A couple weeks ago, I listed what the Flyers were doing right, to which they are still succeeded in that area:
- Home Play- The Flyers are still a solid 6-3-2.
- PowerPlay- Philadelphia is 7th in the NHL at 22.9%
- The Play of Mark Streit and Michael Del Zotto- Streit has picked up three points and a plus three during the last six games while Del Zotto has one goal and is even for five of those games (was injured for one).
- The Play of Jake Voracek- Voracek has recorded seven points and a plus four during this span.
- Ray Emery's Solid Goaltending- This one is hard to judge as Emery has only played once since, a 6-3 loss to Montreal
So this begs the question, what is going wrong?
- Secondary Scoring- The Flyers first line has been explosive all season seeing Jake Voracek and Claude Giroux scoop up 53 combined points in 20 games. Michael Raffl was the third piece of that line scoring six goals in 12 games before getting injured. Brayden Schenn replaced Raffl and has seven goals and 15 points in 20 games. However, this is the only productive line for Philadelphia. Wayne Simmonds, last season's leading goal scorer, has been productive on the PowerPlay, but his even strength play has been non existent. Simmonds, who has been moved up and down the lineup in hopes to spark him, has just three even strength goals this season and only one in his last 17 games. Sean Couturier and Matt Read have combined for just 16 points in 20 games (eight each) for the second line while Vinny Lecavalier and RJ Umberger have just 9 together (six for Lecavalier, who has only played 13 games and three for Umberger in 20) for the third line. Philadelphia needs to get scoring from other lines very soon if they want to be in the playoff hunt later in the season.
- Road Woes- The Flyers have won just two road games all season. They are an Eastern Conference worst, 2-6-1. Philadelphia is winless on the road in all of November so far and have lost five straight dating back to October 30th. Wins against Dallas and Pittsburgh, on October 18th and 22nd respectively, are the Flyers only away wins. In the nine road games played so far, Philadelphia has only scored 19 goals, averaging 2.1 goals per game. To put this into perspective, the Flyers have picked up 38 goals in 11 games at home, averaging 3.5 goals per game. The Orange and Black must turn this tide around soon as they are about to play the next 14 of 19 games on the road.
- Penalty Killer- In the first 14 games, the Flyers were 36 for 45 on the penalty kill, 80%. This is not a great number, but it is acceptable as it would fall in the middle of the ranks in the NHL. At that point, they had a 7-5-2 record. In the six games since, Philadelphia is a terrible 59% allowing nine PowerPlay goals on 22 attempts, falling to a league worst 73.1% on the season. They are 1-4-1 during that stretch. The Flyers have a good set of penalty killers and a great special teams coach, Ian Laperriere, who was a great penalty killer himself and knows the game very well. So they will turn it around, it is just a matter of how long it takes and how big of a hole it will have left them in.
Drop The Puck:
The Flyers will need to correct these problems if they are going to be successful when they go on the road to face the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday before a home and home against the New York Rangers on Friday and Saturday.