January was an improvement for the Philadelphia Flyers, but they’ll have to keep cranking it up to grab a playoff spot
The Philadelphia Flyers should generally be happy with their results in January. They went 6-4-1, for a points per game of 1.18. This is an improvement from their season average of 1.06, but still short of a target points per game of 1.27 to make the playoffs. Losing 3 of their last 4 games of the month certainly hurt the Flyers.
The Flyers’ team statistics were up across the board in January compared to season averages. The increases were only minor concerning 5v5 Corsi percentage and the penalty kill, leaving them roughly in the middle of the pack of the league in those categories. More impressive gains were in power play performance, and overall goal differential.
The first things that should jump out when reviewing the forward stats above is how much of a two-line team the Flyers are right now. It’s not exactly a new development, but the disparity is becoming more pronounced as Sean Couturier breaks out.
The top lines centered by Claude Giroux and Couturier do nearly all the scoring, and have much better possession that the bottom-6. This large drop-off between the second and third lines is a pressing issue for this team.
Inidividually, Couturier is the hero of the month with an amazing 5v5 points per 60 minutes of 3.5. No other Flyer is even close. Second in that category is Jakub Voracek. Voracek is finally putting his rocky start behind him, and his January 5v5 rate of 2.2 points is on par with last season when he was so strong.
Much of the Flyers other scoring is coming on the power play this month, where Giroux, Schenn and Wayne Simmonds got quite a few points.
Other developments were an uptick in Brayden Schenn’s Corsi numbers, although that’s hardly surprising for someone playing with very good Corsi performers like Couturier and Michael Raffl. Scott Laughton saw a nice improvement in Corsi and creating chances for his linemates, while everyone on the Bellemare lined struggled even more than in previous months.
As the Philadelphia Flyers win more games in January, no defenseman saw an increase in point production. Of course, Shayne Gostisbehere kept up his exemplary performance both at even strength and on the power play.
At 5v5, the top pair of Michael Del Zotto and Radko Gudas did drop off a bit. They were split up in the final game of the month against Washington, so it will be interesting to see if they are reunited in February. One the second pair, Mark Streit’s Corsi increased significantly. His points weren’t better, but he certainly appeared to be more active in the team’s offense to the eye.