This week saw the NHL trade deadline come and go, the Flyers maintain a high level of play, and plenty of offense. Two acquisitions, three wins, and a bunch of points later, the Flyers are in second in the Metropolitan Division. The Flyers trail only the Washington Capitals by three points, with a showdown in D.C. slated for Wednesday night. To put it simply, it was a good week for the Flyers.
The NHL trade deadline saw a flurry of moves from start to finish. Big names were moved and the Flyers stood pat, until mid-way through the day. The Flyers reached a deal to acquire Nathan Thompson from the Montreal Canadiens. Thompson adds some veteran depth to the bottom six. The price? A fifth round pick.
Not long after the Thompson deal, Chuck Fletcher struck again. This time, he sent a fourth round pick and Lehigh Valley Phantoms forward Kyle Criscuolo to Anaheim for Derek Grant. Two mid-late round picks and an AHL forward for two NHL-caliber bottom-six talents. Let’s call that a win.
Both Grant and Thompson suited up for the three games this past week. Thompson arguably had the better first game as a Flyer, but Grant had the better week. After netting a beauty of a goal against the New York Rangers on Sunday, and adding an assist, Grant has his first, and second, points as a Flyer, his 21st and 22nd points of the year. Thompson has yet to find the score sheet, but has provided a boost to the penalty kill.
Top Performers of the Week
Some honorable mentions before we get to the three top performers of the week. Nicolas Aube-Kubel had a point in every game last week (1g, 2a), giving him a three game point streak. Claude Giroux registered goals 18 and 19 against the Rangers Friday night. Scott Laughton had four assists in the first two games of the week. Sean Couturier had two goals and one assist, one of those goals coming against the Rangers on Sunday, even though he had the flu.
3. Kevin Hayes
Kevin “Hollywood” Hayes had himself a week. He notched goals 20, 21, & 22 in the first two games of the week. He also added an assist, giving him four points on the week, one of them coming against his former team, the New York Rangers. This is the second time in his career that he’s surpassed the 20-goal mark, and the first time since the 2017/18 season, when he was a Ranger.
2. Jakub Voracek
Voracek didn’t put any past the goalies this week, but he helped on six of the goals that did sneak past opposing goaltenders. After being kept off the scoresheet against San Jose, Voracek pitched in four assists Friday against the Rangers, and added two more Sunday afternoon. Voracek started the week with 33 assists, and now sits at 38. His 38th assist was his 50th point on the season, his seventh straight year reaching that milestone, and eighth overall in his career.
1. Travis Konecny
The leading scorer for the Flyers with 58 points on the year, Konecny registered two goals and four assists this past week. He’s already surpassed his career-high in assists and points, and is only 2 goals shy of tying his career-high in goals (24). Konecny posted a three-point night against San Jose (1g, 2a), added an assist on Friday against New York, and tallied a goal and an assist Sunday afternoon against the Rangers once again.
Pretty Special Teams
Entering the week, the Flyers’ penalty kill was killing off penalties at a clip of 81.72%. After the first two games of the week against San Jose and New York, where they were a perfect five-for-five on the penalty kill, the Flyers PK% was at 82.2%.
Then Sunday happened.
The Rangers have a dangerous man-advantage, and it was on full display Sunday afternoon. New York converted on three of their six opportunities, bringing the Flyers’ penalty kill on the week to eight-for-eleven, and dropping their PK% down to 81.22%, a half percentage point less than when they entered the week.
The Flyers’ powerplay unit was lights out last week. They entered the week converting on 20.2% of their chances. After converting on five of ten chances, mostly in part to their three-for-five performance Sunday, the Flyers are now converting 21.6% of their man-advantages.
The best part? Every powerplay goal was scored by someone different. Their one powerplay goal against the Sharks was scored by Nic Aube-Kubel. Claude Giroux had the lone powerplay goal against the Rangers Friday night. The three powerplay goals Sunday afternoon came from Matt Niskanen, Sean Couturier, and Travis Konecny. Contributions are coming from nearly every line, and every player. That’s an encouraging sign as the season is winding down.
Carter Hart, That’s It
Carter Hart could have been considered one of the top performers of the week, but he deserves his own section in this piece. Hart got all three starts this past week, going 3-0-0. He stopped 75 of 82 shots on net, good for a .915 save percentage. He allowed seven total goals, which is good for a 2.33 goals against average on the week.
So why are these numbers deserving of an entire section of this article?
It’s because of his struggles away from home. Hart has had a pretty rough go of things away from the Wells Fargo Center. Entering the week, Hart was 3-10-1 on the road with a .855 save percentage and 3.88 goals against average. Call it what you will, that’s not going to cut it.
He only got one start on the road this week, but he made it count. Hart won just his fourth away game of the year, and stood tall during a two-minute flurry of offense from the Rangers in the closing minutes. While his numbers in that game aren’t spectacular by any means, he did the most important thing he could have done. He won the game.
What’s on Tap?
The Flyers have a couple of days off between now and their next game. Wednesday night is a Metropolitan Division showdown with the first-place Washington Capitals. The Flyers can pull within one point of the division lead with a win against the Caps Wednesday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 P.M. EST.
The very next night, the Flyers return home to face another divisional foe. The 35-24-5 Carolina Hurricanes come to town, currently three points back in the hunt for a wildcard spot. Another important game for the Flyers, as two points are at stake in a very tight Metro race. Game starts at 7:00 P.M. EST.
The Flyers finish off their week Saturday night as they welcome the Buffalo Sabres to the Wells Fargo Center. Buffalo is virtually out of playoff contention, but still a dangerous team with not much to lose at this point in the season. Another 7:00 P.M. EST start time for this game as well.
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