In a new series by Philly Sports Network, we will be looking at how each guy on the Flyers’ roster fairs against the round robin and qualifying teams. Each player will be evaluated based on their points per game, as well as other factors such as average time on ice and special teams production. We will be doing this by the order of the standings. Next up, we take a look at the top performers for the Flyers against the dreaded Pittsburgh Penguins.
Number 5 – Shayne Gostisbehere
Believe it or not, Shayne Gostisbehere used to be relied upon to provide offense from the blueline. When he was on, he was a force from the point. In 17 career games against the Penguins, he has three goals and 12 assists, with two of his goals coming while quarterbacking the powerplay. While those days are long gone with the emergence of “Powerplay Provorov,” it doesn’t negate how good he can be when up a man.
What prevents Ghost from being higher up on this list in his minus-nine marker in the plus/minus category. No, plus/minus isn’t a make-or-break type of stat, but that’s another argument for another time. What is impressive is Ghost averaging just over 21 minutes per night in those 17 career games against Pittsburgh. While Ghost may never return to this type of form, it’s fun to look back at how impressive he was in that short amount of time.
Number 4 – Carter Hart
Speaking of smaller sample sizes, Carter Hart’s may be small, but impressive nonetheless. Hart has appeared in three games against Pittsburgh, and owns a 1-1-0 record. He’s stopped 73 of 78 shots faced, representing a .936 save percentage. His goals against average sits at 2.15 against the Penguins all time.
While this year has been rough against Pittsburgh, Hart can lean on his performances last year. Hart doesn’t have any starts against Pittsburgh this season, but has stopped eight of nine shots faced. His save percentage this season is sub-.900 against the Pens, but that’s an easy monkey to get off his shoulder should he find himself starting against Pittsburgh in the playoffs.
Number 3 – James van Riemsdyk
Recent frustrations shouldn’t deter you from the fact that JvR has found a decent level of success against the Penguins. van Riemsdyk has played 32 career games against the Pens, netting 12 goals and adding 11 assists for 23 points. Of those 12 goals, three have come on the man advantage, where JvR thrives.
His plus-five mark against Pittsburgh is impressive, considering he’s typically a minus player. He’s averaged 16:13 on ice throughout his career against the Penguins as well. With one goal in three games against the Pens this season, JvR is still racking up the tallies. It would be nice to see more of them considering the price tag.
Number 2 – Jakub Voracek
Voracek is no stranger to playing the Penguins. In his 12 years playing in the NHL, Voracek has taken the ice 43 times against the Penguins. In those 43 games, Voracek has amassed 20 goals and 23 assists, making him a point-per-game player versus Pittsburgh. Even better, eight of those 20 goals against the Pens have come on the powerplay. He’s averaging 17:51 per night, but is a minus-one all time against Pittsburgh as well.
This season, Voracek has two goals against the Penguins in three games, one coming on the man advantage. Being a key cog in the Flyer machine, Voracek figures to almost always find his way to the score sheet when the Penguins come to town.
Number 1 – Claude Giroux
Here we are again, singing the praises of Captain Claude. Across the board, Giroux is a great player. Against the Penguins, Giroux is even better. 51 games, 51 points, and sure to be more by the end of his illustrious career. Giroux has 16 goals and 35 assists against the Pens, with six of them coming on the powerplay, and two shorthanded goals as well. He’s averaging 20:21 on ice against Pittsburgh over his career, and is a plus-three as well.
This season has been a bit underwhelming for G against the Penguins. He’s only registered one assist in his three games versus the Penguins thus far. Giroux got off to a bit of a slow start, but started to hit his stride as the season rolled on. If the playoffs resume like many of us hope, and the Flyers end up with a matchup against Pittsburgh, Giroux figures to be an integral part of the Flyers in that series.
Check out our previous pieces to the Flying High Series as well…
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