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Game 2 By the Numbers: Flyers at Hurricanes

The Flyers are a team that always gives the Hurricanes trouble and it usually doesn't matter how each team's season is going. Since their move to North Carolina, the Hurricanes have earned a point in only .367% of their games against the Flyers and have won 31 of 114 total meetings. So even though the Flyers have been slow coming out of the gate this year, most fans got the sense that this would be a tough game for Carolina when in actuality, this was the exact opposite as the Canes dominated Philly to get their first win of the young season.

Carolina may have won by only a goal, but they were the team in control for most of the game. They came out with a lot of jump, were constantly winning battles to loose pucks and were able to consistently pin the Flyers into their own end and pepper goaltender Steve Mason with a lot of shots. Carolina's forecheck looked better than it had in awhile, as the Flyers had a lot of trouble moving the puck out of their own end and this seemed to last for most of the game. The stats reflect this well as the Hurricanes had a decisive advantage in even strength shot attempts (49-36) and scoring chances (12-6).

We saw plenty of games similar to this last year, though where the Canes were able to dominate the opposition territorially but come away with nothing to show for it. The difference this time is that they were able to get two past Mason and that was all they needed to come away with the win. This will be a game that will make the coaching staff very happy, as the Canes played great in all three zones and had an answer for everything the Flyers threw their way. The numbers reflect this well and there aren't many negative points to discuss in regards to last night's performance.

Fenwick Chart from Extra Skater

The Hurricanes finished on the good side of the possession ledger after a rough outing against Detroit. They really took control of the game about mid-way through the first period and didn't let up even after they gained a lead. The only time where the Flyers had some jump was after the Luke Schenn goal but other than that, the Hurricanes contained them well. Perhaps the most encouraging thing about this graph is the third period, where the Canes basically shut down the Flyers and held them to only three shots on goal while playing with a lead. Hopefully the team defense is similar to that for most of the season.

Scoring Chances by Period

Period Total 5v5 PP 5v3 SH 3v5
1 8 2 8 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 6 4 4 2 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 2 2 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 16 8 12 6 4 2 0 0 0 0 0 0

Carolina swarmed the Flyers in the first period and Mason was the only reason why the game was close after that. This isn't the first time the Canes ran into a hot goalie and while it was frustrating, they were able to get one by him and kept their pace up for the rest of the game instead of losing steam. The Flyers had some jump in the second period and were able to tie the game, but that was really the only time they could produce any offense as the Canes shut them down the rest of the game. The scoring chances reflect the strong defensive play of the Canes, too. They didn't produce anything at even strength in the third period, but they didn't allow the Flyers to do much and made life easy for goaltender Anton Khudobin.

Hurricanes Individual Scoring Chances

# Player 5v5 PP SH
4 Andrej Sekera 20:26 4 2 0:10 0 0 1:41 0 0
7 Ryan Murphy 10:31 3 2 5:31 3 0 0:00 0 0
11 Jordan Staal 16:43 4 1 2:42 1 0 0:34 0 0
12 Eric Staal  11:03 1 1 4:11 3 0 0:55 0 0
14 Nathan Gerbe 14:58 3 1 2:58 1 0 0:52 0 0
16 Elias Lindholm 6:09 0 2 1:25 2 0 0:00 0 0
18 Radek Dvorak 13:50 6 2 0:43 0 0 0:17 0 0
19 Jiri Tlusty 11:36 2 1 4:11 3 0 0:00 0 0
20 Riley Nash 14:38 7 2 1:17 0 0 1:04 0 0
21 Drayson Bowman 7:48 0 2 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0
27 Justin Faulk 21:31 4 3 2:29 1 0 1:44 0 0
28 Alexander Semin 12:52 1 1 4:24 3 0 0:37 0 1
39 Patrick Dwyer 14:20 4 1 0:10 0 0 1:07 0 1
42 Brett Sutter 7:06 0 2 0:16 0 0 1:18 0 2
44 Jay Harrison 11:30 3 2 2:10 1 0 0:00 0 0
53 Jeff Skinner  16:18 8 2 3:01 1 0 0:00 0 0
65 Ron Hainsey 17:55 5 2 1:12 1 0 1:41 0 2
73 Brett Bellemore 16:39 5 1 0:00 0 0 1:38 0 2
31 Anton Khudobin  49:13 12 6 7:22 4 0 3:22 0 2

