With the Philadelphia Hockey Flyers’ first two games of the 2017–2018 NHL season in the books, it’s time to look back at each of the games for some “rapid” reactions (rapid enough, okay?).
While the Flyers have a vicious history of letting me down and frustrating the general public, things actually look… good??? Moving forward, my reactions for each game will be slightly longer, as I will have them planned. This was completely spontaneous so enjoy!
10/4: 5–3 Win vs. SJS
- Holy Quality Minutes, Fourth Line!
This is a testament to the new-look Laughton and pleasantly surprising Leier. Raffl played only 7 minutes of the contest while the kids played 13:20 and 12:30 respectively thanks to some hefty PK minutes. Say what you want but it looks like Raffl was shaking off some rust while the kids built on chemistry that started in camp.
- New and Improved Couts? We’ll See..
Sean Couturier looked like a man on a mission in San Jose. While I’m not high on him in this 1C role, he led the team in +/-, SOG and hits(!) ALL WHILE NOT leading the forwards in PK time (see Leier-Laughton). You’ve got to love seeing Couts fighting for what he believes he deserves.
- Good Morning. Nolan Patrick is Still a Flyer.
Nolan Patrick is smart enough, big enough and good enough to play NHL hockey right now. A great team game and some really exciting opportunities made the second line look a little better than their stats might suggest but Patrick is real and his left wing is Weal. This has been our rhyming segment.
- Fire Andrew MacDonald into the Sun
The only defensive pairing I liked on Wednesday was Ghost-Hagg for obvious reasons (Andy Mac and Mandawg can take a hike) but I liked Ghost and Hagg a freakin lot. 3 apples for Ghost while Hagg looked like he’s dialed in on staying with the big boy club. For those of you interested in the #FancyStats, Hagg led all Flyers defensemen with a 51.61% CF with Ghost right behind him at an even 50% (5v5 Even Strength).
- Hurray, Power Play Goals!
I’ll try to keep a level head when I say that the Flyers PP looked better than last year (3/5 is reason to dance in the streets) but I’ll hold my thoughts until 8–10 games in due to a history of a streaky power play. With that being said, it’s nice to get a hot start and build some confidence. Ghost looks like the Ghost of old ripping anything and everything he can get his stick on towards the net and the puck movement looked crisp.
- Stay Calm.
- Deceptively Shaky Goaltending
In my opinion (obviously, they’re all my opinions), Elliot looked decent-to-below average with my main complaints being that I felt like he was out of position a lot and scrambling to recover. We’ll see if this continues but Elliot still ended up with respectable stats (32 saves on 35 shots for a .914 SV%) and a win.
10/5: 2–0 Loss vs. LAK
There are very very few times in recent memory when I’ve come out of a game where the Flyers got shutout thinking anything other than “Same old stale dogshit Flyers” and while I’m not happy that it’s 1 am and they didn’t score a goal, I enjoyed a lot of what the Flyers brought tonight. What I loved most was the fact that the Flyers didn’t look too tired & sluggish playing in another team’s first game/home opener after playing last night in San Jose. I love the speed on this team.
- Give the Man His Award
I’m hearing rumors that Michael Neuvirth is already being given the Save of the Year for his left handed larceny of Kopitar (what kind of dumb name is Anze?). It was nothing short of a beautiful game by Neuvy, who had virtually no chance to stop either goal. Health and opportunity are keys for him and starts like this will sure as hell get him the opportunity.
- You’re Gonna Have to be Quicker Than That
I’ve always loved me some Jon Quick when it’s not against the Flyers, but alas… 35 shots including 17 in the third period were not good enough but are something to at least feel slightly encouraged by. The flyers are shooting, and shooting in dangerous places. They’ll start to convert. As we all know, we are coming off a back to back and the Kings are playing their first game of the season — at home. With that being said, the Flyers still outshot the Kings 35–27 and out-attempted them 63–56 (all situations).
- Hurray Penalty Kill! Boo Power Play!
Special teams gave me mixed emotions but most of them were… good? 5/5 on the penalty kill with Leier and Laughton once again clocking more PK minutes than any forward not named Wayne Simmonds. PK gon’ be güd — nuff said. 0/5 on the PP can be looked at a few ways but I’ll take the optimistic stance for once in my life. Sustained pressure, chances, and shots were down from the night before against San Jose with LA coming out much more aggressive on Flyers puck handlers. The Flyers were forced to adjust and you could tell they were caught off guard and working to mix up their looks. More passes through the middle of the ice and in front of the net as opposed to their usual timid umbrella was a breath of fresh air and I think with rest and practice, the results will come. SHOOT THE PUCK.
- Welcome to the League, Travis Sanheim
I’m really sorry you had to learn the hard way. Sanheim was caught sleeping on the first goal of the game and took a careless 4 minute minor penalty at the end of the second period for a high stick in his rookie debut. With that being said, after serving his penalty, Sanheim did not seem discouraged and more was actually visibly more confident with a few pinches in the offensive zone and better work on defense. No one was more critical of their performance after the game than Yung Travis, who said he was hesitant early and needs to just play his game. I’ll actually lose my shit if he loses his spot for this. Rookies need to make mistakes to learn and grow. (Shoutout @rookiemistakeco)
- Revisiting the Toothless Wonder and a Little Rearranging
As I said after game one, I respect the work Couts is putting in but I don’t want him on the first line and (sort of off-topic) I don’t want Weise in the lineup. The third line lacks identity despite Konecny’s best efforts and some good plays early in the game. Get Couts down there and get a scorer on the top line please and thank you. Attack me if you’d like. We embrace debate.
- Fire Andrew MacDonald into the Sun
Okay let me talk a calm breath and say… Andrew MacDonald played *gulp* fine. Which, on the Mac Meter, would be like All Star play for a competent defenseman. UNTIL HIS SHIT ASS PLAY ON THE SECOND GOAL. Dirtbag.
- The Law Firm!
The fourth line is still the real deal, folks. Hak referred to the kids as “Laughts and Leiersy” which 1) sounds like a cheap law firm and 2) Leiersy might be the most horrendous nickname I’ve ever heard. Anyway, Laughton led the team in shots despite <10 minutes of 5 on 5 time but also went a miserable 7 for 18 in the faceoff circle with a good amount of those on the PK. #FancyStats time!! For the second game in a row, the Law Firm (I’m gonna roll with this ’til someone tells me to stop) posted the best CF% on the team with Raffl leading the way (77.78%) followed by Leier and Laughton (73.68% and 66.67%)
Over 9 minutes of special teams play for Provy: wow. Nolan Patrick was 2 for 8 on faceoffs: meh. Giroux led the Flyers in even strength minutes: cool. Every flyer got a SOG: nice. Weise only got 14 shifts: lol. Jordan Weal had a team-worst Corsi-for of 19.05%: yikes.
Bring on the Ducks.