Days like this are a total affirmation that corsi possession metrics mean precisely didley. This was proven to the Flyers today by the depleted Buffalo Sabres. Losing 5-3 by way of some uninspired hockey in key moments, the Flyers playoff hopes are nearly zero, but the team did manage to grab a possession metrics victory, which has no impact on the standings.
CF:18 CA:14 CF%:56.25%
The Flyers looked determined at the opening whistle and were powered by Jake Voracek who saw a 7-4 chance advantage when he was on the ice. Shayne Gostisbehere had an 8-4 advantage in chances and looked really good, as he has over the last few weeks. He has his issues, but it is a minor footnote as to what ails this team.
The Flyers would build a four chance advantage by the period’s end, scoring two times and barely giving the Sabres a sniff of success. It looked like the home team was going to walk to a easy victory.
CF:25 CA:19 CF%: 56.82%
The Sabres pushed back early in the second period and just looked like the hungrier, more determined team. This is supposed to be a purely numbers analysis, but how on earth could a metric quantify this. Do they have a metric for (DNCTCTP?) did not care to control the puck? The other goal was just as bad, as it was a complete break down of faceoff coverage. I have never seen a total coverage failure on a faceoff. Each of these catastrophes generated a single shot, generated less than 15 seconds zone time, a mere ripple in the corsi numbers, but massive in meaning to the game.
The Flyers would finish with a flurry of activity leaving the period with a 10 scoring chance advantage.
CF:16 CA:16 CF%: 50.00%
The range of emotions navigated in the third period is why we watch sports. Joy, excitement, sadness, disappointment, it was too bad that the Flyers were on the losing end of the equation of an exciting finish.
The Flyers would take the lead early in the period, and dominated chances in quantity and quality. After a scrum resulted in 4 on 4 hockey, the Flyers looked like they would finish the Sabres, but were unable to bury their chances.
With 3:11 remaining, the Flyers needlessly iced the puck yielding a offensive zone faceoff that caused a scrum that allowed the Sabres to tie the game. It was a small, missed, detail that came back to bite them. Less than 30 seconds later they would turn over the puck over, leading to another Sabres’ strike which gave them a 4-3 lead. This horrid 70 second stretch would see the Sabres out chance the Flyers 6-0.
BUF D Henri Jokiharju CF:23 CA:15 CF%: 60.53%
Jokiharju had a noticeable game for the Sabres, making good pinches and moving down to the circles for offensive chances as circumstances allowed. Jokiharju has been impressive against the Flyers this season and played another very solid game today.
BUF RW Sam Reinhart CF:9 CA:18 CF%: 33.33%
Reihart has the worst possession metrics this afternoon, and I doubt anyone on the Sabres cares. Reinhart had a plus 2 rating and scored a goal in the Sabres win. While he was not dominant, he was opportunistic and able to cash in on his chances, and that was the difference in the outcome.
CF:59 CA:49 CF%: 54.63%
In what has been a pattern at times this season, the Flyers played well for 95% of the game, keeping the opposition under control, then a few careless plays, mental break downs or otherwise sloppy play come up to bite them. Today’s corsi numbers are similar to many of the teams losses, where the team fails to finish plays, and then pays for it in goals against. It may be time to move to “sell” on the Flyers playoff chances and start planning for next season.