Gift No. 1: A Dangerous Penalty Kill
The Flyers' power play has been unreliable so far, but thankfully the same can't be said about their penalty kill, as the term “power kill" has been bandied about to describe the unit's effectiveness. The power play goal that they allowed to the Devils (who have the best PP in the league) on Tuesday night notwithstanding, the Flyers' PK unit has been tops in the league for the past month-plus, and its shot into the top 5 overall for the season. It's been a breath of fresh air after being a bottom 10 unit for three years running.
The aggressiveness and the stinginess that the Flyers have shown in man-down situations has been enhanced even more by their ability to quickly turn the play up ice and create scoring chances while shorthanded. The team has seven shorties on the year, with Travis Konency scoring three of them. Konecny has become quite the shorthanded dynamo over the past two seasons after hardly being used at all in those situations during his first six years in the league.
Even with key PK cog Noah Cates currently out with injury, this Flyers unit is holding its own and giving the team a chance to win every night without being run out of the building by talented power plays. Perhaps the successful return of Sean Couturier has played a large part in this as well, with Cam Atkinson, Ryan Poehling, and others putting in key shifts alongside the team's suddenly rock solid defenders to keep the opposition off the scoreboard. A lot of things aren't sustainable in this league, but a highly effective penalty kill is one way to make sure you stay in every game.