Final Observations: Carolina Hurricanes 2, Philadelphia Flyers 1
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images
- After a poor performance on Saturday night against the Canadiens, the Flyers looked even worse on Sunday against the Hurricanes. It all stems from Philadelphia’s struggles to cleanly exit their own zone. The longer it takes them to exit their own end, the easier it is for the opponent to wear the Flyers’ skaters down. As a result, when Philadelphia does get the puck into the offensive zone, they lose the individual puck battles necessary to sustain a forecheck. It’s a cycle that will not be broken unless the team improves in transition.
- Last season, Philadelphia did not have the personnel to execute Peter Laviolette’s preferred system. But this year, after the acquisitions of Mark Streit and Vincent Lecavalier? It becomes much more difficult to make that argument. At this point, the issues are system-based. The front office will need to decide soon if the Flyers have fixable issues in executing the Laviolette system, or if the system itself is broken.
- After two strong games to start the year, Vincent Lecavalier and the rest of his line struggled mightily tonight. Matt Read had a few strong shifts, but overall, Philadelphia’s second line spent the vast majority of the game in the Carolina end, futilely chasing down Hurricane forwards.
- Claude Giroux was yet again held off the scoresheet, but his line was the only line that was not absolutely dominated at even strength. Unlike the Flyers’ other lines, the first line includes two players (Giroux and Voracek) who can consistently gain entry into the offensive zone with possession, which insulates them a bit from the issues plaguing the rest of the team.
- Despite the 0-3 start to the season, the Flyers have yet to have a poor goaltending performance. Mason played a strong game in defeat, despite an early soft goal in the first period. The Philadelphia goalies have not been the problem.
Philadelphia Flyers Three Questions
1) Against Toronto, the Flyers looked like a solid yet snakebit team. Against the Canadiens, they looked like the same squad that missed the playoffs last season. Which Flyers team shows up tonight?
Somehow, Philadelphia looked even worse tonight than on Saturday. While it remains too early to panic just yet, the similarities between last year’s Flyers team and this year’s incarnation are certainly troubling, and need to be addressed.
2) After two relatively underwhelming games to start the season, can Claude Giroux show any signs of improvement?
The first line’s decent performance was one of the few bright spots in tonight’s game. Giroux definitely looked more comfortable after being reunited with Voracek, but he was still unable to generate any tangible offense for the Flyers. A step in the right direction, but still plenty of room for improvement.
3) With Jakub Voracek back on the first line, Brayden Schenn becomes the forward without a regular spot. Does he bump Read down to the third line, or settle in with Couturier and Talbot?
Schenn spent most of the game with Couturier and Zac Rinaldo, who was surprisingly bumped up to the third line. Predictably, he struggled along with his linemates. Schenn has long been a favorite of Peter Laviolette, consistently receiving top-six forward minutes even when struggling. If Laviolette were to be terminated as coach, it remains to be seen whether a new coach would be as forgiving of Schenn’s still-inconsistent play.
Advanced Stat Player of the Game: Scott Hartnell
According to the eye test, Hartnell’s solid possession statistics (+9 Corsi) would seem to be a product of the reunion of Giroux and Voracek. However, Hartnell surprisingly finished the game with better possession metrics than either of his more-celebrated linemates.