ODDS AND ENDS FROM A WIN OVER THE PENS
I admit, I was skeptical about the Flyers recent run of success. Sure they were winning games, but they weren't beating good teams.
And yes, the remaining skeptics will say they played a Penguins team minus three regulars (Sergei Gonchar, Ruslan Fedotenko and Chris Kunitz) but the fact still remains that the Flyers have a gigantic mental block when it comes to their Keystone rivals.
So to jump out to a 2-0 lead in the opening minutes and to answer ever punch the Penguins had with a bigger counterpunch of their own says a lot about where the Flyers are now as opposed to where they were just before Christmas.
Consider this difference:
In the first 35 games, they averaged 2.71 goals per game. In the last eight, they've averaged 4.38.
In those first 35 games they scored four goals or more all of 10 times. In the last eight they've done in six times.
In the first 35 games they were 15-18-2, in the last eight they are 6-1-1.
Notice a difference?
When they score, they win. Pretty simple. And there's a big difference between when they score first and when they don't.
In the 17 games in which the Flyers have allowed the first goal, they are a putrid 3-14-0.
However, in the 26 games in which they're registered the first goal, they are 18-5-3.
It's the most lopsided differential in that statistic in the NHL.
Oh, and in this eight game stretch in which they are 6-1-1 they've scored first in each game. It's a mental thing with this team, it really is.
Other tidbits of note:
The Flyers had eight different players with at least two points:
Jeff Carter (2 goals), Mike Richards (1 goal, 1 assist), Chris Pronger (1 goal, 1 assist), James van Riemsdyk (2 goals), Matt Carle (1 goal, 2 assists), Darroll Powe (2 assists), Arron Asham (2 assists) and Danny Briere (2 assists).
The last time they had eight players with at least two points in a game was Nov. 15, 2006 in a 7-4 win at Anaheim.
The scorers in that game?
Forsberg, Peter C PHI 1 1
Gagne, Simon LW PHI 1 1
Kapanen, Sami RW PHI 2 0
Knuble, Mike RW PHI 1 1
Nedved, Petr C PHI 0 2
Pitkanen, Joni D PHI 0 2
Robitaille, Randy C PHI 0 2
Sanderson, Geoff LW PHI 1 1
- Despite the comfortable win, Oskars Bartulis and Braydon Coburn were still a minus-1. Coburn is now minus-5 in his last three games and Bartulis is a team-worst minus-12.
- Right now the Flyers best offensive player might be Danny Briere. He has benefited the most from Peter Laviolette's system. He has nine points in his last seven games and even though he's a notorious minus player, he's been a plus-5 in that span.
_ on the negative side, Sidney Crosby scored twice and now has 24 goals and 28 assists for 52 points in 30 career regular season games against the Flyers.