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[#] Fri Oct 21 2016 06:29:25 EDT from Kelly Hinkle

Subject: Friday Morning Fly By: Matt Read is back, baby, he's back!

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Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...

*Yooooooo Meat Read, folks! Leading the league in goals. Killing it all over the ice. He's back! The Flyers, however, lost the hockey match. Wearing those bad bad gold jerseys. They are clearly cursed and should never be worn again. RECAP!

*The organization honored Mr. Snider last night in a pregame ceremony and it was lovely. [CSN Philly]

*The Flyers are right in the thick of the NHL youth movement which is awesome. [CSN Philly]

*The answer to the question posed in this article is: HAHAHHA WHAT? Uuuuuuh no. No way. [Pattison Ave]

*Danick Martel is continuing to progress and develop with the Phantoms. [Highland Park Hockey]

*You may have noticed last night that the Flyers have a new goal song. Eww. [Sons of Penn]

*The NHL & NHLPA have launched a program to help their players "reach their full potential". [ProHockeyTalk]

*It would appear that the Pittsburgh Penguins have made a choice, and that choice is Matt Murray. [Puck Daddy]

*DGB has a little fun ranking every NHL outdoor game. Lists are fun. [Sportsnet]

*And finally, in case you missed it, check out the latest episode of BSH Radio, in which Charlie praises Wayne Simmonds, Bill has a crazy lineup idea that just might work, and Kelly & Steph say "Claude Giroux" in unison. [BSH]



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/10/21/13351746/friday-morning-fly-by


[#] Fri Oct 21 2016 09:17:09 EDT from Charlie O'Connor

Subject: Ducks 3, Flyers 2: 10 things we learned from choppy passing, wasted power plays

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The Anaheim Ducks did everything they could to hand Philadelphia its second win of the season in a penalty-filled second period, but the Flyers simply would not accept the gift.

Morning Observations is a feature where we break down the previous night's game with an analytical eye.

#1: Poor passing the root cause of Flyers’ issues

Despite a whopping seven power play opportunities, the Flyers could manage just 22 shots on goal last night against the Anaheim Ducks, a pitiful display of offense. As a result, it really was no surprise to see that offensive ineptitude punished with a loss. With the exception of a few surges (mostly from the Couturier line), Philadelphia could muster little sustained attacking pressure at even strength, and therefore were dependent upon their PP and transition chances in order to come away with a victory. Unsurprisingly, they weren’t enough.

So what went wrong? It’s not like the Flyers were especially underwhelming in their first three games, 1-1-1 record aside. No, this was a new problem — awful passing in the neutral and defensive zones. The Ducks played an aggressive, tight checking style all night long, looking to outnumber the puck carrier whenever possible. This strategy can be exposed via crisp passing plays, but Philadelphia were incapable of stringing together two or three of those in a row.

As a result of choppy breakouts, the Flyers lacked speed and decisiveness in the neutral zone, often leading to breakups by Anaheim. Even when the Flyers did successfully navigate the neutral zone, they weren’t able to hit the offensive zone with speed due to the bad passes. That neutered the effectiveness of the team’s vaunted forecheck, which in turn, made it easier for the Ducks to exit their zone and move back up ice with control. That’s how poor defense (breakouts) leads to poor offense (entries) leads back to poor defense (quick counter-rushes forcing loose gaps in the neutral zone). It’s all connected.

#2: First time this season the Flyers were straight up dominated

Despite their 1-1-1 record entering the game, it was fair to say that none of the Flyers’ previous games were total disasters — even the losses. They outplayed the Coyotes and 5-on-5 and mostly lost due to special teams miscues and an odd end to 3v3 overtime, while the Chicago game saw them battle back from a 4-0 deficit to make a game of it in the third period before running out of gas. You never want to see a team lose, but those felt like defeats where you could still be confident that the underlying process was sound. Last night, things were a bit different.

By every key metric, the Flyers got blitzed in this one. At 5-on-5, their score-adjusted Corsi was a poor 39.42%, and things were even worse after accounting for shot quality, as they posted a 24.92% Expected Goals percentage at 5v5 as well. They even lost the overall shots on goal battle (26-22) despite a massive 7-2 edge in power play opportunities. In past losses this year, it was very easy to pick out positives for Philadelphia despite suffering a less-than-ideal outcome. That simply wasn’t the case against the Ducks.

NHL.com Report and Highlights | Corsica.Hockey Games Page | HockeyStats.ca | NaturalStatTrick.com | HockeyViz.com | BSH Recap | Meltzer’s Musings

#3: Matt Read’s scoring touch seems to be back

If you didn’t watch any Philadelphia Flyers games last year and merely evaluated Matt Read’s season based on advanced metrics, you probably would have concluded that he was primed for a bounceback season in 2016-17. After all, the Flyers drove play at 5v5 with Read on the ice (53.3% 5v5 Corsi For) and were even better accounting for shot quality (53.8% 5v5 Expected Goals). The numbers also said that Read’s individual goal totals were a bit fluky, as his individual Expected Goal total would have put him at 15 on the season rather than the 11 that he actually scored. Those stats paint the portrait of a perfectly-useful middle-six forward.

But then you went back to the tape, and you saw a slower Matt Read who was resorting to dump-and-chase tactics far too often and lacked the blistering wrist shot that made him a 20-goal scorer at the NHL level. Many wondered if that player was long gone. However, Matt Read is making one heck of a case so far that the stats were closer to the truth than all of those negative scouting reports.

For the third straight game Read lit the lamp, and this may have been his most impressive goal yet. He blasted into the offensive zone with speed and control, took the puck to the net, and then fooled John Gibson with a slick move in front for his fourth goal of the season. Not only did the goal showcase Read’s seemingly dormant speed, it was also an example of the 30-year old "going to the dirty areas," something that he clearly has made a focus this year. After the game, he repeated his comments from exit interviews, noting that over the past two seasons he had become too much of a perimeter player, and was actively working to change that in 2016-17. So far, so good.

#4: Another bad first period

The Flyers’ first periods have come in all shapes and sizes, but one theme has remained constant — poor results. Only the season-opening Kings game saw Philadelphia enter the first intermission even tied with their opponent, and in that period they lost the 5v5 shot attempts battle 18-8. Last night’s first period was the Kings’ opening stanza on steroids, as not only did the Flyers get outshot (37.93% Corsi For) they also gave up a goal that put them in an early deficit.

The analyst in me is screaming that these four poor starts are mostly flukes, but there does seem to be a lack of crispness early in games thus far, especially from a passing standpoint. It doesn’t appear to be an issue with effort, simply execution. Whether that’s attributable to the new additions on the roster still picking up the finer points of Hakstol’s tactics, or just a need for some to "play themselves into the game," you have to assume that the coaching staff will be emphasizing faster starts, maybe by directing the team to play a simple game early and ease into higher difficulty passes and plays as the game progresses.

#5: Flyers wasted golden opportunities to put this game away in 2nd period

The truly frustrating part about this loss is that the Flyers were facing a team that seemed desperate to hand them a victory. After hanging on for dear life in the first period, Philadelphia put together a few decent shifts to start the second stanza just as Anaheim collectively decided that the penalty box was far more cozy than their crowded bench. The Ducks took five straight penalties, starting with Antoine Vermette closing his hand on the puck, and ending with Corey Perry tripping Shayne Gostisbehere.

This was the period when the Flyers could have put away Anaheim for good, and they had a promising start after Wayne Simmonds scored just 16 seconds into Vermette’s penalty. But after that goal, the PP went silent. Zone entries were a consistent issue, as Philadelphia struggled to find holes in Anaheim’s Retreating Box neutral zone forecheck. The best way to break that tactic is quick change-of-direction passes, but Philadelphia’s accuracy issues from even strength carried over to the power play, resulting in wasted entry attempts and wasted time off the PP clock. As a result, a game that the Flyers could have led by two or three goals ended up tied at the end of 40 minutes, giving the Ducks life entering the final period of play.

#6: Voracek staying involved in the offensive zone on the PP

One positive from the power play, however, was the continued inclusion of Jakub Voracek in their offensive zone cycle game. Last season, Voracek’s early-season cold streak resulted in the Flyers shifting the focus of the PP away from him, and making it primarily dependent upon Claude Giroux and Shayne Gostisbehere. Far too often, Voracek was the forgotten man on the right side, and by the time the playoffs began, teams were leaving Voracek wide open because they knew that Giroux and Gostisbehere were basically ignoring that entire side of the ice on their set plays.

So far this season, however, there has been a constant effort to get Jake involved at 5v4. Last night, he took three attempts at the net on the power play (tied for the team-lead) and also set up Wayne Simmonds’ goal with a beautiful pass. As Gostisbehere noted after the game, teams who key on him at the top of the zone will inevitably leave Voracek with space, allowing him to create for his teammates. That’s how the Flyers were able to score their only PP goal of the night, and it’s a positive sign for the rest of the season.

#7: Top line was dominated

After a poor performance on opening night versus Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty and the Kings, the Claude Giroux line delivered two straight stellar efforts against the Coyotes and Blackhawks. Unfortunately, last night closely resembled the Los Angeles game, as Giroux and company were taken to the cleaners by their opponent’s top line. This time, it was the trio of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Nick Ritchie that did the damage.

In a little over five minutes against Getzlaf, Giroux posted a 29.41% Corsi For percentage, as he and linemates Wayne Simmonds and newly-activated Brayden Schenn were consistently pinned in their own zone due to the heavy forecheck of the Ducks’ top line. When not facing Getzlaf, Giroux had a 50% Corsi For percentage, so basically all of his poor shifts came against top competition.

