In the start of a weekly column, we are going to catch up on everything Flyers. From scoring streaks, call-ups, and bad performances, to special teams, coaching, and recent play.
Top Performers of the Week
So far this week, the Flyers have played two games, both coming against Metropolitan Division rivals, the Columbus Blue Jackets. Both Carter Hart and Brian Elliott got a start apiece, with Hart having the better of the two games. Hart stopped 28 of 29 shots, posting a .966 save percentage. He improved his home record to 15-2-2, while bolstering his home save percentage (.943) and home goals against average (1.62) in the process.
Travis Konecny is in the midst of one of his greatest weeks as a Flyer. He has two goals and four assists in two games. In the last 10 games, he has 11 points (4g, 7a). He surpassed his previous career-best of 49 points in the first tilt against Columbus, and is three goals short (21) of his career high (24) in that statistical column.
Phil Myers found himself in the goal column for the first time since November 10th against Boston (35 games). He’s now sitting at 16 points in 43 games. Travis Sanheim had two assists against the Blue Jackets this week, bringing his season total in points to 21 (8g, 13a). Kevin Hayes snapped a six-game goalless drought in the first game against Columbus this week, adding another Thursday night. His goal Thursday was his fifth game winning goal of the year. His five game winning goals is good for the team lead.
Sean Couturier posted a goal and an assist in the two games so far this week. He’s gone five straight games with one point, and has 11 points (5g, 6a) in his last ten.
Most impressive, Claude Giroux has been on a tear as of late. He tallied three points (1g, 2a) in the two games this week, and is riding a seven game point streak. In those seven games, Giroux has four goals and eight assists. Those 12 points in seven games account for just over 25% of his season point total.
Special Teams Looking Special
Powerplay chances for the Flyers this week were few and far between. They only found themselves on the man advantage twice so far, but have made those chances count. They converted on both powerplays. In their last five games, the Flyers have converted five of 12 chances on the powerplay, good for 41.67%.
The penalty kill has looked equally impressive. While only killing five of six this week (83.33%), they’ve been stellar over their last five games. Out of the 13 penalties the Flyers were tasked with killing, they killed off 12 of them, good for 92.31%. Whatever Mike Yeo and Michel Therrien are doing, it’s working at the perfect time.
Reading is Rolling
The Flyers ECHL affiliate, the Reading Royals, have been playing some fantastic hockey as of late. They’re 9-1-0 in their last 10 games, and are currently in the midst of a season-high eight game win streak.
During those 10 games, their penalty kill has been solid as well. They’ve killed 15 of 17 chances, good for 88.24%. Their powerplay has underperformed compared to their season average, converting on four of 22 chances, which is good for 18.18%
Ustimenko’s Time to Shine
The Flyers made a move this week, sending Phantoms goaltender Jean-Francois Berube to the New York Rangers for future considerations. That opened up a spot in Lehigh Valley for rookie netminder Kirill Ustimenko.
Ustimenko has been nothing short of spectacular for the Royals this year. In 31 appearances, the Russian rookie is 19-4-5 with a .919 save percentage and 2.40 goals against average. In his last five games for the Royals, he’s been outstanding. He’s gone 4-0-1 in those five games, and posted a .964 save percentage and an abysmal 1.18 goals against average.
The Flyers continue their quest for a playoff spot. As of Friday night, they are sitting in third place in the Metropolitan Division, five points behind the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins, and one point ahead of the New York Islanders. They close out February with games against the Winnipeg Jets, San Jose Sharks, and New York Rangers, all winnable games.
March proves tough, with games against the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, and Pittsburgh Penguins, just to name a few. They also take on the Edmonton Oilers and St. Louis Blues in March as well. If the Flyers want to make the playoffs, they’re going to have to win a majority of those games.
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