What did we learn in Flyers 3-2 win over Anaheim?

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Starting Lineup

Giroux – Couturier – Voracek                                                                                                          Provorov  MacDonald

Weal – Filppula – Simmonds                                                                                                             Hagg – Gostisbehere

Weise – Patrick – Konecny                                                                                                                       Sanheim – Gudas

Leier – Laughton – Raffl                                                                                                                                            Elliott

FIRST PERIOD

  • Just a little over a minute into the game, Konecny set up Patrick with a great feed to the front of the net, Patrick missed. However, Gibson did make a great save on that one.
  • Just over four minutes in and the top line was looking just flat out lethargic. Jetlag is no excuse because they’ve been on the west coast for almost a week now.
  • Laughton and Sanheim had two quality chances and great shots on net, neither converted however.
  • A little over 7 minutes in and Giroux fires two shots at Gibson, who absolutely STONES him. Gibson played out of his mind during that penalty kill.
  • Scoring opens up right at the end of the Vermette penalty when Ivan Provorov gets a great feed from Nolan Patrick behind the net and finishes with a one timer. 1-0 Flyers.
  • 12:13 into the period and the Ducks answer, this time Antoine Vermette puts one past Elliott and evens things out.
  • Almost 17 minutes into the period, Kevin Bieksa rides Radko Gudas into the boards. Gudas gets up and is met with a punch to the face from Bieksa. Jared Boll goes after rookie Nolan Patrick in the scrum behind the Flyers net. Gudas and Bieksa each get 2 minutes for roughing.
  • Cogliano gets two minutes shortly after the off setting minors by Gudas and Bieksa, the Flyers PP looks great the way they are moving the puck. They are getting quality shots on net, just not putting it past Gibson.

Period Observations

  • The Flyers started slow with not a ton of urgency being shown. Half way through the period they started picking it up and it showed with the goal scored by Provorov. However, it got a little worse later on until the powerplay at the end of the period.
  • Nolan Patrick isn’t flashy, he won’t score a ton of goals, but the kid has a mind for this game. He is making decisions smarter than most kids his age make. He is a fundamentally sound hockey player and wise beyond his years. The scoring will come, and when it does, expect it to come in waves.
  • Travis Sanheim looked good at the beginning of the period, taking the body on a Duck’s player against the boards and getting him off the puck. However, he jumped in to break up a play during the 4 on 4 play and when he did, he knocked the puck back to an Anaheim player who fed Vermette at the side of the net which led to a goal. Travis needs to be more aware of his assignment. He needs to know where the other team is when in his own zone. He can’t continue to make those mistakes.

Shots on Goal After 1st Period

Philadelphia – 15 Anaheim – 13

Score after 1st Period

Philadelphia – 1 Anaheim – 1

SECOND PERIOD

  • About 4 and a half minutes in and the Flyers go back on the Powerplay, but their top unit looked bad, second unit looked bad. They need to get something going here, and fast.
  • Flippula has showed us that his passing is elite, but his stickwork has been on display tonight and it looks good.
  • Halfway through the second, the physicality started picking up.
  • Corey Perry took a shot to the knee and headed back to the dressing room, but was out a shift later and seems to be fine.
  • Anaheim didn’t have a single shot register on goal that period until about 14 minutes in.
  • Voracek set Coots up in front of the net for the Flyers second goal of the game. Voracek got a great feed from Giroux to set it all up. Nice stretch pass.
  • Sanheim showed some balls breaking up the play at around 16 minutes in and then joined in on the rush and ended up taking out Gibson while driving on the net.
  • Weird play, Gudas hipchecks Rasmussen who goes down, but while going down, still manages a slapshot on net. Kudos right there for the determination.