Obviously, Getzlaf and Perry are superstars, and sometimes they are going to win the strength-against-strength battles. But despite the small sample, I do wonder if size and forechecking maybe could be playing a role here. Giroux’s two great games came in less physically-demanding matchups (Arizona and the Toews line), while his poor games were against two of the best centers down low (Kopitar and Getzlaf) in the NHL. Might the Flyers be better served using the size-and-speed combo of Couturier and Voracek when facing a top line that leans on the forecheck to create chances? It could be worth a shot.

#8: Provorov’s weird game

Ivan Provorov had the worst game of his still-young professional career on Tuesday night against the Chicago Blackhawks, playing a direct role in two goals against and indirect parts in a few others. By the "big mistake" eye test, Provorov had another underwhelming game last night. He missed on a diving entry breakup attempt on Anaheim’s first goal, and was pushed back by Getzlaf via a pick play on the Ducks’ second tally, allowing more space for Perry in the offensive zone. Neither play painted Provorov in a positive light.

But unlike Tuesday, it wasn’t all bad for Provorov this time around. Sure, he was afflicted with the same "poor passing" disease as the rest of the team. But Provorov did make a number of strong disruption plays throughout the night, both in the neutral and defensive zones. He won a number of puck battles behind the net, and cut off quite a few loose pucks in the neutral zone that easily could have went for Ducks entries. As a result, it’s not terribly surprising that Provorov finished +11.90% Corsi Relative to his teammates at 5v5 last night. In fact, after four games, the rookie actually has the best 5v5 possession metrics (+3.64% Corsi Rel) among Flyers’ blueliners. If this is Provorov looking "bad," I think he’ll be okay long-term.

#9: On the other hand, Gostisbehere truly struggled

Much of the in-game frustration seemed to be directed at Provorov, but Shayne Gostisbehere was probably the better target for fans’ ire. The 19-year old may have missed on the breakup attempt in the first period that led to the Ducks’ first goal, but it was Gostisbehere who failed to challenge either Anaheim player on the two-on-one down low, only succeeding in setting a partial screen for Mason. Then, on the game-winner, it appeared that Andrew MacDonald and Gostisbehere were supposed to switch coverages in front of the net (Hakstol also noted a "switch" was necessary), but Ghost appeared slow to recognize the switch, which left Ryan Garbutt wide open for a clean shot.

The numbers for Ghost were also ugly. His 31.58% Corsi For percentage was a defense-low, and the 6.55% Expected Goals percentage that he posted is the worst single-game rate I’ve seen so far this year. His performance cannot even be blamed on MacDonald, who actually had a number of solid defensive plays and finished with a passable 47.62% Corsi For percentage.

In the absence of Michael Del Zotto and Radko Gudas, Ghost is essentially being used as the #1 defenseman from a minutes standpoint, regardless of the opponent. Matchups against big, physical squads like the Ducks and Kings seem like they’ll especially give the slight Gostisbehere some trouble, and unsurprisingly, they’ve been his worst games this season from an advanced stat standpoint. He’s doing the best that he can, but I’m sure Ghost will welcome the return of Del Zotto, Gudas, and easier minutes.

#10: Couturier line bounced back to a degree

It’s tough to say that any player on the Flyers had a "good" game, but the team’s most effective line was clearly the second unit of Sean Couturier, Jakub Voracek and Travis Konecny. All three finished in the black from an on-ice shot attempts standpoint, and they were the only line to really establish their cycle game consistently. After a relatively poor performance against the Blackhawks, it was good to see this trio back to their old ways.

While Couturier and Voracek had no trouble holding up against the Ducks, Konecny did get knocked around quite a few times, particularly on attempted zone entries. It looked like Anaheim made a point to deliver some crushing checks on the rookie. Invariably, Konecny would get up after the hit and rejoin the play, but the Ducks’ physical tactics helped them to contain the 19-year old. Luckily for the Flyers, few teams have a size/skill combination like Anaheim does, so Konecny should have lots of chances to run wild without looking over his shoulder on every shift.



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/10/21/13353958/ducks-3-flyers-2-10-things-we-learned-from-choppy-passing-wasted-power-plays


[#] Fri Oct 21 2016 10:33:24 EDT from Ari Yanover

Subject: Carter Hart named to Team WHL

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The first goalie taken in June will be repping the Dub!

This year, on Nov. 7 and 8, the WHL’s top players will be opening up the CIBC Canada Russia Series against the Russian National Junior Team. It’s a fun time for all, as the Russians will make their way across Canada to face off against the top players throughout the CHL - one of whom just so happens to be Carter Hart.

Hart, one of the Flyers’ selections in the second round of the 2016 NHL Draft, will be one of the WHL’s netminders. Since there are two games against the WHL to be played, presumably Hart will get one of the starts, while Connor Ingram, a Tampa Bay draft pick, gets the other. Here’s the full roster.

Hart has played nine games for the Everett Silvertips so far this season as their starting netminder. He has just a .908 save percentage to start the year, with a shutout to his name as well.



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/10/21/13355548/flyers-carter-hart-named-to-team-whl


[#] Fri Oct 21 2016 10:48:40 EDT from Travis Hughes

Subject: Dale Weise faces suspension hearing after hit on Ducks’ Korbinian Holzer

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He could be the third Flyer to serve a suspension already this season.

The Flyers just can’t stay out of trouble.

Dale Weise will have a hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety on Friday afternoon after delivering this head shot against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night:

Given the expedience of the hearing, it’s likely a phone hearing, meaning the NHL is only allowed to suspend him up to five games. But it’s another blow to the Flyers, who just got Brayden Schenn back from a three-game suspension and are missing Radko Gudas during his ongoing six-game suspension.

Weise probably deserves something here. Holzer was not seriously hurt on the play, but he clearly left his feet and the head of Anaheim’s Korbinian Holzer was the principal point of contact. In addition, Weise was suspended back in 2013 for three preseason games, so that could play into the severity of punishment.

Stay tuned later today for the league’s decision.



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/10/21/13357960/dale-weise-faces-suspension-hearing-after-hit-on-ducks-korbinian-holzer


[#] Fri Oct 21 2016 17:59:54 EDT from Kurt R.

Subject: Dale Weise suspended three games for illegal check to the head of Korbinian Holzer

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He’ll be back in the lineup on Thursday, October 27.

Following today’s announcement of a hearing for Flyers forward Dale Weise for his hit on Anaheim Ducks defenseman Korbinian Holzer in Thursday night’s 3-2 loss, the NHL Department of Player Safety announced on Friday afternoon that Weise has been suspended three games for the hit.

You can see the video of said announcement below:

Patrick Burke, Director of the DoPS and narrator of this video, notes that Weise “unnecessarily extends up and into the head of Holzer,” and that Holzer could have been hit legally (in a way that did not make illegal head contact) but was not.

As such, Weise will miss the Flyers’ next three games — Saturday night against Carolina, Monday night in Montreal, and Tuesday night against Buffalo. Burke notes that Weise’s disciplinary history — he has been suspended once before, also for an illegal check to the head — factored into the decision here.

Weise, who was signed to a four-year deal this past offseason, hasn’t had a particularly great first week as a Flyer. He’s tallied no points and just one shot on goal in the team’s first four games, and this hit was really the first thing he did that has garnered much attention. Hopefully things start to turn around for him once he’s back in the lineup on Thursday against Arizona.

In the meantime, Roman Lyubimov figures to be back in the lineup in Weise’s stead. The timing of this suspension is rather unfortunate, as the Flyers currently find themselves in a bit of a bind due to injuries to Michael Raffl and Scott Laughton. We’ll see how Dave Hakstol and Ron Hextall decide to handle things from here.



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/10/21/13362756/flyers-dale-weise-suspended-three-games-illegal-check-to-the-head-of-korbinian-holzer-nhl


[#] Sat Oct 22 2016 18:12:56 EDT from Kurt R.

Subject: Flyers vs. Hurricanes: Preview, lineups, TV coverage and discussion thread

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The Flyers will try to bounce back from their two-game skid in their first Metropolitan Division game of the season.

Get the Carolina perspective on tonight’s game at Canes Country.

Remember this time last week, when the Flyers were undefeated* and everything was sunshine and roses? Things change quickly in sports, don’t they?

(*Undefeated, in this case, meaning 1-0-0. Still counts.)

This past week was a bit tumultuous, as the Flyers lost two games in regulation and are a bit stuck in the mud. They’ll try to bounce back tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes, in their first game against a divisional rival this season.

Last season’s four Flyers-Hurricanes tended to go well for the orange and black, as they picked up three overtime victories — two of which featured Shayne Gostisbehere game-winners in 3-on-3 play — and one loss. Today, the Flyers will try to pick up their first home win of the season, and their first win at all since their season-opening defeat of the Kings.

Oh, also, the ‘Canes have some nerd in their front office, so it’d be nice to stick it to him. Let’s get a win, the Flyers.

Thanks to Dale Weise’s three-game suspension that begins tonight, and thanks to some general struggles the Flyers have had defensively so far this season, we’ll see lineup changes (courtesy of the Courier-Post’s Dave Isaac) both up front and on the blue line in this one. As expected, Roman Lyubimov finds himself in the lineup on the fourth line for the suspended Weise, while Nick Cousins moves up into Weise’s third-line winger role itself.

Meanwhile, on defense, Nick Schultz and Ivan Provorov have swapped partners. Schultz will now be with his most frequent defensive partner from last season, Mark Streit, while Provorov will get a chance to play with Brandon Manning, who’s had a very solid start to this season. Steve Mason will start, via the Inquirer’s Marc Narducci.

Tonight’s game can be found locally on CSN Philly and 97.5 The Fanatic. In North Carolina, the Carolina broadcast can be seen on FS Carolinas. Nationally, you’ll need an NHL.tv or NHL Center Ice subscription.