Best EV Forward: Jeff Skinner +6

Worst EV Forwards: Fourth line

Best EV Defenseman: Brett Bellemore +4

Worst EV Defensemen: Ryan Murphy & Jay Harrison +1

The first line laid another goose egg, but the play of the second and third lines really made up for it. Skinner, Nash & Dvorak were Carolina's best players and created most of the offense the Canes had at even strength. Skinner in particular had a very strong game in all three zones. He recorded two assists, one of which coming as the result of him forcing a turnover by Luke Schenn, but he could have had a lot more when you consider that he produced five of Carolina's chances. He was strong with the puck all night long and made a key play to melt the clock while the Flyers had the extra skater. I was a little iffy about using him on the "third line" but Kirk Muller is giving most of the protected minutes to this unit and Skinner is thriving with it. Radek Dvorak also played a very good game and scored his second goal of the season.

Jordan Staal's line also had a very strong game, especially when it came to two way play. They were given most of the tough draws (seven defensive zone starts) and did not allow the Flyers to do much of anything in Carolina's zone. A really underrated part of Jordan's game is his ability to constantly get the puck out of his own end and drive play in the right direction. This was on full display last night and him playing with fast linemates like Dwyer & Gerbe also helped. Last year, it was rare to see Carolina win a game where their first line was shut down but they were able to get it done last night and hopefully they can continue to have a more balanced attack all season.

Also contributing to the Canes strong defensive play were the shutdown pair of Andrej Sekera and Justin Faulk who, in addition to being on the ice for only two Philly scoring chances, also outshot the Flyers 19-11 when they were on the ice together. This is impressive when you look at how they were deployed. The second pair of Brett Bellemore & Ron Hainsey were also very good at limiting the Flyers offense as they crushed Vincent Lecavalier's line.

This is one of those games where almost everyone on the team had something positive going for them and hopefully there's more performances like this the rest of the way.

Flyers Individual Scoring Chances

# Player 5v5 PP SH
5 Braydon Coburn 16:51 3 4 0:00 0 0 4:04 0 2
8 Nick Grossmann 17:55 1 4 0:00 0 0 1:57 0 0
10 Brayden Schenn 15:59 2 5 1:16 1   0:00 0 0
14 Sean Couturier 13:24 3 5 0:00 0 0 2:32 0 2
17 Wayne Simmonds 14:08 0 5 2:06 1 0 0:00 0 0
18 Adam Hall 6:09 2 1 0:00 0 0 3:16 0 1
19 Scott Hartnell 14:18 2 1 2:06 1 0 0:00 0 0
22 Luke Schenn 16:24 3 4 0:00 0 0 3:06 0 2
24 Matt Read 14:25 0 6 1:03 1 0 2:14 0 0
25 Max Talbot 5:21 2 0 0:00 0 0 4:31 0 2
28 Claude Giroux 13:48 1 1 2:19 1 0 1:59 0 3
32 Mark Streit 19:21 3 7 1:32 1 0 0:09 0 0
36 Zac Rinaldo 14:02 3 4 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0
40 Vincent Lecavalier 15:14 0 6 1:16 1 0 0:03 0 0
41 Andrej Mezsaros 15:29 0 4 1:21 1 0 0:42 0 1
44 Kimmo Timonen 13:09 2 1 2:01 1 0 4:46 0 3
45 Kris Newbury 6:52 2 0 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0
93 Jakub Voracek  14:22 1 2 1:50 1   0:09 0 0
35 Steve Mason  47:49 6 12 3:22 2 0 7:22 0 4

