For the first time since 2011, the Flyers have won ten of their first seventeen games. They have won four straight games and are doing so in the least Flyer way possible. The Flyers are winning shootouts, having won three of five total attempts. Why is this? What is going on that is allowing the Flyers fans to continue to watch instead of turning off the T.V. at the end of the overtime period?
It Starts with the Goaltending
Let’s face it, the Flyers have two very good goaltenders. After a little rocky start, Carter Hart has been phenomenal between the pipes. He has kept the Flyers in games by being square to the puck and forcing the shooters to make the first move. This was evident by his ability to stop the NHL leading scorer, David Pastrnak, twice. The first was a questionable penalty shot, the second was in the shootout. Hart is the real deal.
In his three shootout attempts, Hart has been spectacular. In his three shootout performances, he has given up just two goals. Those two goals came in his only shootout loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Last season, Hart was in just one shootout, where he didn’t give up a goal. It is safe to say he is a major reason why the Flyers are winning shootouts.
Elliot Has Been Just as Good
Imagine having played 65 minutes of hockey to only have to go 11 shootout rounds. Well, that is what Moose did against the Maple Leafs last Sunday. He was spectacular, stopping nine of eleven attempts in his lone shootout loss of the season. He backed that performance up by taking on the Leafs again, in another shootout, this time shutting out the Leaf attackers.
Elliot has been on the receiving end of a lot of anger from fans this year. Due to injury, his performance left a lot to be desired last season; however this season there is something different. Moose appears to be healthy and even said his back is feeling good. His play has been an indication that he is right. He is playing really well and is a very good back up and even a mentor to the younger Hart.
Skaters in the Shootout
There has been a shift in this aspect of the shootouts that may have contributed to the Flyers’ success. Gone are the days of the same three skaters. In fact, 11 skaters have attempted the shootout. Ironically that is because of the Toronto game mentioned above, however, Vigneault seems to be one who goes with the players who are playing well. Only Giroux has an attempt at every shootout this year.
Couturier leads the way have scored in two of his three attempts. His success rate of 66.6 % leads the team. Both of Coot’s shootout goals won the game and both had some amazing dangles.
Travis Konecny and Joel Farabee are next in terms of success rate. Both are one for two in their shootout attempts and Claude Giroux is two for five in his shootout attempts. When asked why he thought the Flyers are having success this year as opposed to years past, Konecny told Philly Sports Network, “I don’ know, I really couldn’t tell you. We’re just, guys are just trying different things, there are some new guys shooting too. Farbs [Joel Farabee] shot a couple of times for us. Just makes different looks I think for the goalies and they don’t know what to expect.”
Regardless as to whether it is the play of the goalies, forwards or combined, Let’s hope they can continue to get points, preferably in a regulation win. Wednesday they host the Metropolitan Division-leading Capitals. With how well they are playing, two points against the Caps is not out of the question.