Philadelphia lineup

Forwards

  1. Brayden Schenn - Claude Giroux - Wayne Simmonds
  2. Travis Konecny - Sean Couturier - Jakub Voracek
  3. Nick Cousins - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Meat Read
  4. Chris VandeVelde - Boyd Gordon - Roman Lyubimov

Defense

  1. Andrew MacDonald - Shayne Gostisbehere
  2. Ivan Provorov - Brandon Manning
  3. Nick Schultz - Mark Streit

Goalies

  1. Steve Mason
  2. Michal Neuvirth

Scratches: No healthy scratches

Injured: Michael Del Zotto, Scott Laughton, Michael Raffl

Suspended: Radko Gudas, Dale Weise

Carolina lineup

Forwards

  1. Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Lee Stempniak
  2. Joakim Nordstrom - Jordan Staal - Sebastian Aho
  3. Teuvo Teravainen - Elias Lindholm - Phil Di Giuseppe
  4. Bryan Bickell - Jay McClement - Viktor Stalberg

Defense

  1. Ron Hainsey - Justin Faulk
  2. Jaccob Slavin - Brett Pesce
  3. Noah Hanifin - Klas Dahlbeck

Goalies

  1. Eddie Lack
  2. Cam Ward


http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/10/22/13367972/flyers-vs-hurricanes-nhl-preview-lineups-tv-coverage-and-discussion-thread


[#] Sat Oct 22 2016 22:33:55 EDT from Kurt R.

Subject: Flyers vs. Hurricanes recap: Eventful second period gives Flyers first home win of the season

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Four second-period goals helped the Flyers power through an early deficit and pick up a win.

It seems like the Flyers are a second-period team now.

OK, so there’s probably more to it than that. But the Flyers picked up their second win of the young 2016-17 NHL campaign on Saturday night in Philadelphia by a score of 6-3 over the Carolina Hurricanes, and much like their first win in Los Angeles, the victory came on the back of a strong second period in which the guys in orange lit the lamp four different times.

After a week of slow starts of games to open the season, the Flyers actually managed to piece together a solid first 10 minutes of the game, as Carolina was forced to spend most of its time on its heels in the defensive zone as the Flyers had a couple of near-misses. The visitors managed to stem the tide a bit as the period went on, getting a couple of solid shifts of their own and forcing Steve Mason to stand tall early, but an overall uneventful first period came to an end with no score on either side.

Then came possibly the most eventful period of the Flyers’ season.

Thanks to a penalty on Wayne Simmonds in the last minute of the second period, Carolina would draw first blood on the power play, as a point shot by Justin Faulk made it through a few screens and bounced off of Ivan Provorov’s stick and past Steve Mason. The Hurricanes would double that lead a couple of minutes later, when a great cross-ice pass to Jordan Staal was one-timed in.

With the game starting to get out of hand, the Flyers managed to take it into their own hands and grab control. First, Brandon Manning continued his strong start to the season by taking a pass from Jake Voracek and dangling his way down to the goal line, where he’d slip the puck past Eddie Lack.

Then, just 2:29 later, the good guys would manage to tie things up, as a point shot from Provorov was tipped by Voracek and through Lack right in front of the net.

Things would continue to ramp up as the period went on, but it was the Flyers who’d get their third straight goal and take the lead late in the period. Just as a power play was expiring, it was none other than the man on a four-game goal streak, Matt Read, who also tipped a shot from Provorov through the wickets and into the net.

And before we’d all managed to process the idea of Matt Read, NHL Goal-Scoring Leader (it’s true! At this moment, it’s true!), Shayne Gostisbehere threw it back to 2015-16 and whipped a shot far-side from the circle to double that lead to 4-2.

(Look, sometimes the Flyers just score four goals in a period and force us to post four highlights in a row like this. We’re sorry. Actually, we’re not. Please allow us to keep doing this, the Flyers.)

Carolina would score one more before the two teams would reach intermission, but they’d never manage to tie things up, as the third period saw the orange and black keep the gas pedal down. Wayne Simmonds would also extend his goal-scoring streak to four games on the power play, while Voracek would ice things up with a shot past Lack on a delayed penalty with just over two minutes to go.

An uneven performance at the start was a long-gone memory by the time the final horn had blown, as the Flyers picked up their first home win of the season and halted their three-game losing skid.

SOME THINGS WE LIKED:

  • There wasn’t much not to like when all was said and done, but we’d be remiss not to highlight Jakub Voracek, who had what looked like the best game he’s had in months. Even beyond the three-point performance, Voracek was forcing his way across the ice with control of the puck and making outstanding passes the way we’ve grown accustomed to seeing him do. Very encouraging game from him.
  • This was certainly the best game of Ivan Provorov’s young career, and it came after two games where his performance looked like it left something to be desired. The two point shots that turned into Flyers goals were nice, but even beyond those,
  • Steve Mason’s overall numbers aren’t fantastic, but he made some great saves late in the second and in the early third while the Flyers were trying to hold their newfound lead. Solid game for him.
  • Outside of the Hurricanes’ game-opening goal, which was a product of an unintended deflection and three Flyers standing in front of Mason, the penalty kill was superb tonight. Just three shots would reach Mason across five Flyers penalty kills.
  • The power play also looked great, scoring once and just missing a number of times even on the three tries where they were unsuccessful. Special teams turning around after a lackluster 2015-16 would go a long way for this team.

Comment of the Night:

Toronto took away an assist for Konecny on Matt Read’s goal.


Can’t let him overshadow Auston Matthews I guess.

mtitanic

Observations in the morning. Montreal on Monday. Good win. Go Flyers.



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/10/22/13368566/flyers-vs-hurricanes-nhl-recap-eventful-second-period-gives-flyers-first-home-win-of-the-season


[#] Sun Oct 23 2016 10:31:26 EDT from Charlie O'Connor

Subject: Flyers 6, Hurricanes 3: 10 things we learned from an action-packed victory

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After three straight losses, the Flyers finally broke through with a big six-goal outburst to down the division-rival Hurricanes.

Morning Observations is a feature where we break down the previous night's game with an analytical eye.

#1: Not a great advanced stat night for Flyers, but goalie play matters

One of the best-kept secrets in the NHL is that the Carolina Hurricanes are actually a pretty darn solid hockey team at 5-on-5. Whether you credit their young puck-moving defense, strong tactics from head coach Bill Peters, or the influence of BSH alumnus Eric Tulsky, Carolina has consistently drove play at even strength for the past year and change. They’re not the pushover that their poor standings performance might lead one to believe.

Last night followed that script. Despite winning 6-3, the Flyers lost all of the advanced metric battles, trailing in 5v5 score-adjusted Corsi For (39.06%), 5v5 Expected Goals (30.27%) and scoring chance percentage (35.14%). It’s tough to find an advanced stat that gave the Flyers the edge in last night’s victory.

So how did the Flyers come out on top? It goes back to the reason why Carolina has failed to make any noise in the standings despite their strong underlying metrics — goaltending. The duo of Cam Ward and Eddie Lack has been one of the league’s worst tandems over the past year, and last night it was Lack who delivered a dud of a performance. When a team faces Carolina, they don’t need to dominate play. They just need to keep it close and make up the difference by exploiting the edge in goaltending. After accounting for special teams, the Flyers only lost the xG battle 3.23-2.78, and that was tight enough for a good game from Steve Mason and a bad one from Lack to result in a Flyers’ win.

#2: When forechecking doesn’t work, speed in transition becomes necessary

The Flyers got out to a solid start last night, but by the latter half of the first period, Carolina seemed to have figured out the team’s plan of attack. Whenever the Flyers looked to employ their aggressive forecheck that sends two forwards below the red line to retrieve pucks on dump-and-chase plays, the Hurricanes’ skilled defensemen were deftly avoiding them and then sending their forwards back up ice with speed. It was a major contributing factor to the heavy pressure that Carolina was able to create in the back half of the period.

In the second and third periods, Philadelphia may not have driven play, but there was a clear shift away from simple dump-and-chase hockey and towards entering the zone with speed and possession of the puck. Unsurprisingly, it was the Couturier line — led by Jakub Voracek — who especially stepped up in this area. The entries might not have been as frequent as they were earlier in the contest, but they certainly felt more productive, both in terms of shot creation and goal scoring.

NHL.com Report & Highlights | Corsica.Hockey Game Recap Page | HockeyStats.ca Recap | NaturalStatTrick Recap | HockeyViz.com | BSH Recap | Meltzer’s Musings

#3: Scoring issues of early last season nowhere to be found

During the early portion of the 2015-16 season, the Philadelphia Flyers simply could not put the puck in the back of the net. Even a late season rebound could only push the Flyers up to 22nd in the overall league rankings. This year, however, the Flyers are having no such trouble scoring goals, adding six last night to jump to 19 goals in 5 games — just under four goals per contest. I asked Dave Hakstol after the game what differences he’s seen in terms of process that he believes has caused the improvement in scoring efficiency.

“It’s a different year, it’s a different team, it’s a different season. We have to do things more consistently on the offensive side but we have some good chemistry in a couple of areas. I think we are doing some things a little bit better off the rush. We are creating a little more off the attack. That involves our forwards as well as our defensemen.”

Compared with my tracking from last season, the Flyers are definitely generating more controlled entries in the early part of 2016-17 than they did in October and November of 2015-16. Going into last night’s game, Philadelphia was at a 47.86% Controlled Entry percentage as a team, a slight jump from the 45.14% that they finished with last season, and a big leap from where they were at the start of that year. My guess is that last night’s game will only serve to raise that team controlled entry percentage even higher.

#4: Is Brandon Manning actually good now?

We’re just five games into the 2016-17 season, but it’s getting to the point where we have to address the possibility that Brandon Manning may have taken a dramatic, sustainable leap in terms of true talent level. Through four games, Manning’s microstats were right in line with those of Shayne Gostisbehere, who led the Philadelphia defense in basically every category last year. Last night, however, was maybe Manning’s best performance. Not only did he score on a fantastic individual effort, he also helped to facilitate Voracek’s game-tying goal by winning a puck-battle deep in the offensive zone to keep a cycle alive. He didn’t get an assist on that one, but he still played a key role in allowing for the goal to occur. Manning’s +11.69% Corsi Relative at 5v5 speaks further towards the excellent game that he had last night.