Best EV Forwards: Max Talbot & Kris Newbury +2

Worst EV Forwards: Vincent Lecavalier & Matt Read -6

Best EV Defenseman: Kimmo Timonen +1

Worst EV Defensemen: Andrej Mezsaros & Mark Streit -4

The Hurricanes first line may have been held in check but the Flyers big guns weren't much better. Giroux was held to only one scoring chance and Lecavalier's line was destroyed at even strength. The Flyers only goal came from their fourth line and that was their only unit which had a positive chance differential. The Hurricanes also frequently exposed Mark Streit & the Flyers third pairing of Andrej Mezsaros & Nick Grossmann as all three of them had rough outings.

Head-to-Head at Five-on-Five

Muller went power on power and matched Eric Staal up against Giroux. That ended up being a draw but the second and third lines knocked their respective matchups out of the park. Both Jordan Staal & Riley Nash dominated Lecavalier and neither allowe Sean Couturier's line to do much either. Although, I thought that unit was the Flyers best forward group last night. Also of note is that Nah's line had a +4 scoring chance differential facing the Streit/Schenn defense pairing. This is where playing the matchup game at home can work in your favor, especially when you're using a player like Skinner on your third line.

5v5 Zone Entries

Hurricanes

Player # of entries Shots generated Carry-ins Shots generated Dump-ins Shots generated Failed Entries
Sekera 1 0 1 0 0 0 1
Murphy 1 1 0 0 1 1 0
J. Staal 7 4 5 3 2 1 1
E. Staal 1 1 0 0 1 1 0
Gerbe 2 2 1 2 1 0 0
Lindholm 2 1 1 1 1 0 0
Dvorak 3 5 0 0 3 5 0
Tlusty 5 3 2 2 3 1 0
Nash 3 4 1 0 2 4 1
Bowman 3 3 2 3 1 0 0
Faulk 2 2 1 1 1 1 1
Semin 1 1 0 0 1 1 1
Dwyer 5 5 2 0 3 5 0
Sutter 1 0 0 0 1 0 0
Harrison 2 1 0 0 2 1 0
Skinner 5 2 2 1 3 1 0
Hainsey 1 0 1 0 0 0 0
Bellemore 2 0 0 0 2 0 0
Team 47 35 19 13 28 22 5

The Hurricanes relied heavily on dump-and-chase play for this game and it worked in their favor. I get the sense that this is the style of hockey that Muller wants to play and it certainly works against a team with a slow defense like the Flyers. The Hurricanes constantly beat them to pucks, forced turnovers and outworked them along the boards which resulted in them creating a lot of offense off dump-ins. Again, this strategy can work against a team like the Flyers, who don't have much speed on their blue-line, but I would not bank on it sustaining for a long period of time.

Jordan Staal's line was really the only unit which produced most of their offense off controlled entries, as most of their chances come off the rush. Whereas Riley Nash's line relied more on dump-and-chase play to create offense.

Flyers

Player # of entries Shots generated Carry-ins Shots generated Dump-ins Shots generated Failed Entries
Coburn 1 1 0 0 1 1 0
Grossmann 1 1 1 1 0 0 0
B. Schenn 3 0 1 0 2 0 1
Couturier 4 3 2 3 2 0 0
Simmonds 5 2 3 2 2 0 0
Hall 4 1 0 0 4 1 0
Hartnell 3 2 1 1 2 1 1
L. Schenn 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Read 2 0 0 0 2 0 0
Talbot 2 0 0 0 2 0 0
Giroux 5 1 2 1 3 0 0
Streit 1 1 1 1 0 0 0
Rinaldo 4 3 3 3 1 0 1
Lecavalier 4 1 3 1 1 0 1
Mezsaros 1 0 0 0 1 0 0
Timonen 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Newbury 2 1 2 1 0 0 0
Voracek 7 2 6 2 1 0 1
Team 49 19 25 16 24 3 5

Despite winning the neutral zone battle (51% controlled entries), the Flyers offense was completely shut down. They created a decent number of shots off carry-ins but it wasn't anything the Hurricanes couldn't handle. Voracek and Giroux creating only three unblocked shot attempts off eight carry-ins illustrates that well. The Flyers also didn't do anything when they were forced to dump the puck in, creating only three unblocked shots on 24 uncontrolled entries. in essence, they were basically giving the Hurricanes the puck every time they couldn't gain the line with control.

