Corsi Analysis: Flyers’ Strong Possession Numbers Undone By Poor Defense

Mar 25, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Rangers center Ryan Strome (16) and Philadelphia Flyers right wing Nicolas Aube-Kubel (62) are separated by linesman Tony Sericolo (84) and linesman Brad Kovachik (71) during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 25, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Rangers center Ryan Strome (16) and Philadelphia Flyers right wing Nicolas Aube-Kubel (62) are separated by linesman Tony Sericolo (84) and linesman Brad Kovachik (71) during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Flyers were steamrolled by the New York Rangers by a score of 8-3. It seems as if we have learned one thing about possession metrics, which is that they are meaningless if the team does not defend. And tonight was a perfect example of a team not defending.

First Period

CF15 CA:13 CF%:53.57%

The Flyers managed a small possession advantage, but it amounted to exactly nothing.  They would end the period down 3 to 0. The first was a tap in from the crease, as Voracek failed to cover his man well. He was in position but failed to check the stick of Strome.

Buchnevich would fire home a cross-ice one-timer to take the two-goal lead. They would strike again on the powerplay. The Flyers did not look entirely weak offensively, but the quality of their chances did not match the Rangers.

Second Period

CF:13  CA:9 CF%: 59.09%

The Rangers jumped all over the Flyers, scoring on two uncovered one-timers in the period’s first three minutes. That would end Carter Hart’s night, and of the five goals allowed, I give him only partial blame for one, the rest was on the team and their inability to cover.

Things would get worse almost immediately as Brian Elliott would let in a softy on the first shot he faced. The Flyers would bounce back to score two in the period, but the Rangers had down-shifted and were basically toying with the Flyers.

Third Period

CF:16 CA:6 CF%72.73%

In what was an academic exercise the Flyers took the ice, at least in body, in the third period and dominated the possession stats by their widest margin. Again, it did not translate on the scoreboard, as the Flyers would only score one to the Rangers two.  This period will count just as any other period would, but should it?  What did winning possession mean in a blowout game against an opponent who had already downshifted and was thinking about their post-game meal?  What did this measure?  Is it a predictor of future success?  That does not seem likely

Corsi Winner:

PHI RW Nicolas Aube-Kubel CF:9 CA:4 CF%: 69.23%

NAK was a noticeable presence on the ice, collecting several hits and even dropping the gloves. On a bright note, in a disaster of a game, NAK was not out for a  5v5 goal against. Whatever criticisms there may be, NAK brings it every night, the effort is always there.

Corsi Loser

NYR RW Julian Gauthier CF:4 CA:17 CF%: 19.05%

Gauthier may not have been pleased with his effort personally, but I am sure that the easy 8-3 victory made it an afterthought.  Gauthier and his line may be something that the Flyers could have exploited if they didn’t give up eight goals.

Conclusion

CF:45 CA:28 CF%:64.64%

While in the last couple of losses the Flyers played well, their great possession metrics mean little in what was a pretty poor effort.  Corsi victories without picking up points are hollow, and this one bitterly so. After a stinker against the Rangers last time out, putting off great possession numbers in what was an awful effort is really distasteful.