The real question is what this means for Brandon Manning moving forward. Going into this season, he didn’t even have a long-term spot on the NHL roster locked up, and had a real chance of being sent to Lehigh Valley before preseason injuries and suspensions struck the club. Interestingly enough, Manning’s 2015-16 season did grade out positively by a number of advanced metrics, including Corsi Relative via Corsica (+2.11%) and CorsiRelTM via stats.hockeyanalysis.com (+1.5%). He just failed via the “big mistake” eye test so often that it was tough to imagine him becoming more than a #6 defenseman at the NHL level. So far this year, however, his performance in microstats has taken a big leap forward, and his performance via the eye test is night and day when comparing this season versus last. This could still just be a hot streak, but the longer it lasts, the more seriously we are going to have to take Brandon Manning as an NHL defenseman.

#5: Provorov was fantastic

After two straight games that saw a number of his mistakes end up in the back of the net, Ivan Provorov was facing down criticism for the first time in his young Flyers’ career. Even though the 19-year old defenseman had been the blueline’s best play-driver through four games, segments of the fanbase were already starting to wonder if Provorov was truly ready for the NHL level due to his highly-visible errors. His performance last night, however, should have went a long way towards convincing those skeptics that Provorov isn’t just NHL-ready — he’s likely one of the best defensemen on this roster.

From the start, Provorov was on his game. On a first period penalty kill, he broke up a Hurricanes entry, forced a dump-in, and executed a clear of the zone, all within about 30 seconds. His strong defensive play carried over to even strength as well, as his defensive zone passing was back to its usual hyper-accurate level after a bit of an off night in that area on Tuesday. His best came in the third period, when he sprung Matt Read for a breakaway (that eventually drew a penalty) via a perfect flip pass over the heads of three Carolina defenders. It’s no surprise that he finished with a defense-high +14.52% Corsi relative to his teammates in this one.

Of course, the two primary assists will get the most attention, and both were caused by seeing-eye wrist shots from the point that ended up being tipped by the waiting stick of a Flyers forward in front of the net. Unlike Gostisbehere, who leans heavily on his frightening slapshot at the point, Provorov is more about precision, letting loose shots that may not have the speed of a Gostisbehere bomb but probably have a better chance of getting through to the goaltender. Jakub Voracek and Matt Read were the beneficiaries of that precision last night.

#6: Ghost better, MacDonald not so much

In the season’s first few games, Shayne Gostisbehere had not quite looked like the dynamic Calder-nominee of 2015-16. Sure, he showed flashes of brilliance (especially against the Coyotes), but too often the Ghost Bear seemed hesitant with the puck rather than willing to push play at all costs like he did last season. The increased minutes and responsibilities in the absence of Michael Del Zotto and Radko Gudas may have played a role, but regardless, Gostisbehere hadn’t been at his best.

Last night was the return of the Ghost Bear. He finished with three points, all of the primary variety, and was consistently carrying the puck up ice and engineering controlled zone exits. But while this was the first time we saw the real Gostisbehere, it was also the first game of the season where Andrew MacDonald clearly looked to be dragging down his dynamic partner. MacDonald’s play with the puck was nothing special, and his positioning both on rushes and in the defensive zone was forcing Gostisbehere to do too much with the puck and in terms of pressuring Carolina players.

Ghost’s 37.93% Corsi For was not an accurate measure of the quality of his performance, to my eyes. On the other hand, MacDonald’s 31.03% seemed totally justified. The Flyers have just one more game without Radko Gudas, and then they’ll have to shuffle the defensive pairs in order to get him back in the lineup. My hope is that one such change is to free Gostisbehere from his current situation.

#7: VandeVelde still ahead of Lyubimov in pecking order

With Dale Weise suspended for the next three games, Roman Lyubimov checked back into the lineup, playing on the fourth line with Boyd Gordon and Chris VandeVelde. In limited minutes, Lyubimov impressed to my eyes, looking fast and strong and even generated a quality chance via a sharp angle shot that Eddie Lack wasn’t expecting. On the other hand, Chris VandeVelde was predictably average, with his most visible moment being a ghastly turnover in the neutral zone that sent the Canes on a rush.

But Hakstol showed his cards late in the third period, when VandeVelde actually took a shift with the top line as the Flyers looked to close out the contest. Lyubimov received just 4:40 of ice time at 5v5, while VandeVelde received 6:48 and added almost three minutes on the PK. It’s the same old story here — Chris VandeVelde isn’t going to leave the lineup unless one of his competition has an absolutely monster game, and even then, a scratching still wouldn’t be certain. He clearly retains the trust of Hakstol in key situations.

#8: Voracek looks poised for big season

In case you were still worried after four games, last night’s game should have convinced all still on the fence that the old Jakub Voracek is back. After a two-goal, one-assist performance, Jake now has seven points in five games to lead the Flyers. But it’s not just the raw numbers that is cause for optimism. Voracek is generating controlled entries, moving the puck well on the power play, creating chances via his passing ability, and even battling to the front of the net on occasion.

Going into the season, Voracek was an obvious candidate for a bounceback, as he was entering the year fully healthy after battling both injury and unsustainable bad luck in 2015-16. But being a candidate for a rebound year and actually having that season are two completely different things. Luckily for Flyers fans, Jakub Voracek has only delivered positive signs thus far that he’s back to being the elite winger that truly earned that massive contract last offseason.

#9: Steve Mason was stellar

His 0.900 save percentage on the evening won’t turn any heads, but don’t let the numbers fool you — Steve Mason delivered a very strong performance against the Hurricanes last night. While Eddie Lack faltered for his team, Mason made a number of big saves, especially in the third period as the Flyers looked to salt the game away. After beginning the season on the bench, Mason proved to be the first goalie in the tandem to receive two straight starts, and he justified his coach’s faith. As noted previously, the Flyers were projected to lose 3.23-2.78 by xG in all situations. While that means that Lack gave up way more goals than expected, it also means that Mason bettered his shot quality-based projections, a fact that should have been obvious to all observers of this contest.

#10: The Matt Read revival continues

Considering his stature both in the Flyers’ organization and among fans just one month ago, it’s amazing that Matt Read now sits tied for second with uber-prospect Auston Matthews in NHL goals scored thus far this year. Yet again, Read found a way to light the lamp, and yet again, it was due to the forward battling to the dirty areas. This time, he tipped an Ivan Provorov shot past Lack just as a Flyers’ PP expired for his fifth goal of the year.

Sure, a good deal of this is luck. After all, Read obviously isn’t going to hold a 33.3% shooting percentage for much longer. But it also feels like a cosmic reward for playing through injury in 2014-15 (even if Craig Berube should have sat Read down) and for an unlucky season last year. This early surge has likely earned him a long-term spot at wing on the team’s third line, and a place as the top choice to be Travis Konecny’s “defensive replacement” on line two in close games, a role he filled last night. Read’s not going to stay at the top of the NHL goal charts for much longer, but considering the fact that he’s already 25% of the way there, a third 20-goal season really isn’t out of the question.



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/10/23/13368470/flyers-6-hurricanes-3-10-things-we-learned-from-an-action-packed-victory


[#] Sun Oct 23 2016 11:47:42 EDT from Ari Yanover

Subject: Shayne Gostisbehere has first three-point game

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He’s one of the youngest Flyers defensemen to do it.

Out of all the amazing things Shayne Gostisbehere did last season - remember the 15-game point streak? Yeah you do - he never scored three points in one game.

Sure, he came close a number of times; he had seven two-point games (three of which came during the point streak). But three in one never happened.

Until the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Carolina Hurricanes 6-3 - and Gostisbehere had a hand in those last three goals.

Remember the part where Ghostisbehere is only 23? Via the Elias Sports Bureau, there’s an additional, impressive layer to his stats considering his age:

The 23-year-old Gostisbehere is the youngest defenseman to score three points in one game for the Flyers since March 8, 2008, when Braydon Coburn (also 23, but younger than Gostisbehere was on Saturday) had three assists in a 4-1 Philadelphia victory against the Islanders.

Oh, Coburn. He finished that season with a career high 36 points. Gostisbehere got 46 as a rookie. It’s great to see him get down that three-point game, though - now, what’s next?



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/10/23/13372030/shayne-gostisbehere-has-first-three-point-game


[#] Mon Oct 24 2016 06:21:19 EDT from Kurt R.

Subject: Monday Morning Fly By: Sports were good this weekend!

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Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...

* Quite a win on Saturday! That’s how you end a three-game losing streak. Click for your recap and observations!

* That win came without Dale Weise, who we also won’t see tonight or tomorrow night due to a three-game suspension that was handed down on Friday evening: [BSH]

* After a rough couple of games, Ivan Provorov was great on Saturday, and he was helped by some encouragement from Shayne Gostisbehere: [CSNPhilly]

* Michael Del Zotto and Scott Laughton can’t actually play in a game until November 5, but they’re both back on the ice practicing: [Courier-Post]

* Elsewhere in the league, the Heritage Classic took place yesterday in Winnipeg: [Arctic Ice Hockey]

* And speaking of hockey in Canada, things actually appear to be going pretty well for the league’s Canadian-based teams so far this year: [THN]

* Where else may the NHL look for outdoor hockey games in the future? [Puck Daddy]

* Some themes from the first week and a half or so of regular-season play: [SBN]

* Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, the ice is very bad and Islanders players are not happy about it, but there’s not an easy fix: [Lighthouse Hockey]

* Ryan and Dylan Strome’s mother watched as Ryan Strome scored while Dylan Strome was on the ice, and she seemed quite perplexed by the whole thing: [SBN]

* Death, taxes, and the New Jersey Devils somehow managing to be involved in lower-scoring games than the rest of the league: [All About the Jersey]

* Finally, there were some absurd trick shots made at a University of Michigan game on Friday night: [SBN]



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/10/24/13375182/monday-morning-fly-by-sports-were-good-this-weekend


[#] Mon Oct 24 2016 10:25:20 EDT from Charlie O'Connor

Subject: Analyzing the Flyers' penalty kill adjustments so far this year

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Last season, the penalty kill of the Philadelphia Flyers was a major weakness. After just five games, it's obvious that the coaching staff has made a number of tactical and structural changes this year to try and fix it.

