Can the Flyers Power Play Finish Top 10?
By Brandon Murphy (@2murphy8)
In the last five seasons, only the Washington Capitals (284) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (262) have scored more power play goals than the Philadelphia Flyers (261). It would be hard to argue that the Flyers have one of the most prolific man-advantage units in the entire NHL.
The simple answer to this question is: Yes. The Flyers have all the tools necessary to have a top-10 power play unit. Quarterbacked by Claude Giroux and Shayne Gostisbehere, this unit can thrive if they would only fix some minor mistakes.
The Flyers need to shoot more. It’s frustrating to see great movement on the power play never result in a quality shot or scoring chance but it seems to happen so often. The only player who seems to want to shoot is Gostisbehere. Their passing is usually their strong suit, but the lack of scoring chances is mind-boggling.
Their zone entries could also use some work. The “slingshot” technique may have been useful in the past, but teams are starting to figure out that one of Giroux or Gostisbehere will hang back in the neutral zone in order to gain speed and hit the line with ease. They need to make crisp, tape-to-tape passes while moving in order to enter the zone successfully. And for the love of God, no more dump and chase on the man-advantage.
The second power play unit has never been a very intimidating one for the Flyers. Last season, the second unit had a combined total of nine power play goals, not nearly enough. Luckily, the team will have some extra offensive threat this year with Nolan Patrick. We’ve already seen a much more deadly corps in preseason games this year, so hopefully, it continues.
The addition of Kris Knoblauch should be good for the power play, despite going 0 for 9 in the last preseason game. Knoblauch will have to figure out how to replace the departed Brayden Schenn’s 17 power play goals. We have seen Valtteri Filppula in the high-slot location, which hasn’t paid off in the preseason and most likely won’t during the regular season as he is known more for his playmaking skills.
.@NHLFlyers Filppula finished pre-season with 27:40 of PP TOI…
he had 3 shot ATTEMPTS in that time, from slot position. #Flyers
— Alexander Appleyard (@avappleyard) October 2, 2017
Obviously, these things are easier said than done, but the Flyers have all the offensive skill and creativity to be a threat on the man advantage once again.