Islanders 5, Flyers 4: Where do we start?

Nolan Patrick had a three point game; the positives, people

Corsi Report

Flyers raw CF leaders vs. NYI


Flyers SCF/HDCF leaders vs. NYI


Alright, let’s dive into this. The Flyers overall had a poor game by just about every metric, but there was some light at the end of the tunnel. Once again, the Oskar Lindblom, Nolan Patrick, and Jakub Voracek line drove play at a fairly decent rate, all in the positive CF-rel. While they didn’t spend the entire game together — as Voracek was moved up to the top line for a few shifts with Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier — this line was once again one of the positives. Travis Sanheim and Andrew MacDonald had the best nights on defense by a wide margin, both well in the positive CF-rel and solid scoring chances-for percentage numbers.

Ever since Sanheim and Andrew MacDonald were put together they’ve quietly been a very solid pairing. Mac still has his struggles, and at one point last night he decided to cross check an Islanders player in the I’m not sure what was going on there...where was I? Oh, right, despite Mac’s struggles he has been a lot better since paired with Sanheim, I still want him nowhere near this hockey team in the coming years, but for right now, I’m okay with him.

It was a surprisingly rough game for the first line, which saw all of its members below 50% CF, even Michael Raffl who joined the line for a brief stint in the third period. Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere struggled in the raw CF totals, but saw some improvement in limiting the high danger opportunities. Provorov actually lead the way in high danger chances-for relative at 16.36%.

Where the Flyers lost this game is directly in the shot quality battle. The Islanders amassed 35 scoring chances-for in this game to the Flyers 15. They were absolutely dominated in this category and it somehow got worse when looking at the high danger chances-for. Philadelphia gave up the most high danger chances they have all season according to Natural Stat Trick’s game logs, at a staggering 19. They were out chanced in this department ten to one in the second period which fittingly enough, is when the Islanders scored three 5-on-5 goals. Lately I haven’t had to complain all that much about the Flyers struggling for shot quality, but last night however was one of those times. Too much reliance was placed upon point shots and while someone could absolutely make the case they weren’t lucky with deflections in this one (they weren’t at all), relying on deflections is probably not the best kind of offense. Hakstol got way too one dimensional against the Isles and it bit him. Just take a look at the heat map...

Five Takeaways

1. Nolan Patrick is pretty darn good, folks

Early on this season, in the midst of Patrick’s struggles, some worried that he may not be as good as we anticipated. Ever since the start of the new year, Patrick has quieted those people and last night had, most likely, the best game of his short career. The 19 year old scored two huge power play goals, both in Wayne Simmonds’ usual spot, to add on to a wicked assist on Simmonds’ goal. Patrick posted the fourth highest adjusted CF% with a 53.83 and the third highest fenwick-for percentage at 55.79. His explosiveness has been on display more and more over the past few months, and last night was no exception.

2. The Gudas/Manning pairing needs to end

Oh man, man oh man oh man. This pairing was horrific last night and at this point I would rather see Johnny Oduya play over either of these two. (I’m joking only kinda sorta)

In terms of raw Corsi numbers this pairing wasn’t even the worst for the Flyers. Provorov and Gostisbehere had the lowest CF%’s, but the scoring chances-for is where the Manning/Gudas pairing got shelled. Manning and Gudas collected 18 and 17 CF respectively, but only six of those chances for Manning were scoring chances, and just five for Gudas. In turn, 16 out of Manning’s 23 Corsi-against were scoring chances-against, and 14 out of Gudas’ 21 Corsi-against were scoring chances-against. Provy and Ghost really weren’t all that far off from these numbers, however as many have said throughout the year, they’ve done enough to earn some slack for off nights such as this. Manning and Gudas also each posted a HDCF% of 11.11 and 12.5 respectively.

3. Defensive zone coverage was atrocious

I lost track of how many times during that game the Flyers were simply unable to get the puck away from the Islanders once they started cycling. It appeared as though once the Islanders got the puck in the offensive zone, the Flyers went into this shell and just conceded shots to the Isles. This was somewhat resolved in the third period as we began to see more of a run and gun game, but the first two periods were tough to watch. As previously mentioned, the Flyers also got absolutely decimated in the shot quality battle, and this is a direct result of the kind of defense that was played. I mean hell, the John Tavares goal was quite literally because everyone backed off and one of the best players in the world was left in the slot to fire away.

4. Player usage still an issue

Valtteri Filppula received 14:25 of 5-on-5 ice time, Brandon Manning received 17:13, this needs to stop. I understand that Dave Hakstol views these guys as defensively reliable players, but the fact of the matter is Filppula can’t skate for longer than ten seconds without being arguably the slowest guy on the ice, and Brandon Manning is not a defensive defenseman. He is a very, and I mean very poor man’s Shayne Gostisbehere. I think he has value as a seventh defenseman, but in no way should this guy be playing 17 minutes 5-on-5. As for Filppula, he recorded a 47.06 raw CF% which actually puts him at a positive 0.09 CF rel. The problem however — as it was with Manning and Gudas — is that most of the chances against were scoring chances. Out of Filppula’s 18 Corsi-against, a whopping 13 of those chances were scoring chances with only five of his 16 Corsi-for being scoring chances.

5. The Flyers are still probably maybe hopefully going to make the playoffs

So, enough gloom and doom. The Flyers still hold a four point advantage over the Panthers, and with a win on Thursday vs. Carolina plus a Florida regulation loss, they will clinch a playoff berth. Florida still essentially has to win out if they want to make the playoffs and they play Boston on Thursday would assume good things out of that. This was a heartbreaking loss in one of the more frustrating games in recent memory, but on the bright side, Nolan Patrick scored three points, Claude Giroux could very well score 100 points, and the Flyers should be heading to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. On to the next one.