After two straight years of unimpressive results, the once-fearsome penalty kill of the Philadelphia Flyers bottomed out during the team's first round playoff series last spring against the Washington Capitals. The shorthanded units allowed eight goals on just 17 opportunities in the first three games of the series, essentially gift-wrapping the Capitals a 3-0 series lead that proved impossible to overcome.

Last April made it abundantly clear that changes were necessary in order to bring the Flyers' penalty kill back to respectability. To that end, BSH released a four-part series this summer breaking down the team's tactics and results while shorthanded, and offered suggestions to improve the unit. The general finding was that better structure in the neutral zone and more aggressive tactics in the defensive zone might be the best ways to fix what ailed the penalty kill.

The talk coming from the Flyers organization during training camp was that strategic changes had indeed been made to the PK units over the summer. In preseason, it was immediately clear that the forwards were attacking the outer edges of opponents' power play formations more often than they did in 2015-16, and the team was also experimenting with different neutral zone structures as well. Still, the changes were only being flashed in meaningless games. The important question was whether adjustments would carry over into the regular season.

With five games in the books, we can now confidently state that the coaching staff did draw up noticeable changes to the penalty kill over the offseason. It's too early to accurately judge whether the changes are having a positive (or negative) effect, but the fact that they exist is undeniable. Specifically, the Flyers made two tweaks to their tactics: they increased the level of aggressiveness in the defensive zone, and introduced a new version of an old neutral zone formation.

Defensive zone aggressiveness way up

While tracking the Philadelphia penalty kill from the 2015-16 season, it became obvious that the penalty kill had an almost-pathological aversion to placing pressure on the outer edges of opposing power plays. I've referred to their primary strategy as a "Passive Triangle +1" as it included three forwards down low in a shifting triangle shape and one forward up high primarily concerned with blocking lanes -- not actively pressuring the puck carriers.

As I described back in August when reviewing this clip, the high forward or F1 (usually Ryan White here) put very little direct pressure on the Montreal players with the puck. The positive to this approach was that White often prevented any realistic possibility of a shot on goal by standing in between the Montreal player and the net. The negative was that the Canadiens were able to cycle the puck around the horn for an extended period of time without having to worry about attacking pressure from the PK.

The Flyers didn't always use the Passive Triangle +1 strategy, of course. They occasionally used a tactic referred to as the "Czech Press," which is distinguished by heavy pressure from the F1 forward. His goal is to "press" on the PP forward on the half boards, driving him down towards the goal line. Philadelphia shifted to this strategy during the Washington series starting in Game 4, and it did help to slow the Capitals' power play.

Even though the Czech Press was used on occasion last year, Philadelphia was still primarily a passive defensive zone penalty kill. Through my manual tracking, I determined that the Flyers used the Passive Triangle +1 on 72.2% of potential opportunities during the 2015-16 regular season. Pressure-based tactics, on the other hand, were used just 27.8 percent of the time.

This season, however, the ratio of passive-to-pressure hasn't merely changed; it's flipped almost entirely. So far this year, the Flyers are relying upon the Czech Press as their base defensive zone penalty killing tactic.

Defensive Zone Strategy Times Used in 2016-17 2016-17 Usage Percentage 2015-16 Usage Percentage
Passive Triangle +1 9 34.6% 72.2%
Czech Press 17 65.4% 27.8%

2016-17 statistics are accurate through October 20th.

Here's an example of it in use this year against the Arizona Coyotes. The key is the actions of Chris VandeVelde -- on two occasions, he loops high in the zone to gather momentum in order to press down on the Coyote stationed on the half boards. On both occasions, the challenge spurs a quick decision on the part of the Arizona player, which is the major benefit of employing the Czech Press, as it takes time and space away from the opposing power play.

It's still early in the season, but a shift from a 72/28 passive-to-pressure ratio to a 65/35 pressure-to-passive one seems to be a clear sign that there has been a change in penalty killing philosophy. We'll see if it holds for the rest of the year.

A new version of an old forecheck

The Flyers employed various neutral zone PK forechecks in 2015-16, all with varying degrees of success. But in the end, they stuck to four base tactics -- the Passive 1-3, Retreating Box, Same-Side Press and Tandem Pressure. Out of those four, the Passive 1-3 was their top choice.

Pie Chart

It's important to note that while Philadelphia's most frequently-used PK neutral zone forecheck was the Passive 1-3, the forecheck did not always look exactly the same. Sometimes, the Flyers used a classic Passive 1-3, with all three penalty killers on the back line parallel to each other in a horizontal line across the ice, such as the example below.

Other times, they employed a more aggressive variation, with the center player in the line stationed a bit ahead of the two flankers and granted the freedom to attack puck carriers moving up the middle of the ice. In the clip below, Matt Read plays the role of the aggressive center penalty killer, turning the Passive 1-3 into something close to a 1-1-2 formation.

So far this year, the 1-3 again has been Philadelphia's forecheck of choice in the neutral zone on the PK, even moreso than it was last season. Through the first four games, the Flyers utilized the 1-3 formation on 80.6% of all potential forechecking opportunities, a staggering rate.

However, it's not the same old Passive 1-3 as last year. Nor is it a full-time shift to the more-aggressive 1-1-2 center forward variation that the team regularly utilized in 2015-16. Instead, the Flyers are now using the flankers of the three-man line as the aggressive forecheckers in the formation, turning the 1-3 into something like a 1-2-1. Here's an example of the structure.

Boyd Gordon performs the usual tasks of the F1 in a Passive 1-3, placing a degree of pressure on the puck carrier and subtly trying to guide him to a preferred location in the middle of the ice. But notice how far back the center penalty killer (Ivan Provorov here) is in relation to the two flankers in the three-man line. Andrew MacDonald and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare are instead the aggressive ones, positioned a few strides in front of the blue line and ready to challenge any puck carriers who try to enter the zone via the left or right sides of the ice.

Will this strategy work over the long-term? There is an obvious positive to the new formation, and one key negative. The strength is that this functions as a far more aggressive neutral zone forecheck than either variation of the Passive 1-3 that the team used last year. The majority of power play zone entries occur via the wings rather than the center of the ice, and the Flyers so far this season are making a conscious effort to challenge those entries in the neutral zone with goal of breaking up the rush or at least forcing a dump-in. If penalty killing is all about taking an opposing power play out of its comfort zone, it's easy to see how this formation could succeed.

However, the biggest strength of the Passive 1-3 that the Flyers employed last season was its ability to disrupt power plays' attempts to set up in offensive zone formation after they successfully gained the zone. By having the flankers hang back, they had a head start on retrieving dump-ins if the power play chose that as their method of entering the zone. They also were better positioned to immediately attack the forwards on the half-boards post-controlled entry.

This new strategy places a great deal of post-entry responsibility on the center penalty killer in the line. He'll likely be the primary puck retriever on dump-ins due to his positioning deeper in the zone, and he'll have to cover extra ground in order to reach the corners than the flankers would have last season. That slight increase in time could be the difference between an easy retrieval-and-clear and a 50/50 puck battle.

It's possible that this new version of the 1-3 could force more uncontrolled entries and breakups than last year's model, but those gains might be counteracted by opposing power plays becoming more efficient in gathering dump-ins and getting set up in attacking formation. As the season progresses, it will be fascinating to see which scenario plays out.

Conclusion

Any worries that the Philadelphia Flyers would enter the 2016-17 season with the intention of rolling the same ineffective penalty killing tactics as last year can be safely brushed aside. In the first five games, the Flyers' coaching staff has made major adjustments to the team's shorthanded strategies, with the overarching theme of increased overall aggressiveness in both the neutral and defensive zones.

The intent is admirable. Last season, the Flyers were a particularly passive penalty killing squad, and the mentality finally burned them in their playoff loss to the Washington Capitals. It's clear that coaches Dave Hakstol and Ian Lapierriere have no interest in watching a repeat of that horror show.

Still, it's far too early to tell if the tactics will have a positive impact on results. Thus far, the Flyers have actually been a worse shorthanded shot suppression team (98.85 Corsi Against Per 60 in 2016-17 versus 88.44 in 2015-16) this year as compared to last, so the early returns aren't especially promising. But we're dealing with very small samples here -- it's extremely possible that a few bad shifts are skewing the numbers, considering the fact that Philadelphia has spent just 32 minutes shorthanded thus far this year.

As we move deeper into the season and the samples grow larger, it should become more clear whether these tactical shifts are working for the Philadelphia Flyers. But at the very least, it's reassuring that the team is not satisfied with their poor results from 2015-16, and are trying out new tactics with the goal of improving. It's said that the definition of insanity is using the same process over and over again and expecting different results. So far this year, the Flyers' coaching staff appears sane in this area, and fans can only hope that sanity leads to a far more effective penalty kill.

All stats courtesy of Corsica.Hockey or manually tracked by Charlie O'Connor.



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/10/24/13377694/philadelphia-flyers-nhl-penalty-kill-analysis-adjustments


[#] Mon Oct 24 2016 13:43:35 EDT from Travis Hughes

Subject: Flyers vs. Canadiens preview: Steve Mason gets start against East’s best team

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The Canadiens are the best team in the East in the early going, and the Flyers will visit them in Montreal tonight.

