to the puck after it bounced off of T.J. Oshie, and made a nifty move to Travis Sanheim for a shot.

Farabee continued his great passing on his next shift. The Flyers were back on the power play and Farabee was setting up some more scoring chances.

After entering the zone, Farabee found a cross-ice passing lane to Aube-Kubel. Holtby made the save, but it was a good chance off the rush for a power play that has been lackluster in the round robin.

Farabee was making nice passes left, right, and center, and he tried to make a fancy one later in the third period.

Alone behind the net, Farabee tried to catch Holtby sleeping with a slick pass in front to Aube-Kubel.

It didn’t work out, but Farabee was feeling confident and knows he’s able to pull off something like that.

Farabee and Aube-Kubel nearly had a two-on-one (or none?) chance at the end of the shift, but Farabee was just a bit too eager and entered early for offside.

That was it for the second period, but it was a successful one for Farabee moving forward.

Farabee got up to 4:46 of icetime in the second period: 2:21 at even strength, 2:01 on the power play, and even 17 seconds on the penalty kill.

He and Aube-Kubel picked up where they left off with a tremendous chance off the rush to start the third period. Provorov perfectly placed a cheeky pass to where Aube-Kubel could reach it, and this time Farabee stayed onside for a high-danger scoring chance.

Farabee was once again a part of a great play, but had nothing to show for it.

It was just a great save by Holtby.

Farabee kept his stick on the ice as he went toward the net on his next shift. He didn’t get the puck then, but battled for it in the corner with Derek Grant eventually getting a shot off.

He also got to the net for a rebound chance which is good to see.

Farabee was all over the ice on his next shift. He anticipated a cross-ice pass by Evgeny Kuznetsov and disrupted it in the neutral zone. He and Radko Gudas raced for the puck with Braun keeping it in the zone at the line. Braun got it back to Farabee, who sent it around in an attempt to cycle.

Alex Ovechkin tried to take control of the puck, but Farabee was right on top of him to allow Braun to punch it back in deep.

Tom Wilson eventually took the puck up ice with Farabee and Aube-Kubel behind him, but they backchecked hard. Farabee got all the way back to take the puck from Ovechkin for the second time in the shift, and the rookie duo got the puck in deep to go for a change.

It was a great shift by Farabee that showcased his defensive game while he also created a handful of scoring chances throughout the afternoon.

Farabee was on the ice for the goal against, but I’m not sure if there was anything he could do.

He took away the shooting lane – yes, Radko Gudas actually passed up a shot from the point! – but the puck got thrown in front and found its way into the net.

Farabee was back on his forechecking game on his next shift.

He hounded the Capitals in the defensive zone, with Grant and Aube-Kubel helping him force the Capitals to regroup.

Don’t worry, Farabee’s offensive game wasn’t done for the day. He and Aube-Kubel connected on one final chance, which of course was stopped by Holtby.

Farabee got the puck down the wing after a good entry by Myers, and found a speeding Aube-Kubel crashing the net.

You almost have to just laugh at that point, and Farabee did.

Farabee saw less playing time in the third period, as did his line, as Vigneault gave the fourth line more ice time. He played 2:52, all at even strength. For reference, Nate Thompson played 5:25 in the third period after playing 3:32 in the first and 4:32 in the second.

He may only be in the lineup due to Michael Raffl’s injury, or he could have drawn in for James van Riemsdyk anyway, but Farabee showed on Thursday that he should not be taken out. Despite playing limited minutes, he was one of the most noticeable forwards on the ice for the Flyers, besides the Laughton-Hayes-Konecny line of course.

Farabee is one of the best 12 forwards on the Flyers roster. Period. He has the ability to play up and down the lineup and has the skillset to find quick chemistry with most linemates. He and Nicolas Aube-Kubel have already formed quite the duo after Thursday’s performance.

The Flyers have just one day off before taking on the Tampa Bay Lightning for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference on Saturday. I think it’s safe to say that Farabee will be in the lineup and ready to go.

Stats via Natural Stat Trick and Money Puck