5v5 Zone Exits

Hurricanes

# Player Pos. Touches Carry Pass Other Turnover Icing
4 Andrej Sekera D 28 0 6 0 2 1
7 Ryan Murphy D 11 0 3 0 0 0
11 Jordan Staal C 9 2 2 0 1 0
12 Eric Staal C 6 1 2 0 0 0
14 Nathan Gerbe LW 6 1 2 0 1 0
16 Elias Lindholm C 3 0 0 0 0 0
18 Radek Dvorak RW 5 0 0 0 0 0
19 Jiri Tlusty LW 4 0 0 1 1 0
20 Riley Nash C 7 0 1 0 2 0
21 Drayson Bowman RW 6 2 1 0 0 1
27 Justin Faulk D 24 2 4 1 2 0
28 Alexander Semin RW 6 1 0 0 0 0
39 Patrick Dwyer RW 4 0 1 0 0 0
42 Brett Sutter LW 3 0 1 0 0 0
44 Jay Harrison D 16 0 2 1 0 1
53 Jeff Skinner LW 2 0 1 0 0 0
65 Ron Hainsey D 24 0 3 1 0 0
73 Brett Bellemore D 15 0 2 1 2 1

The Canes defense had a much easier time exiting the zone against Philadelphia than they did against Detroit. Sekera and Faulk were pretty efficient at getting the puck out of their zone and not making ugly mistakes. Murphy was also solid in this area and Harrison was much better than he was on Friday night. The pairing of Bellemore/Hainsey is a little concerning, but they had a good game in every other aspect and Hainsey didn't commit any turnovers despite having only four advances on 24 touches. These two aren't exactly the most mobile duo in the world, so breakouts aren't going to be their strong point, but they should be fine as long as they don't make too many mistakes in their own end.

Flyers

# Player Pos. Touches Carry Pass Other Turnover Icing
5 Braydon Coburn D 23 0 7 1 1 1
8 Nick Grossmann D 14 0 2 1 1 0
10 Brayden Schenn C 4 0 0 0 1 0
14 Sean Couturier C 8 2 3 1 0 0
17 Wayne Simmonds RW 9 2 1 0 1 0
18 Adam Hall RW 2 0 0 0 0 0
19 Scott Hartnell LW 10 1 2 0 3 0
22 Luke Schenn D 23 0 3 0 3 0
24 Matt Read RW 12 0 3 0 0 0
25 Max Talbot C 2 1 0 0 0 0
28 Claude Giroux C 8 1 1 0 0 0
32 Mark Streit D 18 1 3 0 1 0
36 Zac Rinaldo C 5 0 1 0 2 1
40 Vincent Lecavalier C 3 0 1 0 1 0
41 Andrej Meszaros D 18 0 3 0 2 0
44 Kimmo Timonen D 25 0 1 0 2 0
45 Kris Newbury C 4 0 1 0 0 0
93 Jakub Voracek RW 7 1 4 0 0 0

Aside from Braydon Coburn, the Flyers defense had a really tough game in terms of getting the puck out of their own end. The Hurricanes forecheck forced them into making some bad plays (hi Luke Schenn) or rely on thier forwards to get the puck out instead. Kimmo Timonen in particular had an uncharacteristically bad game for his standards, advancing the puck only one time on 25 attempts. He had a good game otherwise, but he struggled when trying to advance the play on his own.

 

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