The Flyers are north of the border tonight for their first game against an Atlantic Division team on the new season, visiting the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre.

Coming off of Saturday night’s tumultuous win against the Carolina Hurricanes, Steve Mason will again get the nod in net. Yeah, remember when you freaked out because he didn’t start the season opener? He’s coming off a performance in which he arguably won the game for the Flyers vs. Carolina, and with another strong one tonight he’ll clearly take the lead as at least the team’s 1A goalie.

The Flyers certainly didn’t dominate the game in terms of puck control the other night, and that had another miserable first period in which they fell behind — something that’s been a staple in all five games for this team so far. But after they again shook off the early cobwebs, things really shifted. The offense feels dangerous, with Jakub Voracek and Matt Read leading the charge after dismal scoring seasons a year ago.

On defense, Ivan Provorov bounced back with a great game on Saturday, Brandon Manning has played his way into a roster conversation that gets quite interesting when Radko Gudas returns tomorrow, and Shayne Gostisbehere is coming off of a game that looked like what we came to expect from him last season.

Montreal, however, presents an interesting challenge tonight. The Habs have been the best team in the East so far this season, sitting at 4-0-1 so far in the early going. They have scored at least four goals in all of their wins so far, and they still scored three in the shootout loss they suffered on October 15. So assuming their luck doesn’t run out all at once tonight, it’s going to be a challenge on the road. Carey Price is net for the Habs and ... I mean, it’s Carey Price.

Locally, the game can be seen on CSN Philly and heard in 97.5 The Fanatic. Elsewhere in the United States, you’ll need an NHL.tv or NHL Center Ice subscription. In Canada, the game can be seen on RDS in French or Sportsnet East in English. NHL GameCentre Live and Sportsnet Now have the live streams for Canadians.

Philadelphia lineup

Forwards

  1. Brayden Schenn - Claude Giroux - Wayne Simmonds
  2. Travis Konecny - Sean Couturier - Jakub Voracek
  3. Nick Cousins - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Meat Read
  4. Chris VandeVelde - Boyd Gordon - Roman Lyubimov

Defense

  1. Andrew MacDonald - Shayne Gostisbehere
  2. Ivan Provorov - Brandon Manning
  3. Nick Schultz - Mark Streit

Goalies

  1. Steve Mason
  2. Michal Neuvirth

Scratches: n/a

Injured: Michael Del Zotto, Scott Laughton, Michael Raffl

Suspended: Radko Gudas, Dale Weise

Montreal lineup

Forwards

  1. Max Pacioretty - Alex Galchenyuk - Brendan Gallagher
  2. Arturri Lehkonen - Tomas Plekanec - Alex Radulov
  3. Andrew Shaw - David Desharnais - Paul Byron
  4. Phillip Danault - Torrey Mitchell - Brian Flynn

Defense

  1. Shea Weber - Nathan Beaulieu
  2. Andrei Markov - Jeff Petry
  3. Alexei Emelin - Greg Pateryn

Goalies

  1. Carey Price
  2. Al Montoya


http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/10/24/13386584/flyers-vs-canadiens-preview-lineups


[#] Mon Oct 24 2016 17:32:19 EDT from Travis Hughes

Subject: Flyers vs. Canadiens: Preview, lineups, TV coverage and discussion thread

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Get the Montreal perspective on tonight’s game at Eyes On The Prize.

Tonight’s game can be seen on CSN Philly and heard in 97.5 The Fanatic. Elsewhere in the United States, you’ll need an NHL.tv or NHL Center Ice subscription. In Canada, the game can be seen on RDS in French or Sportsnet East in English. NHL GameCentre Live and Sportsnet Now have the live streams for Canadians.

Philadelphia lineup

Forwards

  1. Brayden Schenn - Claude Giroux - Wayne Simmonds
  2. Travis Konecny - Sean Couturier - Jakub Voracek
  3. Nick Cousins - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Meat Read
  4. Chris VandeVelde - Boyd Gordon - Roman Lyubimov

Defense

  1. Andrew MacDonald - Shayne Gostisbehere
  2. Ivan Provorov - Brandon Manning
  3. Nick Schultz - Mark Streit

Goalies

  1. Steve Mason
  2. Michal Neuvirth

Scratches: n/a

Injured: Michael Del Zotto, Scott Laughton, Michael Raffl

Suspended: Radko Gudas, Dale Weise

Montreal lineup

Forwards

  1. Max Pacioretty - Alex Galchenyuk - Brendan Gallagher
  2. Arturri Lehkonen - Tomas Plekanec - Alex Radulov
  3. Andrew Shaw - David Desharnais - Paul Byron
  4. Phillip Danault - Torrey Mitchell - Brian Flynn

Defense

  1. Shea Weber - Nathan Beaulieu
  2. Andrei Markov - Jeff Petry
  3. Alexei Emelin - Greg Pateryn

Goalies

  1. Carey Price
  2. Al Montoya


http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/10/24/13392426/flyers-vs-canadiens-preview-lineups-tv-coverage-and-discussion-thread


[#] Mon Oct 24 2016 22:52:35 EDT from Kurt R.

Subject: Flyers at Canadiens recap: Game of ups and down ends on a sour note

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A late power play goal and strong goaltending from Carey Price sent the Flyers home unhappy.

Again, the second period proved to be the Flyers’ best period of the game. Unfortunately, this time, that second period wasn’t enough to put them over the edge.

Some stout goaltending from all-world netminder Carey Price and a late goal on a deflection in front cost the Flyers a point tonight in Montreal, where they fell 3-1 to the Canadiens and were stymied in their effort to put together their first actual win streak of the season.

The first period was a combination of chippy and sloppy, with both teams taking a penalty and with several moments on each side of flubbed pucks and poor decisions to spring the other team on a chance. The Flyers were outshot 9-6 in the frame, and even that relatively meager shot count sort of overstated how uninspiring a period of hockey it was.

Still, with the way that first periods have largely gone for the Flyers this year, one could argue it was one of the best opening frames of the season for the orange and black. And as such, they’d head into the locker room scoreless.

Montreal would light up the scoreboard first, as a bomb from the point by True Flyer Shea Weber would bounce off of Brayden Schenn’s stick, past a perfect screen by Andrew MacDonald, and through Steve Mason.

But from that point, for most of the next 20 minutes or so, the Flyers pretty consistently kept the pedal down and generated pressure on the home team. Players up and down the lineup seemed to be getting their chances here and there, and the Flyers would finally break through Carey Price and draw even just past the game’s midway point. Not long after Jakub Voracek did this...

...he then did this, tipping home a Giroux point shot for his third goal of the year.

By that point, things had clearly shifted in the Flyers’ favor, as they continued to dominate the ice through the rest of the second period and into the early third. However, Carey Price was able to keep them out of the net and the lead, and that proved to be enough for the Canadiens when they finally wrested control away from the Flyers later on in the period.

After a couple of rough defensive shifts, Sean Couturier was called for a hooking penalty at center-ice with just under seven minutes remaining. Montreal won the faceoff and immediately cashed in, as Alexander Radulov fired a shot in from the blue line and Brendan Gallagher would tip it past Mason.

The final seven minutes would be a bit hectic, as both Mason and Price were forced to make multiple strong saves to keep the score where it was. Unfortunately for the Flyers, the score would not, in fact, move, and an empty-netter from Radulov would seal the deal for the Canadiens.

THAT STUNK, SO HERE WERE SOME THINGS THAT WE LIKED:

  • Steve Mason was the best Flyer on the ice last night, and deserved a better fate than the loss he was handed. Two goals tipped right in front of him, and several other great saves to keep things close.
  • The clips above may have served as a hint, but Jakub Voracek is on a warpath right now. The whole Konecny - Couturier - Voracek line still looks excellent, but he is definitely the engine that makes it move right now.
  • Ivan Provorov was cool and collected yet again, snuffing out multiple near-breakaways by Montreal and making the smart plays we’re already accustomed to him making.
  • Brandon Manning was also still good! At some point we have to wonder if that’s who he is now, right?

Comment of the Night:

I don’t know if I can exactly blame AMac for that but I want to.

ACaseOfTastyKakes, on Gallagher’s game-winner

Buffalo tomorrow night at home. Time to bounce back. Go Flyers.



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/10/24/13398670/flyers-at-canadiens-recap-game-of-ups-and-down-ends-on-a-sour-note


[#] Tue Oct 25 2016 06:30:29 EDT from Kelly Hinkle

Subject: Tuesday Morning Fly By: Sports are bad again.

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...

*YOU COULD'VE STAYED SICK, CAREY PRICE. Recap.

*Soon, very soon, our defense will be back to something resembling normal. [Inquirer]

*Jakub Voracek is playing for a little something more this season, and he's a pretty great person for doing it. [Sons of Penn]

*The Brandon Manning-Ivan Provorov defense pairing seems to be working pretty nicely. [CSN Philly]

*Folks, there are few things better than a Charlie O'Connor deep-dive and five games into the season he's giving us a good long look at the ways the Flyers have tried to improve the penalty kill since last season. Worth the read, this one. [BSH]

*So what's the deal with hockey fans being so insecure about the popularity of their favorite sport? It's weird right? [Hockey Wilderness]

*Scoring is up in the NHL! Surely everyone in the NHL executive offices is doing a happy dance. So what's lead to the increase? [USA Today]

*And finally, if you're still looking for a Halloween costume, well....this will certainly help. [Lighthouse Hockey]



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/10/25/13393716/tuesday-morning-fly-by


[#] Tue Oct 25 2016 09:33:29 EDT from Charlie O'Connor

Subject: Canadiens 3, Flyers 1: 10 things we learned from a frustrating loss

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On the whole, the Flyers played well enough to win last night. Unfortunately, they were facing Carey Price.

Morning Observations is a feature where we break down the previous night's game with an analytical eye.