Period Observations

  • The powerplay still is pretty underwhelming. First unit is still sluggish and being outperformed by the second unit, but that’s not something to hang your cap on.
  • Couturier is looking more and more comfortable in his role on the top line. The stat sheet may not show it, but he is playing great alongside of Voracek and Giroux.
  • Sanheim seems to be warming up as the game goes along. The first period was rough and he made a mistake that led to the Ducks scoring, but this period he seemed to clean it up a little and get down to the fundamentals. This is encouraging, but at some point, he needs to start games the way he ends them.
  • I can’t stress this enough, we need someone to sweep the porch clean in front of Elliott. This is in no way shape or form an indictment of Elliott’s skill, it’s just that if we have someone there to clear the crease for Elliott, that’s basically saying to the other team, “you aren’t getting away with anything tonight in front of this net.” If only we had a spare 6 foot 7 defenseman just hanging around in the press box or something…

Shots on goal after 2ndperiod

Philadelphia – 21 Anaheim – 19

Score after the 2nd period

Philadelphia – 2 Anaheim – 1

THIRD PERIOD

  • Flyers went on the PP almost 4 minutes in, but gave up a short handed goal to Cam Fowler, which tied the game.
  • A sloppy pass by Voracek to Giroux and a bit of a mishandle by Giroux led to Fowler getting possession of the puck and burying it with a heavy slapshot.
  • Despite the shorthanded goal, the powerplay unit looked great and applied a lot of pressure.
  • About 8 minutes in, Hagg was covering Perry behind the net and really went after him and didn’t let up. It’s incredibly encouraging seeing a rookie go after a player like Corey Perry like that.
  • The more hockey that is played, the more comfortable the first line gets playing alongside one another. Things start flowing and coming easier to them and scoring chances essentially create themselves.
  • About 6 minutes left in the game and the Flyers are doing an incredible job of applying some pressure and keeping control of the puck. Something that would have been nice to have happened in the second period.

Period Observations

  • Taylor Leier is playing like he’s about to get sent down to the Phantoms. I don’t think he is in any danger of that happening, but to get that kind of fire from a fourth liner is great, and he should keep that up because us Flyers fans love that stuff!
  • This is an overall observation not specific to just the third period, but too many defensemen want to join the rush. What’s wrong with a defenseman that just wants to make sure that he is doing his job? Making sure that he prevents the other team from scoring instead of wanting to score himself. Guys like Sam Morin, who I would love to see suit up. Yea, I’m a little ticked. Whatever.
  • Sanheim can shoot. Period. Dude has an absolute canon.
  • I absolutely hate that damn goal horn in Anaheim. It’s the deepest sounding horn I have ever heard. Imagine a tugboat in the fog trying to tell you, “Hey, I’m coming through with a broken down charter boat.” That’s what the horn sounds like. Change your horn, and give us back Bro Hymn, Anaheim.

Shots on Goal after 3rd period

Philadelphia – 36 Anaheim – 23

Score after Regulation

Philadelphia – 2 Anaheim – 2

OVERTIME

Well guys, it didn’t even take a minute for Coots to play a puck along the boards to himself, drop it off to Simmonds, and Simmonds rocketed one past Gibson for the win in overtime.

Overall, What Did We Learn?

  • The Flyers are a gritty team. It might take them a bit to get warmed up, but they can grit it out against some good teams. They took 4 out of a total 6 points on this west coast road trip. That’s not a bad feat. Chemistry will get better, players will grow, and this team will get better.
  • Travis Sanheim has a lot to learn playing against actual NHL competition, but he is learning fast. It’s trial by fire folks. Throw the kid in the flames and if he comes out unscathed, he’s a keeper. So far, it could be a lot worse. He hasn’t necessarily thrived, but he definitely hasn’t flopped either. Give it a little more time and you all will be praising him.
  • The Flyers need a net front presence in the form of Samuel Morin. Maybe this is just my bias towards him to no apparent reason, but good lord, when was the last time that the Flyers had the luxury of a mammoth defenseman that could sweep the porch clean in front of the goalie? That’s right, Chris Pronger was the last. There are ups and downs to this, that will be discussed at a further date, but I think it’s time to see what Morin can do against legit NHL competition.
  • The powerplay isn’t perfect, but it’s early. It will work. This whole advanced analytics thing isn’t a flop, it will pay dividends. Have some faith.

Overall, a great game between two pretty solid teams, regardless of the fact that Anaheim was missing half their stud players. Looking forward to seeing what Philadelphia can do in Nashville Tuesday night, and more importantly, cannot wait to see the Flyers come back home for their home opener next Saturday night! Great night, pretty good hockey folks. Flyers got the 2 points, and I’m going to get some sleep because this west coast trip has me reeling.

 

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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