#1: After exploiting bad goaltending on Saturday, Flyers stymied by a great one

In their victory over the Carolina Hurricanes this past weekend, the Philadelphia Flyers did not drive play at 5v5 despite the positive result. The good news was that territorial dominance is not a prerequisite for beating the Canes — the team’s poor goaltending provides an obvious alternative route to a win. Against the Montreal Canadiens, however, a repeat of that strategy is doomed to fail considering the presence of Carey Price, one of the league’s best netminders.

To the Flyers’ credit, they hung right with Montreal at 5v5, winning the score-adjusted shot attempts battle (55.5% Corsi) and just narrowing losing in xG (46.55%). But even with Steve Mason performing admirably for Philadelphia, that wasn’t enough to top the Price-led Canadiens, as the Montreal goalie stopped 31 of 32 shots for a stellar 0.969 save percentage. Despite their strong start to the year, the Canadiens have flaws — their defense isn’t particularly deep and Michal Therrien’s on-ice tactics have historically failed to drive play at even strength. But Carey Price is fully capable of masking those weaknesses on a nightly basis. He’s just that good, and the Flyers were reminded of that fact last night.

#2: Second line continues to roll

On Saturday night, the Flyers’ second line of Jakub Voracek, Sean Couturier and Travis Konecny was the team’s most effective unit, consistently generating chances and driving controlled zone entries. However, at times it did feel like a one-man show, as the reinvigorated Voracek seemed to be the one creating the vast majority of the offense on the line. Last night, the second unit again played like a top line, but this time Couturier and Konecny were just as impressive as Jake.

Voracek continued his comeback tour, scoring his third goal of the season on a picture-perfect redirection of a Claude Giroux shot. His linemates were just as impressive, however. Konecny was a controlled entry machine, using his dazzling speed to blast through the neutral zone and get in on the attack. Couturier, on the other hand, was the stabilizing presence in all three zones, finishing with a team-high 71.37% score-adjusted Corsi at 5v5. Right now, the Konecny-Couturier-Voracek trio may be the “second” line in name, but it’s clearly been the Flyers’ most dangerous unit.

NHL.com Report & Highlights | Corsica.Hockey Game Recap Page | HockeyStats.ca Recap | NaturalStatTrick Recap | HockeyViz.com | BSH Recap | Meltzer’s Musings

#3: Even in defeat, Mason played very well

Over the past two games, Steve Mason has given up five goals — far from an awful goals against rate, but not one that will immediately turn any heads either. But in this case, the raw numbers don’t do Mason justice. He made a number of high-difficulty saves against the Hurricanes to help the Flyers overcome their mediocre 5v5 play, and last night he was on his game yet again.

His two huge stops in the first period against Phillip Danault and Paul Byron kept the game scoreless and prevented Philadelphia from falling into an early hole, while his point-blank save on David Desharnais in front with just two minutes left kept his team’s comeback hopes alive for just a bit longer than they should have survived. Mason may not have gotten the win, but he justified his coach’s confidence in choosing him for a tough road matchup despite it being his third straight start. Michal Neuvirth will almost certainly play in tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres, but that doesn’t change the fact that Mason is staking a very strong claim to the top spot on the goalie depth chart.

#4: Penalty kill actually wasn’t bad — except for right after faceoffs

Yesterday, I outlined the changes that the Flyers’ coaching staff has made this season to the team’s penalty kill, which was such a liability in the 2015-16 regular season and (especially) the playoffs. By reintroducing defensive zone pressure as a base tactic and by running a more aggressive variation of their 1-3 neutral zone forecheck, the Flyers appear to be making a conscious attempt to attack more while killing penalties. Last night those changes held, and through three opportunities they appeared to be frustrating the Canadiens.

But the shorthanded units could not withstand Montreal’s fourth power play with just seven minutes remaining in the contest. The Canadiens turned a faceoff win into an immediate goal, with Brendan Gallagher deflecting a shot by Mason for the game-winner. But it wasn’t just that goal — Philadelphia’s penalty killing off faceoffs was the only real weakness of the unit during the game. Montreal struggled to break the Flyers’ neutral zone forecheck, and the Czech Press wrecked havoc on the power play formation. There’s a reason why only one Flyer finished with a 4v5 Corsi Against of over 80 (around the team-average last season).

Montreal’s rare high-danger opportunities all seemed to come right after faceoffs, when they could bypass the forecheck on entry or just let shots rip before Philadelphia could execute their pressure. Ian Laperriere will have to clean up the PK’s coverages on rush chances and set faceoff plays in order to maximize the unit’s effectiveness, even if the changes highlighted at BSH yesterday actually prove to work.

#5: Time for the Bellemare at 3C experiment to end

You could understand why Dave Hakstol and the Flyers’ coaching staff wanted to give Pierre-Edouard Bellemare a chance to play as the team’s third line center to start the year. After all, he had posted a solid performance at the World Cup of Hockey while playing alongside talented players, and the Flyers were likely curious if Bellemare’s offensive production would take a leap given better linemates at the NHL level.

After six games, however, Bellemare has just one memorable offensive play to his credit — a lunging pass through the neutral zone to spring Matt Read for one of his many goals so far this year. Aside from that great moment, Bellemare has done little to drive goal scoring on his line. Last night was his worst performance, as he finished with a poor 45.39% Corsi For percentage and an atrocious 9.45% in terms of xG. With both Matt Read and Nick Cousins (his usual linemates) looking far better in their occasional shifts away from Bellemare, it’s becoming obvious that the 31-year old is overmatched at 3C. Nick Cousins is the clear replacement possibility, though Michael Raffl also has experience at center and could slide in once healthy. But regardless of the replacement, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare’s time as third line center really should be drawing to a close.

#6: Gostisbehere eventually overcame MacDonald

Over the past two contests, Flyers fans have seen the return of the electric Shayne Gostisbehere of the 2015-16 season. Beginning the season strangely passive and inconsistent with the puck on his stick, Ghost Bear is yet again engineering end-to-end rushes and utilizing his elite lateral mobility to make life miserable for opponents trying to defend the Philadelphia cycle. However, the Flyers’ young defenseman did almost all of his damage in the second half of the game, because the first half was spent trapped in his own zone, trying to bail out a struggling Andrew MacDonald.

MacDonald posted his second straight poor performance, erasing all lingering memories of his strong start to training camp and the preseason. Turnovers, gap control and poor coverage — it was all there last night for MacDonald. He even played a major role in Montreal’s first goal, planting himself right in Steve Mason’s line of vision despite the fact that all Montreal players were leaving the area.

Frankly, it’s a miracle that Shayne Gostisbehere was able to finish this game with a Corsi For percentage of 59.46%, considering the anchor that he was dragging around during the game’s first half. With Radko Gudas almost certain to re-enter the lineup tomorrow, Hakstol will finally have a reason to shuffle the pairings, and in the best interests of Gostisbehere’s sanity, I really hope he gets a reprieve from his current partner.

#7: Who leaves the lineup for Gudas?

The only thing that might save MacDonald from the press box is that he is far from the only Flyers defenseman to be struggling right now. Mark Streit also had a clunker of a game, getting burned on a number of turnovers and poorly-timed pinches. While he did improve a bit as the game progressed, Streit is looking more and more like Kimmo Timonen in his final seasons, but lacking the elite hockey sense that allowed Timonen to remain a very good defenseman up until the very end. Streit still provides some value on the second PP unit as his vision on entries and in finding passing lanes hasn’t left him, but he’s turning into a liability at even strength when not being carried by an effective partner.

Then, there’s Nick Schultz, whose performance last night was a microcosm of his Flyers’ career. Via the eye test, he seemed okay, but then you look at his advanced metrics and realize he was yet again negative relative to his teammates in terms of Corsi, despite receiving 75% of his non-neutral zone faceoff starts in the offensive zone. He has the lowest Corsi Relative on the Flyers’ defense this season for a reason — he’s simply not a very good defenseman.

Despite Streit’s underwhelming efforts, it’s fair to assume that his role on the PP and his status as a team leader will keep him playing for now, though he should probably lose the “lineup lock” designation. Brandon Manning’s continued eye-opening play has likely removed him from the bubble, so the decision comes down to either Schultz or MacDonald. I’d wager that the $30 million man’s game last night may have earned him a ticket to the press box, but we’ll see what happens.

#8: Brayden Schenn’s poor start killing the first line

The second line centered by Sean Couturier has been forced to take up the mantle of “top scoring threat” on the Flyers because the Giroux line has been invisible at even strength for the past few games. It’s easy to pinpoint when the trouble started for the top line, as they posted dominating efforts against Arizona and Chicago before struggling mightily versus the Anaheim Ducks. Ever since, the top line has been in the red from a 5v5 play-driving standpoint. What could have changed to cause such a dramatic dropoff?

It’s not a coincidence that the first line started slumping just as Brayden Schenn checked back into the lineup. With Michael Raffl (his linemate in the first three games), Claude Giroux posted a 55.9% Corsi For this season, while his performance with Schenn (prior to last night’s game) was a pathetic 36.4%. Amazingly, there’s a chance that number rises this morning despite Schenn finishing with a team-low 37.5% Corsi For against Montreal.

Schenn’s never been a particularly strong defensive player, but his tenacious offensive zone forechecking and willingness to battle into the slot turned him into an above-average scorer last year. So far this season, however, the forechecking has been ineffective and Schenn has especially struggled in receiving passes cleanly, killing potential rushes up ice. It’s fair to note that Schenn is three games behind his teammates, but it can’t be ignored that he did play the entire preseason with them and was still allowed to practice despite the suspension. He shouldn’t look this off his game.

#9: Couturier needs more PK minutes

One of the under-the-radar mysteries in the early season for the Flyers has been the marginalization of Sean Couturier on the penalty kill. It’s not that Couturier isn’t in the rotation — it’s that he’s clearly fallen to the lower end of the depth chart, behind Bellemare, Chris VandeVelde, Boyd Gordon, and sometimes Matt Read. For years, Couturier has been the team’s most trusted (and arguably most effective) penalty killer, so this limiting of his minutes is confusing.

It’s not like this is a Claude Giroux situation, where the Flyers’ success is dependent upon his offense and therefore the team wants to prevent him from wearing down in his late 20s due to tough PK minutes. Couturier is just entering his age-related prime, and is often championed as a future Selke Trophy winner. Those forwards almost always take on key PK responsibilities — it’s an essential part of the job description. Instead, Couturier is averaging just 1.33 minutes per game at 4v5, fifth among forwards.

Couturier’s place on the depth chart is especially noticeable because the penalty kill looks so much better with him on the ice. Their move to more aggressive tactics fits the intelligent Couturier perfectly, especially in the defensive zone. His 75.19 Corsi Against/60 trails just Simmonds among Flyers forwards so far this year, seemingly warranting a larger role while shorthanded. But Hakstol continues to lean heavily on inferior players like Bellemare, VandeVelde and Gordon instead. Improved shorthanded tactics can only go so far — eventually, you need to ice your best players and let them thrive in the roles best suited for them. Hopefully that will eventually happen for Couturier on the PK.

#10: Boyd Gordon having weird season

When the Flyers signed Boyd Gordon in the offseason, the implication was that he would play a limited role at even strength (mostly taking defensive zone draws) but would provide the majority of his value as a penalty kill ace. Gordon’s 5v5 scoring and play-driving metrics had dropped off dramatically in recent years, so most fans’ best hope was that he could be hid enough at even strength to allow him to provide positive overall value via his PK play.

We may only be six games into the season, but Gordon has taken those expectations and lit each of them on fire. His penalty killing has been unimpressive, as he currently ranks dead-last among Flyers forwards with a horrid 118.39 CA/60 rate. In addition, his supposedly stellar faceoff ability hasn’t shown through in shorthanded situations, as Gordon had won just 18% of his PK faceoffs entering last night’s game. That’s obviously an unsustainable rate, but he was the one who lost the key draw on Gallagher’s game-winner, so he certainly wasn’t perfect last night.

On the other hand, Gordon’s even strength play has been surprisingly passable. Even beyond his shocking goal to kick off the season, Gordon has mostly held his own at 5v5, holding a decent 48.33% Corsi For and is at 50% after removing blocked shots from the tabulations. Also, as for all that talk about him taking tons of defensive zone faceoffs to take the burden off Giroux? So far in 2016-17, Gordon has received nine draws in his own zone and 10 in the offensive zone at 5v5. That’s right — Gordon has received more favorable zone starts than unfavorable ones. There have been some bright spots for Gordon thus far, but I get the impression that the Flyers’ coaching staff still doesn’t quite know what his role on this team truly is.



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/10/25/13397272/canadiens-3-flyers-1-10-things-we-learned-from-a-frustrating-loss


[#] Tue Oct 25 2016 12:07:00 EDT from Travis Hughes

Subject: Flyers vs. Sabres preview: Radko Gudas (likely) returns after 6-game suspension

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Who will sit for Radko?

It’s a quick turnaround for the Philadelphia Flyers, who hopped on a plane after Monday’s frustrating loss in Montreal and will host another Atlantic Division foe, the Buffalo Sabres, tonight at home.

The big question for the Flyers is just who will come out of the lineup as defenseman Radko Gudas returns from his six-game suspension. We know it won’t be Shayne Gostisbehere or Ivan Provorov, and it probably won’t be Mark Streit given that he has an ‘A’ on his chest. Brandon Manning entered the season as the last guy on the depth chart, but he’s played so well that it’d be hard to see him coming out.

So it’s probably Andrew MacDonald or Nick Schultz who will sit. We’ll know more after morning skate, including just how the pairings shake up with the changes.

Of course, Gudas’ return is big one for the Flyers. He in many ways has played like a top pairing defenseman in his time here, despite all of the shenanigans otherwise, and inserting him back into the lineup should be a big help. It will be interesting to see how long the Sabres’ memories are, since the last time these two teams played back in February, Gudas avoided suspension for a questionable hit in the waning minutes of the contest. Wonder if anything comes of that tonight.

Buffalo will start goaltender Anders Nilsson tonight in place of regular starter Robin Lehner, who has played in all four Sabres games thus far this season but is out with an illness tonight. Nilsson performed well in preseason for the Sabres, but it’s safe to say he’s a welcome respite after seeing Carey Price a night ago.

Jack Eichel remains out of the Sabres lineup with an ankle injury that he suffered in practice a few weeks back. Evander Kane is also out of the lineup, so they’re hurting among their top offensive talent.

Tonight’s game can be seen locally on CSN Philly and heard on 97.5 The Fanatic. Nationally, the game can be found on NBCSN or live streamed through NBC Live Extra.

For more from the Buffalo perspective, be sure to check out Die By The Blade.

Here are the lineups, as far as we know:

Philadelphia lineup (highly subject to change)

Forwards

  1. Brayden Schenn - Claude Giroux - Wayne Simmonds
  2. Travis Konecny - Sean Couturier - Jakub Voracek
  3. Nick Cousins - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Meat Read
  4. Chris VandeVelde - Boyd Gordon - Roman Lyubimov

Defense

  1. no clue!

Goalies

  1. Steve Mason
  2. Michal Neuvirth

Scratches: somebody!

Injured: Michael Del Zotto, Scott Laughton, Michael Raffl

Suspended: Dale Weise

Buffalo lineup (via Buffalo News)

Forwards

  1. Matt Moulson - Ryan O’Reilly - Kyle Okposo
  2. Tyler Ennis - Sam Reinhart - Zemgus Girgensons
  3. Marcus Foligno - Johan Larsson - Brian Gionta
  4. Nicolas Deslauriers - Derek Grant - Hudson Fasching

Defense

  1. Josh Gorges - Rasmus Ristolainen
  2. Dmitry Kulikov - Zach Bogosian
  3. Jake McCabe - Cody Franson

Goalies

  1. Anders Nilsson
  2. Linus Ullmark


http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/10/25/13403436/flyers-vs-sabres-preview-lineups-goalies


[#] Tue Oct 25 2016 13:23:15 EDT from Travis Hughes

Subject: Sabres have ‘made note’ of Radko Gudas’ return in light of incident from last season

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Will Buffalo attempt to dish out some retribution?

It’s kind of ironic that Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas returns from his six-game suspension tonight against the Buffalo Sabres. The last time Gudas hit the ice against Buffalo, it was marred by controversy:

Gudas probably should have been suspended for this, as we wrote at the time, even though he was given a major for charging (and a major for fighting) on the play. It’s clear that since this hit the NHL has come down harder on Gudas, as evidenced by the six-game ban he just received just 15 days ago.

Given that Buffalo’s Jake McCabe fought Gudas immediately after the hit, however, you’d think that this one is in the past. Forgotten. Retribution already dished out.

Hmm, appears not:

There’s no obvious goon in the Sabres lineup or anything tonight, since it’s 2016 and all. But I guess we’ll have to stay tuned.



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/10/25/13406416/radko-gudas-flyers-sabres


[#] Tue Oct 25 2016 14:54:45 EDT from Travis Hughes

Subject: Taylor Leier recalled from Phantoms; will he play?

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And if he does play, who does he replace?

In a bit of a surprising move, the Flyers have recalled forward Taylor Leier from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Leier will wear No. 58 and he becomes the 13th active forward on the roster, not including the injured Michael Raffl and Scott Laughton, or the suspended Dale Weise. He will be eligible to play this evening against the Buffalo Sabres, but there’s no word on if he will.

Some sort of shake up in the bottom-six would not hurt the Flyers right now -- particularly if Leier were to replace Chris VandeVelde and shake up the lines a bit — and maybe that’s what the coaching staff sees here. We’re unaware of any injury that could be at play, and the team seemed comfortable enough going with 12 forwards in Montreal.

But there’s always the chance that Leier could just be insurance. Dale Weise returns from suspension in time for the next game on Thursday night, and Leier won’t otherwise miss any time since the Phantoms are off until Friday.

At the same time, since it’s just one game, there’s not much sense in calling up Leier unless the Flyers plan to play him tonight. I guess we’ll see what happens.



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/10/25/13407880/taylor-leier-recalled-from-phantoms-will-he-play


[#] Tue Oct 25 2016 17:12:00 EDT from Travis Hughes

Subject: Flyers vs. Sabres: Preview, lineups, TV coverage, live stream and discussion thread

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

For more from the Buffalo perspective, be sure to check out Die By The Blade.

Tonight’s game can be seen locally on CSN Philly and heard on 97.5 The Fanatic. Nationally, the game can be found on NBCSN or live streamed through NBC Live Extra.

Philadelphia lineup (highly subject to change)

Forwards

  1. no clue!

Defense

  1. no clue!

Goalies

  1. Michal Neuvirth
  2. Steve Mason

Scratches: somebody!

Injured: Michael Del Zotto, Scott Laughton, Michael Raffl

Suspended: Dale Weise

Buffalo lineup (via Buffalo News)

Forwards

  1. Matt Moulson - Ryan O’Reilly - Kyle Okposo
  2. Tyler Ennis - Sam Reinhart - Zemgus Girgensons
  3. Marcus Foligno - Johan Larsson - Brian Gionta
  4. Nicolas Deslauriers - Derek Grant - Hudson Fasching

Defense

  1. Josh Gorges - Rasmus Ristolainen
  2. Dmitry Kulikov - Zach Bogosian
  3. Jake McCabe - Cody Franson

Goalies

  1. Anders Nilsson
  2. Linus Ullmark


http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/10/25/13410562/flyers-vs-sabres-preview-lineups-tv-coverage-live-stream-and-discussion-thread


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